At its crux, the game of baseball is a fairly simple game. Sure, there are a lot more rules than most could ever imagine, but you don’t need a whole lot of equipment in order to play. A bat and a ball. But if you’re playing in a real league on actual fields, it is paramount to have the right pair of cleats to play. No matter if you are an adult or a youth player, you need to have something that keeps you on your feet and remains comfortable for you to wear over time. You also need something sturdy and durable. Today, we are going to look at the most popular baseball cleats of 2019 for youth and for adults. We’ll break down the ins and outs of them, answer the questions you are dying to know, and then review the top pairs. So, let’s get to it!
Top Baseball Cleats Comparison Chart
|Name||Adult or Youth||Cleat Type||Price|
|1. Under Armour Leadoff Low RM Jr.||Youth||Molded||$$$$|
|2. Adidas Kids’ Adizero Afterburner V||Youth||Molded||$$$|
|3. Nike Boy’s Vapor Ultrafly Keystone||Youth||Molded||$$$$$|
|4. Under Armour Kids’ Harper 2 RM Jr.||Youth||Molded||$$$|
|5. New Balance Men’s L4040v4 Metal||Adult||Metal||$$$|
|6. Mizuno Men’s 9-Spike Advanced Molded Low||Adult||Molded||$$|
|7. Nike Men’s Huarache 2KFilth Keystone Mid||Adult||Molded||$$$$|
|8. Adidas Men’s Adizero Afterburner V Metal||Adult||Metal||$$$|
Baseball Cleats Buying Guide
Metal and Molded Cleat Types
Today, we are going to be taking a deep dive into the world of metal and molded cleats. These cleats are good on most fields you will ever step on to, so nearly anyone that plays or has played baseball has had either a pair of molded or metal cleats, or possibly even both. These types of materials are what make the cleats actual “cleats.” Without them, you just have a shoe, and that’s not the most fun way of playing baseball at all.
Metal Baseball Cleats
Metal cleats are the type that you will want if you want the utmost in performance on the diamond. Metal cleats offer the wearer excellent traction as they allow you to dig into the ground, both in the dirt and in the grass. Because they are usually pretty long in regards to length, they are good for stopping and going. However, they can be sticky, and it has led quite a few to get injured because they got their foot essentially stuck into the ground. This is not something that will just automatically happen to you, but the chances of it occurring are higher for you. Metal spikes are typically more expensive to buy, and they don’t always last very long, especially if you are putting them to use on surfaces that aren’t intended to be used in conjunction with them.
Molded Baseball Cleats
Molded cleats are made from either rubber or plastic and are quite sturdy and stable to use. Because of that, you can wear them on just about any playing surface and be OK with it. You can even walk through parking lots with them on and not have to worry about them tearing up, unlike with metal spikes. I’d still recommend refraining from this as often as possible, though. It’s really just a matter of customs and respect, and you don’t want to be tracking dirt everywhere. They also are a less expensive option for you, leading many to desire them straight away because of the ease at which they can be found and then bought. They do not, though, have the same amount of grip as metal spikes would give to you in an overall sense, so be careful with that and just know what you are getting.
Interchangeable Baseball Cleats
There are also some cleats that offer you the ability to go from one to another. This type is usually much more expensive, but they give you the chance to pick and choose what you want. If you play in multiple leagues where the rules are different regarding your spikes, then it would be very wise to get a pair like this. That way you can change them out and always be ready to go according to the regulations. A tool comes with them and you have to screw in the spikes individually, but it’s not the most difficult of jobs for anyone to do. The only possible downside you might find, other than the price, is that they do tend to be a little bit heavier because of the added weight needed to make changing them possible.
League Rules to Consider
It is very valuable to point out that each league has its own rules that you must follow. These can be abundant, but they are taken very seriously in the game, and you should thus check to make sure what types of cleats are and are not allowed. Many youth leagues ban the use of metal cleats, as they can hurt players when they make contact with each other. The problem with getting stuck in the ground while trying to change directions can also happen, and that’s another reason they don’t want kids that are still developing to wear them. So, just have a check with the rule book of the league before you buy a pair just to be on the safe side!
