Softball is a game that is quite unique on the sporting landscape. One moment you are being asked to run from one base to another. The next, you are standing for long periods of time with nothing to do. Because of that strange dichotomy, you need to have footwear that is both agile and also is comfortable enough to wear for long stretches of time. That is where the cleat comes into play.
Only the right kind of cleats will get the job done. But cleats can be tough to find online, given so many choices available. Today, we’re going to help cut through that clutter. We’re going to be bringing to you a buying guide that breaks down the ins and outs that you need to know. We’ll also look at the most popular pairs currently on the market in 2019 and answer your FAQ’s. Here comes the pitch!
Top Softball Cleats Comparison Chart
|Image||Name||Pros||Feature||Price||Where to Buy?|
|1. Under Armour Women’s Glyde RM||Lightweight and comfortable||Very durable thanks to synthetics||$$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|2. Adidas Performance Women’s Wheelhouse 2||Great for wet fields||Comfortable inner lining||$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|3. Mizuno Women’s Swift 5 Fastpitch||Very comfortable||Made with synthetics||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|4. Nike Girl’s Hyperdiamond 2 Keystone||Comfortable||Great durability||$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|5. New Balance Women’s Sp4040w1||Comfortable and durable||Stylish yet still classy||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|6. Adidas Performance Women’s PowerAlley 2 TPU||Very durable and comfortable||Using synthetic sole||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|7. Mizuno 9-Spike Advanced Finch Franchise 7||Great on artificial turf||Using rubber sole and synthetic upper||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|8. Mizuno Men’s 9 Spike Advanced Erupt 3||Multi uses||Good grip on clay and grass||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
Softball Cleats Buying Guide
We’ll begin our buying guide by talking about the cleats themselves. The cleats are the tiny ‘studs’ on the bottom of the shoes. They are designed to help give you more traction on both the grass and the dirt than ordinary shoes would be able to give you. Wearing tennis shoes on a diamond wouldn’t be the best idea, especially if the ground wasn’t absolutely perfect. The way that the studs are positioned is important, with some companies choosing to place them strategically. Sometimes, there are more spikes, while others go with a less is more approach.
But the biggest factor with the spikes is what kind of material they are made from. There are two main choices for this. The first of which are molded. Molded spikes are made from rubber or plastic in most cases, and they are very popular because anyone can wear them. This type of cleat usually has studs that are quite wide and they also have grooves made into them. This makes them good at all around traction and it means they can play on surfaces that are both wet and super dry as well.
Another big reason why they are so popular is due to the fact that they are quite comfortable. Tournaments are very common in softball, so that can amount to a lot of standing and running in one day. Add in the fact that they are cheaper and also are more durable than the other type of cleat, and you have a winner for most people.
Types of spike
The other type of spike that you can see used is metal. Metal is the preferred choice of the very serious player because it gives them an edge at digging into the ground. The spikes are made to be thin and long, which increases the ability to turn around the bases a ton. Metal spikes can be turned into differing directions as well, something not commonly seen in molded cleats, and that helps to make the player more agile in every direction that she might run.
They are extremely good for wet weather conditions, but they are not always the best when it relates to very dry fields. They are less durable, more expensive, and are also less comfortable than molded cleats, however, in a lot of cases, so that is something to consider before you buy them.
There is a third type of cleat as well, and they are known as trainers. Trainers, also known as turf shoes, are ‘cleats’ that have a flat bottom and are meant to be worn on artificial surfaces and also during batting practice so that the field doesn’t get tore up too much. They are super comfortable because they don’t have any studs beneath them, making them a great tool to have around for when you are finished playing so that you can just simply slip them on. While they aren’t going to be the greatest thing on normal fields, they are good for practicing and lounging around. This type offers more traction than a normal running shoe, but it will not be very good compared to the other two when you are running the bases or trying to catch that fly ball.
