When it comes to selecting baseball cleats, there are so many different choices and options that it can be overwhelming for the average ballplayer. It can be difficult deciding on a pair of cleats, with decisions looming such as indoor or outdoor cleats, or even choosing between metal, rubber or plastic spikes. Is 9 spikes sufficient or should you go with 12? High-top, medium or low?
The off-season is the best time to shop for deals and track down a good pair of baseball cleats, and in this article, I will go through some basic points to keep in mind and walk through 5 of the best baseball cleats for the 2018 season.
Treat It As An Investment
Ideally, a good pair of baseball cleats should be an investment that lasts you more than just one season. Keeping this in mind will help as you decide on a budget on how much to spend on a pair of cleats.
Treat your purchase as a multi-season investment much like you would a glove or a bat. This still rings true if you are a parent shopping for baseball cleats for a growing child; although the child may outgrow the cleats after a few seasons, there is no reason they can’t last more than one year.
5 Reasons To Choose Cleats
If you are not used to wearing baseball shoes, cleats may seem like something only for serious ballplayers or those who play all year round. Really though, even amateur players should choose cleats for the following 5 reasons.
- Cleats offer greater durability and are better suited to the rigors of a baseball season,much more so than regular athletic shoes.
- If you play multiple sports, or if you play competitive ball in the off-season as well, cleats will be a good choice to last you all 12 months of the year.
- Cleats offer better ankle support and will do a better job of preventing injuries.
- Cleats provide good traction allowing you to move quickly on all field surfaces.
- Cleats allow you to increase your reaction time on the field, improving your performance.
Metal Or Plastic Spikes?
Metal spikes that are detachable are quite popular among higher level players as they have the option of removing them to clean and to switch out for plastic. Many also claim that they offer better traction, especially on hard surfaces such as clay and dirt. In dry climates, you’ll want to have something durable that can dig into hard dirt infields to give you proper traction.
Plastic spikes are safer, especially for younger players who may not have yet learned how to slide safely. Many youth leagues will not allow metal spikes for this very reason. Please also note that metal spikes are not permitted in ASA (Amateur Softball Association) which is one of the largest softball organizations in North America. See also: Softball Bats For Amateur Softball Association League
So What Should I Look For?
Make sure you find something that fits correctly. Try to find something that is comfortable that does not hurt your feet. They may feel a bit tight when you first try them, but they should not be painful. You may want to go a ½ size larger than usual if you plan on wearing thicker knee-high baseball socks. Otherwise, your normal shoe size should be fine.
Try walking or jogging in them to get a sense of how they feel when you move. Because baseball is a game involving rapid acceleration and use of your quick-twitch muscles, try to gauge how they feel when you start and stop moving quickly. Don’t forget to test side-to- side lateral movement as much as forwards-backwards movement.
Product Reviews - Which Is Right For You?
With that in mind, here’s 5 choices we love for the 2018 season.
The PL4040V3 is New Balance’s latest low-profile molded cleat with incredible mid-foot support and enhanced cushioning to provide superior comfort. The one piece synthetic construction provides flexibility and durability.
Extra reinforcement on the drive zone (the first metatarsal and big toe area) allows for more explosive power. Advanced cushioning provides additional support as weight transitions from back of the shoe to the front.
- Super light-weight and comfortable, these feel like runners and focus on both feel and function.
- The traction is good and the fit is very comfortable. No real issues taking corners or making tight turns.
- These cleats are a bit wider in the toe which is great if you have larger feet.
- Many different colors to choose from so it will be easy to find a pair that matches your team colors.
- They are not true to size and run maybe a ½ size small so please take note before purchasing.
- Minimal toe support.
If you’re looking for a pair of cleats that combines style and performance, the PL4040V3 is highly recommended and comes at a very reasonable price.
The 9-Spike Advanced Erupt 3 features aggressive stud design which provides improved traction from prior models. Mizuno’s ProFlex technology allows the shoe to bend and flex on demand.
Mid-sole is one-piece construction allowing for extra comfort on different surfaces, perfect for different sports.
- Work great on multiple surfaces such as grass, dirt and turf; these are terrific on all fields.