Cuts and Tops
Next to the type of spikes used, the kind of cut, or top, that a cleat uses is the most important thing to look at. There are three main types for you to pick from, and each one has it own positives and negatives that you must weigh. You can’t have it all, but the world of shoes is getting better and better everyday and is starting to deliver more and more quality as time goes on.
High Top Cleats
High tops are like what you would see in the traditional basketball shoes. These are effective at protecting your ankles because they rise up and guard the ankle and heel area. This can help those that want to prevent injuries from occurring and can also help out those that have had them before in that region. While they can’t stop you from getting hurt, they can do a great deal to help you. A first baseman would be a prime candidate for these, as he needs to get to the bag quickly and will be on it a lot. A catcher would also be wise to consider them. The knock on this type of cut is that they are not as flexible as the other types. You can’t readily move around, and this restriction is just too much for some players to handle. Knowing yourself is oftentimes just as big a deal as knowing what kind of cleat you are getting, and that is the case here.
Low Top Cleats
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have the low top. The low top is something that hasn’t been around in sports all that much until recent years, but it has taken off in popularity due to its lightweight design and the amount of flexibility that they offer. If you are a very quick player and just want to emphasize your speed, and you haven’t had injury issues in the past, you are a prime candidate for this type of shoe. Even if you aren’t that quick and are just a small player, you might want to give these a look. Outfielders and middle infielders are the most likely to enjoy these, provided you haven’t had problems in the past, of course. Pitchers are also going to likely want these shoes because they will be spending a lot of time up against the mound. You don’t want anything bulky on as you will have extra weight and also will have to deal with the sensation of the high top clanging into your ankle repeatedly. The negative with this type is that they aren’t going to give you much, if any, ankle support. As stated before, you can’t have it. Or can you?
Mid Top Cleats
You almost can have it all with the mid tops choice. This choice takes the best of the high top and blends it with the low top. What you end up getting is decent enough ankle protection to go along with good flexibility and good speed as well. You won’t have an abundance of any of those three qualities, but you will have some of them all. If you are worried about getting injured, or if you just don’t want to be so restricted, they are a good idea to have. Just about any player could call upon this type of cleats, as they do have a broad range of benefits to give to you.
Cleats for Pitcher’s
Pitchers are going to need a special kind of cleats because of the unique circumstances in which they are faced with on the mound. Because pitchers drag their toes during their time on the mound, the toe area can take a brutal beating. With regular baseball cleats, that area will rip apart in no time at all. That’s why you need something that has a reinforced toe area. As you push off the rubber to fire your pitch to plate, the rubber of the shoes will be nudged off if you aren’t careful. So, a reinforced toe area is an absolute must have for a pitcher. The good news is that this reinforced toe will not weigh you down anymore than a normal cleat. So no worries about that if you are going to be playing in other positions, too, as most will in high school and below.
Finding the Right Fit
The size of your cleat is going to be instrumental in the level of success that you can achieve on the diamond, and thus you have to get it right. It’s always best to go in store and try on shoes, but many of us today just can’t be fussed with that. If you can’t go in and try on some pairs, then you will have to be meticulous in your research, which luckily for you, we will be to help you. A few things to keep in mind are:
Know Your Current Size
Resize yourself if you haven’t done so in the last couple of years. You might not have noticed a change, but it could have occurred.
Changing Foot Size
Make sure that you go late in the day or after doing some sort of activity. Baseball might be considered a ‘leisure’ sport to many, but it still includes a lot of standing in place. That causes swelling. If you don’t factor in that swelling, you could end up with a shoe that doesn’t feel good when you are playing.