Another thing that you will have to know is the rules of the league in which you play. Metal cleats are pretty dangerous because they can open up deep gashes on the players around you and even yourself should you slide the wrong way or step on someone. They can even get caught in the ground and cause injuries that way. Because of that, many youth leagues have banned metal cleats. You have to use molded cleats in that scenario.
Some good news is out there, though, and that is that the NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) is now allowing the use of metal cleats in high school games. The thought behind it is that colleges are allowing them to be worn, so it’s the right thing to do to let high schoolers get used to them. Even with this being the case, though, you should ask your coach and make double sure. There may be a league rule or a preference from the coach, or you could be at a school that is outside NFHS rules. You might have one league that allows them and another that doesn’t. So you could end up going with two pairs: one molded, one metal. It’s up to you.
It is possible to find cleats that are adjustable for you, but those cleats are usually pretty expensive. They come with tools and a few different types of spikes and you are able to adjust them as you see fit. If it’s rained the day before, you can put longer studs in, and if it’s dry, you are able to put shorter ones on. This type is great if you’re super serious, but it does take some time and effort to get them on and it’s a pain when they need to be replaced.
Protecting your ankles is a big part of being on the diamond, and since there are all sorts of different players involved in the game, you need to be aware of the differences between the ‘cuts’ or ‘tops.’ There are three main ways in which shoe companies are cutting cleats today. High, middle, and low. High cut cleats are those with the most protection as they ride up high behind the heel and make sure that you don’t roll your ankle over. This type isn’t as freeing as the other two, but it offers the most support to you. This type is typically going to be best for first base and even catcher as well. They also are a good idea for bigger players and those that have had ankle problems in the past.
The opposite of this kind is the low top. The low top is all the rage today in a number of sports, and it is surging in popularity due to the fact that they are very light and also are very freeing. A lot of players today are putting an emphasis on freedom of movement, and with a low top you can move your ankle much more freely.
The only issue, though, is that it is much easier for you to roll your ankles or to come down and twist them with the low top. As a result, this type is best for smaller, quicker players and those that haven’t had any or many injuries in the past. If you play the outfield or middle infield, you also are a prime candidate.
The third type is in the middle of the two. The mid top tries to give you a balanced approach by giving you the benefits of each type. The mid top offers a decent mid range amount of ankle support, but it doesn’t sacrifice all of the freedom. They also don’t weigh as much as the high top. This is good for those that want to be fast but don’t want to take too many risks.
It’s really just a matter of preference when it comes to this choice, so knowing yourself or who you are buying for is going to be paramount in their level of happiness.
What About Pitchers?
Pitchers are a special breed and will require a different kind of cleat than other players because of the amount of strain that they put on the toe. If you are a pitcher, you’ll know how much dragging of the toe that you do. This dragging will wear out cleats that don’t have anything extra to help you deal with it. Cleats with no reinforcement will have woefully shorter lifespans than those with them. The very front of the cleat needs to have a toe that is thicker than others.
If you see this, then you are good to go and will be able to have a lot more durability than what you would get from ordinary cleats. Also, it’s important to know that a pitcher needs a low top. It’s not as big a deal as with baseball, but with a high or mid cut, you could find yourself twisting at the ankle on the mound when you wind up. So it’s recommended that you avoid that by going with a low top for that very reason.
How well the cleat is made and is going to last is going to depend on the quality of the materials used. There are a few things that can be used for the upper, though modern times have seen one material begin to stand out and distance itself. In olden times, there was no choice but to go with leather. Leather was, and still is, comfortable, it stretches well, and it is responsive to play. However, the biggest issues with it were the fact that it was costly, didn’t do super well in wetter conditions, and it wasn’t quite as durable when used by players that weren’t very good. That’s when synthetics began to gain a foothold in the industry.
Synthetics mirror the qualities of leathers as closely as possible. Engineered by humans, they used to be very stiff and rigid. Some still are, but many have gotten so much better than the softball world in general prefers this type. Synthetics are cheaper to find in most occasions and are super durable. They also do well when the weather isn’t that great. Another upper choice that you could find is mesh. We’ve all been outside on the diamond on those brutally hot days.