- Versatile cleat with a medium profile that is extremely durable.
- If you play multiple sports, this will be a good choice for you.
- Good traction and arch support.
- These run a bit small to size
- May not be as comfortable as turfs
- The color profile is a bit standard (black and white only), so if you’re looking for something flashier you are out of luck.
Mizuno seems to have perfected the 9-spike cleat, and the Advanced Erupt 3 is another in a long line of excellent cleats to come from Mizuno.
The PowerAlley 3’s are built for power and provide the comfort and stability to unleash your very best. The patented Adituff toe overlay provides added resistance to abrasions, while the full-length mid-sole gives comfortable cushioning and support.
A pearlized plate placed on the underside reduces pressure on the bottom of the sole. Synthetic overlays add to the overall durability and stability, as well as a cushioned insole for added comfort.
- Metal spikes over time will hold up better than plastic.
- They are great for infielders who often have to do fancy footwork to field grounders, especially up the middle (second baseman and shortstop) if you’re dragging and sliding your feet to turn a quick double play.
- They give great traction (as do most metal cleats), and you’ll never have to worry about losing your footing even in slippery conditions.
- Great track record of high durability even with prolonged use.
- These come in a variety of colors, but those hoping for something brighter and flashier will still be a bit disappointed at the palate offering.
- They may not be comfortable right from the beginning (fit is a little snug and narrow, and the heel does not offer as much support as one would like).
- Metal spikes are not sanctioned in all leagues.
Adidas has found a winner here with the PowerAlley 3, a durable and reliable pair of baseball cleats that provide excellent traction and grip.
Inspired by MVP Mike Trout, the Trout 2 Pro is a stylish choice that provides all the function you would want in a high-performing pair of cleats.
9 total spikes with a TPU plate provide superior traction and grip, while a one-piece midsole gives comfort and cushioning. The synthetic leather combined with mesh tongue allows for additional ventilation and breathability.
- 6 full-sized metal cleats and 3 smaller spikes up front provide excellent traction on mostsurfaces.
- More light-weight than the PowerAlley 3’s
- Slick design, extra points are definitely given for style as Nike’s design team has done agreat job here.
- They come in more color combinations than the PowerAlley 3’s including brighter colors that really do stand out.
- Fit fairly true to size.
- Extremely comfortable especially in the mid-sole area.
- Higher profile offers more ankle support.
- The lighter synthetic mesh material means these are more susceptible to punctures and rips.
Nike’s Trout 2 Pro cleats are a good all-around option on metal cleats and one of the slicker-looking cleats on the market.
The UA Ignite’s feature an abrasion-resistant toe piece that protects your foot on toe drags, as well as engineered leather that gives both comfort and durability. The mid-profile gives reasonable support while allowing the player to move freely without restrictions.
The full length insole absorbs impact and spreads the shock throughout the foot, while the outsole gives lateral stability.
- Terrific mid-profile shoe that offers plenty of ankle support and protection.
- Solid traction.
- Good breathability and comfort while maintaining toughness and durability.
- Fit great right out of the box and only get better the more you wear them.
- Rubber spikes may not offer as much traction as the metal alternative.
- They come in black only, but all pairs do come with 5 custom colored laces that you can swap in and out
There’s a reason Under Armour is the official MLB sponsor and it shows in their workmanship and commitment to bringing excellent products to market. The Ignite is no exception and a wonderful option for anyone looking for baseball cleats.
So Which Should I Choose?
At the end of the day it comes down to personal preference and what you’re looking for in a pair of baseball cleats. Really, you can’t go wrong with any of the options above for the 2018 season. Take your choice between metal, rubber or plastic spikes, and choose a profile (high,medium, low) that works for you. All of the mentioned options are excellent choices and will serve you well throughout the season and hopefully many more to come.
Personally, I’m picking the Mizuno Advanced Erupt 3’s as I love the versatility they offer on multiple playing surfaces (I often switch between infield / outfield) as well as the ability to use them across different sports (football, soccer, even golf!). Although I’m missing the flashiness of some of the other options, overall this is still a wonderful pair of cleats and great bang for your buck. Good luck next season, play ball!