The toes need to have space between them and the edge of the shoes. However, that shouldn’t exceed more than a half of thumb or so. This way you don’t have your feet sliding back and forth inside of the shoes. This could be a disaster due to causing you to fall or slip inside. You also can affect your knees, hips, and back in a negative manner if you have to go around readjusting yourself to a poorly fit pair of cleats all of the time. Not giving yourself enough room inside will cause blisters, which will have you asking to come out of the game. What you want is a snug fit that isn’t too tight. It’s better to be too tight than it is too be too loose, but try to balance it out.
Always make sure to check the width. A lot of people forget about this, and then they realize they don’t feel so good inside. We’ll make sure to point out if people find shoes to be narrow in our reviews in a few moments, but this is something you will have to test for yourself. If you don’t feel right in cleats, don’t assume that ‘breaking them in’ will fix the problem. You need to be comfortable and have a good fit. This is also why you should never buy kids cleats that do not have a proper fit. Growing into them is a bad, bad idea for many reasons.
Another key aspect to pick out cleats is going to be the materials that they are made from. Known as the “upper,” this part is the top part of the cleats that keeps you protected, cool, and/or comfortable. Some do a good job at doing all of these things, while others do not do so well. In general, baseball cleats use either genuine leather or they use synthetics.
Leather is the old school choice as it was what was readily available way back when. It was such a strong choice for so long because it offers a premium feel to it. They are extremely comfortable and they are so responsive to the user. However, they have issues in terms of durability, so the days of it being the leader in the industry are now gone as a result. They are also expensive as well, so when you combine these facts some decide to steer clear.
Just as in soccer, synthetics have become the norm in baseball circles in the last decade or so. Synthetics, which are products made by humans meant to closely resemble genuine leathers, have done so because they are cheaper to find and are also very durable. Sometimes, they are extremely rigid and inflexible, and that is a big part of the reason why they didn’t catch on quickly. But over time, they’ve gotten better at that. That’s not to say that they are all created equal, though. If you see a very cheap pair, chances are they will not be flexible at all.
Another possible material that can be used in the upper is mesh. Used in conjunction with either of the other two, mesh is used to help let the foot air out. This makes sure that you don’t accumulate sweat and thus end up adding extra weight to your feet. Some shoes, especially the cheaper ones, won’t have any mesh included. Those might be warm, but you also don’t have to worry about dirt or water seeping in, either, which is the main draw back of mesh. The other thing mesh can do that leather or synthetics are not likely to do is tear easily. Because it’s basically tiny perforated holes, it can get ripped. This is why if they are used on a baseball cleat, they must be positioned in such a wise manner so as to not be set up for that to occur.
Best Youth Baseball Cleat Reviews
Under Armour Leadoff Low RM Jr.
Coming in a wide variety of very cool colors, as you’d expect with UA, is a pair of cleats that are sure to make your youth player, whether big or small, stand out and happy. On top of the looks, though, you get a lot of performance with these. This is what you would consider a low cut cleat, so there isn’t much in the way of ankle protection. However, these will allow you to fly around the bases and will be the best option for those that are smaller and a little bit less fleet of foot than their counterparts are.
Using synthetics all over, both in the upper and the sole, these cleats are sure to get you through an entire season if not even longer. The tongue does have some mesh built in to help breathability a little, while the midsole is made out of EVA to help give comfort and cushioning. It also evenly applies the pressure, leaving behind the days of old where the player had pains at the top of the foot right where the laces are. Other than the lack of protection afforded to you, the biggest issue with these is that they look like they run small and narrow as well. So you will have to take that into account before buying them. Overall, a great shoe with a very competitive price that will leave you satisfied.
- Excellent price point
- Good for speed and comfort
- Has awesome looks
- Runs pretty small
- Also is quite narrow
- Not much protection for the ankle
Adidas Kids’ Adizero Afterburner V
Adidas might not seem like as big a player in baseball as they are in other sports, but they still offer a ton with shoes like this Afterburner V. This shoe is made to look a lot like a soccer cleat in terms of design, helping you to really stick out while also remaining classy as Adidas always manages to do. The upper is comprised of synthetics, while the sole is made out of rubber on these shoes. One of the interesting parts that is well worth a mention is the way they look. They are probably more of a low top, but they have the heel area raised up higher than the tongue.