You want something that doesn’t feel like it’s baking the top of your foot. Mesh helps this by utilizing tiny holes at the top to allow your feet to air out well. This is known as breathability in the shoe game. Not only does it keep you cooler, but it also makes you lighter because it takes that excess sweat away from the feet. There are some things to be aware of, though. Sometimes too much mesh means that water already on the field will creep in.
Some mesh is also cheaper than other kinds, meaning it can tear more easily. Knowing where you’re going to be playing at is essential for determining if you want a shoe with a little, a lot, or no mesh in it.
Brand, Style, and Price
Brands always matter, just like style and just like price. So we’d be remiss not to mention the pair of issues. Brand is an interesting one when it comes to both baseball and softball. Brands that have existed a long time in both games, such as Mizuno are still around and doing well. There are baseball only brands, or pretty close to it, and then there your big companies like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour, too.
The important thing with brand is to find what you like. Once you find a brand you like, it’s generally a wise idea to stick with them. This isn’t because of brand loyalty necessarily, it’s just that finding the right size and fit is so much easier when you do that. When you switch from brand to brand, it’s tough to get the correct size for your shoes. A size 9 in Nike is not going to be exactly the same as a size 9 Mizuno. This is worth pointing out.
Style is another matter that you have to factor in. If you are a bit older, you might not care all that much about how they look and will want to settle for a black and white pair that is traditional. But if you have a younger player in mind, then color can make all the difference. Sometimes that makes them feel more confident and can get them to actually play better on the field, believe it or not. Typically, the cheapest cleats aren’t going to have as much style, but things are changing and you can find cleats at all kinds of prices that have colors and flashy designs to them.
Price is something that can’t be left off. Most things are going to be this way, but it’s well worth saying: you get what you pay for. While there are some good pairs of cleats out there for the budget, it’s also going to hurt you in the long run if you decide to go ultra cheap and get a pair that isn’t up to par. By doing this, you could end up creating discomfort, cause an injury, and you’ll probably end up needing to replace that pair before too long.
It’s worth paying a little bit extra to get a brand you have actually heard of before. It doesn’t have to be a huge name, but the proof will be in the pudding once you buy something that’s just not good enough.
Helping Get the Right Size
Finding the right size for you is crucial to getting the most out of your softball cleats, and here is a quick guide on how to do that. If you have not sized yourself in a couple of years, you should do so just to be sure. We can have tiny changes add up over time that cause dramatic shifts. Don’t assume that you can go by your normal shoes!
– Try on shoes with your softball socks on. And also make sure you have finished some form of exercising or that you are at the end of the day. This ensures that you will get an accurate fit for when you’re on the field.
– It’s always a good idea to go in person and try them on. You can always buy online if you can find a cheaper price, but you might not be able to return them easily if you find that they do not fit. By trying on in person, you can get an idea of how wide and long certain brands run.
– Judging the length is huge. Make sure you’ve got a little room between the toes and the ends of the shoes. This makes sure that you have some wiggle room. More than a half a thumb or so, however, is also bad because it means you’ll be sliding up and down in your shoes like some kind of boat. That’s not what you want, either.
– Check the width. Some people have wider feet than others, and some companies tend to run narrow. You can try going up a size, but it’ not always a good idea because then it throws the length off entirely. In some cases, you might just have to go with a different brand that has a better all-around fit.
– Check and see if you can remove the inserts or if you can plug and place your own, if needed. Many people forget this and they end up being extremely uncomfortable because the tops scrape across the foot and make you go crazy.
– If you are not comfortable in the shoes, they probably won’t get much better. Just breaking in shoes won’t make them more comfy. If you don’t like them, either don’t buy them or send them back. It’s not worth putting up with for an entire season or more if you are hurting. This is especially important with kids, as it can directly affect their desire to play. They might quit if they don’t feel good in them.
If you keep these thoughts in mind, you’ll be much less likely to end up leaving a poor review on a website because you won’t end up being disappointed!
