Baseball: Baseball Cleat Outsoles
Baseball cleat grip can make or break you. Get tips on traction, speed and more before choosing the outsole that'll get you to home.
Copywriter, T. Scharfenberg | Date Uploaded: 10/19/12
When choosing your baseball cleats, the absolute first thing to consider is your league's rules. In high school, you might have a choice to use molded or metal studs. If you have any doubt, check with your coach. Keep reading to find out what each type of studs can do for your performance. We'll also fill you in on what models some of the top pros are trusting in the majors.
When choosing cleats, you'll have to select what type of material and what stud length you want under your feet. These factors depend on where you're playing and what type of attributes will do the most for your game: speed or stability.
Metal baseball cleats are a popular choice because of their advanced traction abilities. Metal is usually not legal in younger leagues, because of safety concerns. Metal is allowed in most high school leagues, though, and because of the performance boost, metal cleats are the unrivaled choice for elite players and the pros. These bladed studs are rounded at the edges and pointed in different directions for the best traction.
The increased traction that metal cleats bring can have its pros and cons. You'll be able to really dig into the dirt, giving you a great boost for base stealing or lateral movement. They're also designed for digging a solid toe-hold in the batter's box so you'll be able to swing without any slippage. However, getting too much dig can cause your foot to stick in the ground, which can lead to an injury. Metal studs can also be hard on your feet, especially if you're an infielder that stands on hard dirt all game long. While this is a problem for some, most players are willing to sacrifice a little comfort in order to gain better footing.
Professional baseball players love their metal studs. They need the strength and explosiveness for their high-level game. We've already seen some of the new 2013 cleats on the pro fields. One of the most innovative designs in the sport, the Under Armour Spine Highlight made a bright gold appearance on Bryce Harper in the All-Star Game. Also making a noteworthy appearance is the Nike Air Max MVP Elite. It has been seen on tons of players, including Prince Fielder, Tim Lincecum, and Mike Trout.
Molded Rubber Cleats
Molded baseball cleats are more common in younger leagues where metal cleats are considered too dangerous. Some high-level players will continue using rubber studs after becoming comfortable with them in their younger years. They also tend to be more comfortable underfoot than metal spikes.
Molded rubber cleats use wide studs that are formed into the bottom of the shoe. They are stable and strong, with deep grooves for traction. These shorter cleats are a good choice for grass or soft surfaces where metal would dig in too much. They can slip easier on dirt though, especially in the batter's box. Also keep in mind that rubber cleats will break down quicker than metal cleats.
Molded TPU Cleats
TPU cleats share many of the same characteristics as rubber cleats but are made of plastic. These hard studs are positioned in varying patterns with a different number of studs, depending on the brand. The good thing about TPU is that they weigh less than rubber or metal, but are designed to give the metal cleat feel without the safety risks. However, TPU cleats tend to pick up large chunks of grass, so they may not be the best pick for an outfield player.
Interchangeable cleats allow you to switch your studs based on your needs depending on field conditions, weather or cleat-wear. These studs can screw on and off of your cleats so you have the choice between metal, rubber or plastic on any given day. You can also switch your stud length, depending on the firmness of the field. Some standard cleats will allow you to add extra screw-in studs into the outsole for extra stability in the forefoot.
If you are using interchangeable cleats, keep extras in your game bag. It will make sure you have them in case of a sudden change in the weather, or in case you lose or wear out a stud in the middle of the game. The ability to change your worn out studs will also keep you from having to replace your cleats so often.
Baseball trainers have rubber soles with shallow textured patterns. These textures can range from completely flat to nubby and are perfect for training, batting practice, fielding drills or playing on hard turf and artificial grass. Wearing trainers during these instances will keep you from wearing your cleats down. They also are more comfortable than cleats if you're wearing them for an extended period of time.
In order to avoid the uncomfortable aspect of constantly switching shoes, consider trying a trainer that is the same model as your game cleats, like the Under Armour Yard trainers and cleats. If you're looking for a more traditional baseball silhouette, you can take a look at the Mizuno trainers. They're specifically designed for batting practice and training drills with their Parallel Wave™ cushioning system.
Remember that the stud material you need depends on the field conditions, not to mention your league rules. But whether you prefer a lower or mid cut, metal studs or molded, you can find any combination within the hundreds of Eastbay baseball cleats. If you need help narrowing it down, you can let Eastbay's Gear Finder do some of the work for you. You can also read up on the Baseball Cleat: Extra Factors that you might have forgotten when picking your perfect pair.