How to choose the right cleats for Softball

Softball is a game which requires speed, agility and adaptability from the player. You’re always on the move and need to perform every inning of the game. Therefor, you need to be comfortable on your feet. The right pair of cleats will help you with this. The most important factors to keep in mind are cleat type, field position and league requirements.

Let’s start off with the league requirements.
Before you sort out a few pair of cleats to try on, check your local league for the specific requirements regarding the type of cleats. Most of the youth and amateur softball leagues don’t allow metal cleats due to safety reasons, while other high school, college and professional leagues allow the use of metal cleats.

Moving on to the cleat style, there are three different styles of cleats.

  • Metal Cleats: these feature permanent metal spikes on the outsole of the shoe. The metal cleats give the most traction on the field while they dig-in further in the dirt. The metal spikes are also the thinnest compared to other cleat styles.
  • Molded cleats: these are designed with shorter rubber or harder plastic studs which are non-removable. The harder plastic outsole is often lighter than the rubberized outsole or metal spikes. The molded cleats contain more studs along the outsole of the shoe. This is the reason why the molded cleats are often more comfortable wear. These cleats are perfect for the beginning player.
  • Training/Turf cleats: these are the best cleats for off-field practice. They are often more comfortable than regular cleats while they have no studs. They also provide more traction than regular shoes on the turf and they won’t tear up or damage the surface in training facilities.

 

Last but not least we have the position on the field. When it’s possible for you as a player, try to go for a cleat which is suited for your position. Keep in mind that every player has different needs on the field.

For example, a pitcher need a reinforced toe because of the well known toe drag. Pitchers often go for a low-top style cleat to give maximum flexibility on the ankle movement. The metal cleats pick up way les dirt and grass than molded cleats because of the thinner spikes. The metal cleats are suited for infield and outfield players. They also provide more grip to start a sprint for the outfield player to go after a ball.

Other considerations for the player

  • The shoes should fit great around the foot but still has to leave a little bit of room in the toe. A tip is to try on the shoes with the kind of socks you’ll be playing in, this gives you a better idea of how the shoe fits on gamedays. You don’t want to wear shoes which are too tight.
  • A thick and wide tongue on the shoe prevents dirt from getting in your shoe. The tongue also helps to keep your laces from getting untied or in the way while playing.

A lightweight padding in de midsole of the shoe provides an extra cushion and shock absorption for a comfortable feel.