This helps to take some of that pressure away and gives you the chance to breathe as well as they have used mesh in the tongue like UA did previously. The heel area even allows for easier transition on and off as it has a collar to pull them with to make life much easier, especially for those that have difficulties dressing themselves. Marketed as being the lightest shoes that you can find, you better believe that these are going to allow you to be as quick as you possibly can be as you run the bases and patrol the field. The down side to being so lightweight is that there isn’t as much protection or support. They also don’t have the greatest of all durability due to being so light, either. Still, though, they should be good enough for a season of play and can be found for a reasonable price!
- Very light cleats
- Classy yet flashy designs
- Applies less pressure
- Not much durability due to construction
- Not a ton of support for ankles or protection from getting stepped on
Nike Boy’s Vapor Ultrafly Keystone
Just because UA and Adidas rolled out tremendous looks doesn’t mean Nike can’t. They do just that and more with these shoes, with some options allowing you to be flashy and others meant to help you blend in. Apart from that, these shoes are all about performance. One look at them helps you realize they are much different from most cleats. The toe area has large, noticeable dots running all over it, and the toe area’s cleat is actually raised off of the ground a bit. This means they can be used effectively for pitchers because of the added attention this part of the cleats gets. Aside from that, they are very lightweight, so you wouldn’t be lugging around additional weight. Coming with a low to lower-mid top, these cleats have a bootie construction inside to make you feel as if you are wearing a sock instead of a cleat. By using their flex groove technology, Nike gives the wearer full range of motion as they naturally would have it, a big edge on previous cleats from days of old. They use a combination of leather and synthetics in the upper to give the best of both worlds. One of the problems with these is going to be the price. Because of all the features and the leather, this is a natural byproduct that you have to encounter.
- Wide range of colors
- Great for pitchers
- Full range of motion provided
- Not a ton of protection
- Price is higher than those we’ve seen so far
Under Armour Kids’ Harper 2 RM Jr.
If you’ve got a young slugger that has a bit of personality to them and love Bryce Harper, then this could be just the one for them. Coming in a few different colors with exquisite style, these cleats stand out a ton, and they do so without breaking the bank, either. They are slightly more expensive than the first two options, but considering what you get with them it’s quite a deal. For players that need more support and protection, this is the perfect pair. Coming with a mid-to-high top look as well as a strap that goes across the ankle, these shoes will give you power and stability at the same time. The upper is made from synthetics, but they have been molded to the shoe in order to increase the comfort level greatly.
Using all synthetics in the upper, it has been paired with a ton of mesh all over to allow your foot to breathe out. Despite the added protection these shoes give to the wearer, they have not had a ton of weight added to the equation. This is huge because no one will want to be weighed down unnecessarily throughout the game. Like the Leadoff earlier, these have the EVA midsole which helps to distribute the pressure evenly and provide a better experience. One thing to watch out for is that the Velcro strap is a little bit shorter than it needs to be, and this has caused problems for players. They also aren’t as durable as the previous version of the Harper cleats, so keep that in mind.
- Unmatched looks
- Added protection and support with high top
- Does so without being much heavier
- A little more expensive
- Velcro strap has issues
- Not as durable as previous models were
Best Adult Baseball Cleat Reviews
New Balance Men’s L4040v4 Metal
Coming with four very classy colors and a style that speaks volumes, New Balance breaks into the list with the L4040v4 due to the fact that it is a metal cleat. With these spikes, you will have increased traction on the field of play and will be much more sure of yourself when running and attempting to make diving grabs in the field. Made from synthetics in the upper, they are lightweight and also supportive to the wearer thanks to the tongue helping to repel tiny pebbles from getting inside. Using a padded collar and a midsole that is cushioned very well, it will be comfortable both standing and while in motion.