Best Softball Cleats Reviews
Under Armour Women’s Glyde RM
UA kicks off our list with a very reasonably priced pair of cleats that features a low top. This shoe is made from all synthetics in both the upper and the sole, making them comfortable and quite durable. That also helps them to be light, increasing the impact of the low top even more. The collar of the ankle is laced with mesh, as is the tongue. This not only makes this pair breathable but also aids in the comfort level of them as a whole.
By using EVA in the midsole, UA has made the cleats able to withstand shocks and cushion you all while remaining as light as possible. The cleats are molded, so you will not have to worry as much with injuries and will be good to go on almost any surface you find yourself playing on. The biggest things to look for is break in time and the width. They run a little bit narrow and you also have to be patient with breaking them in. But once you get past that, you will be good to go and will be very happy with your choice.
- Reasonable price
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Very durable thanks to synthetics
- Can be a little tough to break in
- Runs a little narrow for some
Adidas Performance Women’s Wheelhouse 2
Adidas rarely lets down with its looks, and this pair has that classic Three Stripes black and white look to make you happy. Using a rubber sole and a Nubuck upper, this pair of shoes is a little different but is similar in quality to the synthetics that we see so often. Using EVA in the midsole like the UA before and textiles to line the sockliner, it is very comfortable on the inside of the shoes.
These cost slightly more than the above pair, but they are still in the same ballpark, so price is no big obstacle. The problem with these appears to be with sizing. Some find that they run both a little narrow and also run smaller than most other Adidas products do. They also don’t have the greatest durability in the world, but they do an excellent job on really muddy fields, so that is nice to have. They do so well because they have good traction and don’t have a lot of mesh, so you might want to avoid if you are playing in a very hot area.
- Excellent looks and style
- Comfortable inner lining
- Great for wet fields
- Runs narrow and a bit small
- Not as durable as you might like
Mizuno Women’s Swift 5 Fastpitch
If you find yourself needing to raise your game a level, then this could do just the trick. The Swift 5 comes in five very nice colors, but the most important aspect of them is the metal cleats that will help you obtain superior traction in all directions. Made with synthetics for the upper and the sole and coming with a reinforced toe, this is a pair of cleats that would be good for a number of players. The spikes, of which there are nine, are pointed in various directions to give you the best grip possible on all surfaces.
The tongue of the shoe and the heel are both padded and made to feel like a bootie, so you don’t lose out on comfort here at all. With the toe being reinforced, you get even more durability out of an already durable product. The main thing that might concern people is that they do cost quite a bit more than the other options. They also can’t be worn in all leagues, either. They are NOT meant for artificial turf, either, so be double careful with that.
- Great traction
- Very comfortable
- Excellent color choices
- Costs quite a bit
- Not for youth leagues
Nike Girl’s Hyperdiamond 2 Keystone
If you are looking for something for a younger player and they want to have some flashiness to them, then this is the pick for you. The Hyperdiamond has a number of colors and designs to pick from, from the flashy to the traditional. Coming with gore-tex lining, which is famous for making sure nothing goes in or out, these shoes are going to make sure you stay dry and comfy all at the same time, a must have for youth softball.
Using mesh and synthetics, these are highly durable and also comfortable at the same time, and they do so without being all that expensive. Utilizing Nike’s Phylon midsole, they are both responsive like a running shoe would be but also comfy. One thing that you might be thankful for is a reinforced toe area. It’s not as pronounced as others, but the toe cleat is up off the ground and there is some extra thickness there to be had. Nike tends to run small and also a little bit narrow, so watch out for that.
- Very cute pair of cleats
- Comfortable and keeps them dry
- Great durability
- Runs small
- Also can run narrow
New Balance Women’s Sp4040w1
New Balance comes on to the list with an offering that is stylish yet still classy at the same time wit this wholly synthetic pair of cleats. These do come with different spike options, but this one is the molded variety and is a low top for superior speed, comfort, and movement. New Balance almost always done an excellent job with their inserts, and that is the case here with this pair of cleats as well.
