How To Choose the Right Baseball Shoes
There are several options when choosing a ball shoe. Once the right fit for your foot shape and performance features are determined, your level of play and league regulations will also have an influence on your choice, as well as your personal preference regarding the shoe design.
When choosing a baseball shoe, there are key elements to consider:
- Shoe Construction
- Cleat Style
- Toe Protection
Agility, speed, balance and comfort from the 1st inning to the last is what you expect from your baseball shoe all season long. It is important you have the correct size in a baseball shoe, with a snug fit and no pressure points. A shoe that is too big will cause slippage and create blisters, as well as create an unbalanced stance; a shoe that is too small can cause pain and discomfort, and affect your ability to run the bases.
The internal padding in the shoe keeps your feet comfortable and responsive throughout the game. A sole made from quality materials will keep you from feeling pressure from the studs underfoot, for comfort and to ease fatigue. Look for a shoe with a good amount of insole padding in the forefoot, arch and heel areas for stability to offset the impact from running, quick stops and starts, and slides onto base.
A commonly asked question by new-to-baseball players and parents is, “why can’t I use a soccer shoe to play baseball?”
Although soccer and baseball shoes are similar in that they use cleats on the bottom outsole of the shoe to provide traction, they are constructed differently as they perform contrasting functions. Soccer shoes allow you to touch and feel the ball on the top and sides of your foot to control the ball with precision. Baseball shoes focus on stability and balance, protection and durability – you don’t want to feel the baseball with your feet! Instead you need protection from grounders and for sliding while still being able to run hard.
Soccer shoes are available with different leathers, synthetics and microfibers, all if which have slight differences both in the way the ball feels on your foot, and the way the shoe fits over time.
While baseball shoes can be made of leather, most players prefer a synthetic shoe because of their accommodating fit and performance features, and for their lightweight and durable characteristics.
Soccer shoes are designed to fit like a low-profile shoe with the top line edge under the ankle, whereas baseball shoes offer a mid-cut shoe or a low-cut shoe. The mid-cut shoe is higher on the ankle bone and protects this vulnerable area from foul balls and grounders. Mid-cut cleats offer support without losing mobility, and are often the choice for pitchers, catchers and first basemen. Low-cut cleats sit just below the ankle bone and are great for freedom of movement. Outfielders, 2nd and 3rd basemen often choose this style as they allow for quick cuts and change in directions. Ultimately, your personal preference for the cut of the shoe will be a huge factor.
Many of the shoes built by the leading baseball brands including Mizuno, New Balance and Under Armour offer both a low-cut and a mid-cut styles.
Cleats are the spikes that are on the bottom of the baseball shoe – the number and pattern of the spikes will vary with each manufacturer, but all have the function of providing traction and stability when hitting, running and fielding.
Metal Baseball Cleats
Metal cleats are only worn in competitive leagues such as high school, college and major baseball leagues. The spikes themselves are made from steel for strength, and deliver better balance and grip into the ground with takeoff. Metal spikes are great for helping a batter dig a toe hold in the batter’s box for more traction and stability.
Power pitchers tend to use metal cleats to get every last ounce of the drive to lengthen their stride to home plate. For the flamethrowers, metal spikes might be the difference between a 94 mph fastball and a 96 mph pitch.
Plastic Baseball Cleats
A polyurethane (PU) plastic baseball cleat is suitable for players of all calibers as they are lightweight and have strategically placed spikes that distribute your body weight better, resulting in less pressure points. It is no secret the plastic cleats won’t dig into the ground quite as well as metal, however they are stable in all weather and field conditions, allowing you to feel your feet “grab” the ground to give you more strength and power in mud or hard ground.
Turf Baseball Cleats
Turf shoes can be worn at all levels of play. Instead of metal spikes or plastic cleats at the bottom, turf shoes have a sole that is rippled. These shoes are great when playing on artificial turf or for players who do not want the “grab” on the ground that can cause stress on the knees. Some people prefer to be lower to the ground with the turf shoe, which gives them better stability and balance when running to a base or the ball.
Dragging your toe is a common baseball movement, especially for pitchers, and it's important to choose a shoe that is durable and reinforced in the toe area. Look for a strong overlay that will keep this area from being torn.
Start your baseball season off on the right foot by choosing the ball shoe that maximizes your speed, control, and ensures premium comfort. With the proper fit and cleat traction, your baseball shoe can give you the winning edge. Let our baseball specialists help elevate your game at your local Source For Sports baseball retailer.