Not all cleats can say the same thing! TPU mesh has been selected to use along with the synthetic upper to add some breathability to your experience on the field, so those hot days will be a little bit less frightening to deal with. But it is also stronger than other forms of mesh, meaning you don’t have to worry about it not holding up unlike others that can be found so often in the marketplace. Their use of a ‘lace cage’ is an improvement upon other forms as you don’t have to worry about tying them and they will also help disperse the pressure away from the top of the foot as so many cleats tend to do. One thing to know is that these are fairly expensive, so be prepared for that. Users have found them to cramp them a little bit in the toe areas but just with the height rather than the normal width issue. They also are a bit small, so you might want to be careful there.
- Very stylish
- Excellent traction for all positions
- Light and fast pair of cleats
- More expensive than most are
- Toe area is a little cramped vertically
- Can run small
Mizuno Men’s 9-Spike Advanced Molded Low
If you want something a little bit cheaper and with less flash to it, then the Mizuno brand is a good one to turn to. Mizuno is very well known in the baseball world for being a leader, and it’s no surprise they’ve made the list with this low top cleat. Using rubber soles and spikes along with a synthetic upper, this is going to be a very durable pair.
Utilizing the upward facing toe area means you will get better traction when you do dig in and make your move while on the base path. Because of all of the rubber used, they are very comfortable, something which is not always the case when metal cleats are being worn. The low top is going to allow you to be very fast, but you will have to sacrifice a little bit of protection and support as a result of that.
They have shown to be very comfortable, with many deciding they didn’t need to bring an insert along with them as they’d usually have done in the past. They are also good for wide feet, which will be music to some people’s ears! They do tend to run a little bit small, so that is one thing to watch out for.
- Good price
- Very comfortable cleats and durable
- Good for wide feet
- Not much to the looks
- Runs a little small
- Not a ton of ankle protection
Nike Men’s Huarache 2KFilth Keystone Mid
Coming with a plethora of colors to pick from, you are spoiled for choice with this Mid shoe from Nike. The Huarache 2KFilth is the kind of shoe you need if you need that bit of extra protection and just want to look awesome on the field of play. Like so many of the basketball shoes Nike have made recently, these have the bootie design to them, which means the heel area is below the tongue.
This doesn’t take away from the protection there, as it is still a mid top, but it does lend you to feeling more locked in and stable while playing and standing. Using a rubber sole with rubber spikes as well as a synthetic upper, these cleats are going to be naturally very durable and also will give you a lot of comfort and flexibility. One big thing to watch out for is that Nike shoes in general run differently than most.
So if you don’t size accordingly, you will end up having them be too small and narrow on you. They do have a great price, too, which is a major plus for those that are shopping on a budget and want to find something that isn’t going to break the bank. The rubber soles are a little bit of a worry as they have shown to not be as durable as you might like for them to be.
- Huge amount of colors to choose from
- Added layers of protection
- Bootie design to lock you in
- Nike tends to run small and narrow
- Spikes wear out too quick for some
Adidas Men’s Adizero Afterburner V Metal
Rounding out our list is nearly the same version that we saw in the youth section. However, this one has a lot of bite to it in its own right. Coming with metal spikes, these cleats are going to help you have more traction than you can handle on the field. In addition to that, they look superb as well. The colors are very flashy, including a brilliant gold and black look that will leave anyone awed at the sight of them. Using synthetics in both the sole and for the upper, they will have a long life of use.
They are a low top cleat, just as the ones before, but they will not weigh you down much at all thanks to the SprintSkin technology Adidas has used. The Sprintframe plate beneath works wonders and has studs that offer a rotational zone to give traction than few others can match. They are a little bit on the expensive side when compared to some on the list, and they also are not the most breathable on the market, either, but overall they are a great pair for those that want to look good and dig deep.