Many people have stayed with this model for years because they are durable and comfortable, even for those that are hard on their shoes generally. One thing to keep in mind is that they do run very narrow. This is a problem for those with wide feet, but it also could be blessing for those that have very narrow feet and find it hard to get a pair that fits them well. They also do lose stretch out a lot over time, so you will have to carefully tie them to keep them on properly!
- Very stylish looks
- Comfortable and durable
- Inserts are very cushy
- Runs very narrow
- Stretches over time
Adidas Performance Women’s PowerAlley 2 TPU
A second offering from Adidas comes in the form of the PowerAlley, and it is a cleat that will give you that power. Using a synthetic sole and upper, they will be very durable and are also very tough in the toe thanks to having abrasion resistant material used in that area. The insteps of the cleats feature breathable materials, and when you add to it the Ortholite sockliner, you get comfort as well as a lack of bad smells that you so often see with shoes.
The midsole is made with EVA, and this makes them both light and also makes them durable in the face of constant wear and tear. Coming in three awesome colors and looking slick and shiny to the eye, these shoes will not let you down if you’re looking for style and substance. They also come in at a very competitive price and won’t be upsetting the budget. They do have a tendency to be narrow on a lot of people, and they are also big in terms of length, so that will be something that stops some from investing in them.
- Big time looks
- Very durable and comfortable
- Toe is reinforced
- Sizing issues abound
Mizuno 9-Spike Advanced Finch Franchise 7
This pair of Mizunos, named after star pitcher Jenny Finch, will cost a little more than most on the list but still won’t break your wallet. These cleats are closer to trainers that others, so they will be ideal for those that are going to be playing on artificial turf and those that want a great, comfortable pair of shoes for practice and for sitting around in between games while at tournaments. Sporting a rubber sole and synthetic upper, these shoes are going to be very tough and comfortable at the same time.
One worry, though, is going to be the heat factor as they are black and don’t have a lot of mesh. The cleats are arranged well for fast pitch play, and could do a decent job as well if the ground is dry enough on normal fields. The midsole runs through the whole shoe, serving to make them even comfier. There isn’t a lot of cushion inside, so be ready for a lack of support if you’re standing for a very long time.
- Great on artificial turf
- Very tough
- Good for the wallet and versatile
- Not a lot of cushioning
- Lack of breathability
Mizuno Men’s 9 Spike Advanced Erupt 3
We’ve concentrated on the ladies here so far, but the men need a shout, too, and they get it here with the Erupt 3 from Mizuno. Men’s softball is usually far less aggressive, so these trainers should be adequate for the game, especially if you are in the infield positions as a fielder. Instead of having nine spikes, as the name does indicate, there a bunch of small studs instead that are meant to spread out the load.
This makes them very comfortable compared to normal cleats, which is a god send for those that aren’t really in that good of shape to be out on the diamond for an hour or two standing. They do cost quite a bit more than most, but because of their comfort level and the grip they provide, they can be worn for many sports and activities. They are very flexible throughout, aiding in the movement of the toes, midfoot, and the heels. They also tend to run small, so be ready for that. They’ve also got an upper that isn’t all that sturdy, so they aren’t for ultra competitive folks.
- Versatile uses
- Good grip on clay and grass
- Comfortable and flexible
- Not all that sturdy
- A little bit pricey
Conclusion And Final Softball Cleats Recommendations
With so many choices available nowadays on the internet, it can get overwhelming to pick out the right pair of cleats. There are various claims made that this one is the best, or that this one is the comfiest, and there’s an abundance of them that all have tiny details that are changed. The sheer size of choices should make things easier, but in fact it’s harder for many.
Today’s guide, however, will help you weed through all the trouble. It will help you narrow down what it is you are looking for by pinpointing those details for you. Our reviews will also give you a jumping off point and will help you find a pair that is just right for you or your child. If you have any further questions, look below at our FAQ’s! If not, see you on the diamond!