- Magical looks and designs
- Added traction from stud construction
- Very light
- Not a ton of protection
- A little expensive
- Not all that breathable
Conclusion & Final Baseball Cleat Recommendations
No matter what your age or level of talent may be, footwear is always a crucial part of any sport. That, too, is certainly the case with baseball. Baseball cleats are just as essential as having a bat, ball, and glove to play with. Without the right pair, you aren’t going to have much enjoyment and you won’t be having much success out on the field. You can reach your dreams, or at least have a chance at them by making sure you wear the right pair. Style is great, but comfort, durability, and making sure you have the best possible fit are even more important to your day at the ballpark!
FAQ’s About Baseball Cleats
Do I Have to Use Baseball Cleats for Baseball?
You don’t have to, but it’s highly recommended that you do. Other types of cleats, namely football and soccer cleats, just aren’t going to be what you need. A lot of football cleats are quite bulky compared to baseball cleats, and the spikes are arranged differently. On the opposite end of the spectrum, soccer cleats don’t have nearly as much protection as you’d like. They also offer less grip as they don’t have a front cleat up underneath the toe. This is a seemingly small disadvantage, but it is pretty important to behold and note. In a pinch, you can wear these types, assuming they are meeting specifications according to the rule book, but these should not be worn for very long. Even a very cheap pair of baseball cleats would be better than wearing cleats from another sport.
How Do You Clean Baseball Cleats?
Cleaning your cleats might seem like an arduous task, but it can be done (and should be) so that you don’t look like Craig Biggio. First, always make sure to get those big clumps of dirt and mud out. You can do this very simply by banging the cleats together. Make sure you are doing this outside and away from others. Next, just soak the cleats in warm water to get the smaller bits of stuff to dissolve. Make sure not to use piping hot water as it can damage leather and other plastics, too. You should only keep them in the water for around five minutes or so, as any longer could ruin them. Next, take a brush and scrub them in order to get the dirt off. The dirt should be softened up now, so it shouldn’t be too much of a task. When you complete that, just take clean water and rinse. Then let them air dry out!
How Do You Break in Baseball Cleats?
This is a tough one to answer. Some cleats need a lot of time to break in, some do not need any time at all. You just have to be patient sometimes, which is not something most of us have nowadays. But hey, you play baseball, so patience should be something you have in spades, right?! One thing to do is to just wear them for a while. Go on walks with them so that you can get accustomed to how they feel. Of course, you’ll need to be outside while doing this to not destroy floors, but it helps. Increase the amount of time as you go. If you notice that they feel good and there is no pain, you can use them right away. But if there is some issue with them, you’ll want to continue easing into the swing of things. One thing to know is that a shoe that is poorly fit will not fit better once they are broke in. That’s just a terrible myth that won’t come to pass. You can’t break in something to make up for it not fitting correctly!
What is the History of Baseball Cleats?
The very first cleats were made for warfare purposes. But it is believed that in the 1500s they were first used for sport in soccer. Then, in 1862, Paul Butler is thought of as the first baseball player to wear spikes on his shoes to give him added grip. Back then, the spikes came separately from the shoes, so you know those things couldn’t have felt good at all. Before long, everyone that played want a pair to wear. And all of the stores started scrambling to bring them to the public. And that’s led to now!
What Are Some General Regulations to Know About Wearing Metal Cleats?
While I would suggest that you read the league’s rule book that you are going to be playing in, there are some things you should know. The NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) deemed it legal to wear metal cleats all the way back in 2008 for high school games as well as in college. This, though, still has not canceled out rules against the practice of wearing them in states like Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. Also, most recreational leagues do not allow them at all. This is a general fact, so you should consult either the rules of your league’s director in order to get a certain answer to your question.
Does Brand Matter?
The answer is up to you. Some people are die hard fans of a certain brand, while others don’t care as much. There are many good companies in the baseball market, and each of them deliver with some great products. One tip that might be good, though, is to pick a brand and stick with it. In almost all cases, a brand is going to feel the same way they always have and will fit the same. If you go from Nike to Adidas, though, you won’t always get the same look if you assume you can plug and play.