Frequently Asked Questions About Softball Cleats
Can I Wear Other Types of Cleats?
For softball, it would be wise not to do so. Football and soccer cleats are totally different from softball cleats. Football cleats are bulky compared to softball and baseball cleats and the spikes are made solely for grass. They also are arranged in order for certain things, such as a large lineman to push or for a running back to make cuts. They are just not made for softball. Soccer cleats are a huge no-no. They are comfortable, for sure, but they offer less traction because they don’t have a cleat under the toe.
That extra toe does a lot in terms of making you quicker off the mark. They are also much flimsier, so if you do happen to run into someone or take a foul ball off the foot, you are really going to pay for it because that sport is emphasizing light weight materials at the moment. These types would be decent if you were just needing something for a day or two, but you should get a softball cleat for anything past that.
How Can I Break In My Cleats?
Breaking in cleats is not always a uniform kind of thing. Sometimes you will have a lot of trouble doing so, while in other cases they will come around quickly. The more rigid a pair of cleats are, usually the cheaper they are, too, the more it will take. The best way to break them in is to wear them. Unless they are trainers, you will have to go outside and wear them around. Just walk around some and let them start to stretch out.
Add time as you go on. Before long, you’ll be able to play in them. Don’ make the mistake of wearing them right out of the box on the diamond unless you know they don’t need much breaking in. This could be a recipe for disaster that results in blisters and general uncomfortableness. Your feet are very sensitive to changes, so take it easy to start with.
Does B/M Stand For Boy’s or Men’s?
No, this is not to indicate men’s or boy’s sizes. Instead, it is a way to express the width of the shoes. B means medium or average width, while M would indicated medium as well… on most occasions. It really just depends on the company you are looking at and what their shoe size chars indicate. But don’t worry, they aren’t men’s or boy’s and you won’t have to worry about getting something that does not fit well!
When Should I Replace My Softball Cleats?
Replacing your cleats isn’t always as cut and dry as we’d like it to be, but there are still a few things to look for. First and foremost, if you have a stud missing, then you need to make a change as soon as possible. Not only do you not have the same level of grip anymore, but you also will be letdown because you will have major balance issues! Next, if you are not fitting into them as well as you used to, you need to replace them. This can cause you to form blisters, and that is one of the most common and easiest ways to find yourself unable to play.
Another big way to determine this is if you are noticing tearing of the upper. This is dangerous because it leaves the skin exposed, thus meaning if you are hit or stepped up, you’re much more likely to get hurt. It also means the materials are just worn out and are needing to be put to pasture. Another tell-tale sign is if you are starting to experience discomfort when you have never felt it before. This usually indicates the support is giving way. So, if you are sore and have never been before with them, then it might be getting close to the end date. It is natural to see less and less support as time goes on, but when it gets to a certain point, it’s time to make a change.
The last thing we will mention is found by looking at the cleats. This is harder to do. The thing you DON’T want to do is to look and say “well, they are dirty, they need to be replaced.” This isn’t true. However, if the sides (also called the midsoles or the outsoles sometimes) look strained with creases in them, this means the support is giving way. Oftentimes you’ll notice this when you start to have sore feet. All of these are reasons to make a change.
What’s The Best Way to Clean And Maintain My Cleats?
The best answers here revolve around common sense and good old elbow grease. Maintaining cleats is pretty easy. If you use them in the right way, such as only on the diamond, they will stay in much better shape. Wearing them on pavement and other hard surfaces can and will damage them much quicker than you could anticipate. Keeping them clean isn’t as hard as it might seem. Slamming them together on the spikes right after play is finished is a good way to clear out any left over debris.
From there, you can use warm water and a wash rag. If there are pesky bits of dirt, mud or grass, you can even use a toothbrush to get them out. Don’t go overboard, though, because you’re going to be getting them dirty all over again anyway. Another maintenance tip is to tie them before you go to the field and untie them after. By slinging them on and off, they stretch out a little and you can actually hurt the support some!