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Long gone are the days when looking for new baseball cleats meant choosing between a couple of stores, and seeing maybe a trio of models. Today, cleats for baseball can come in any array of styles, designs, colors, and patterns, some made specifically for long grass, others just for turf, while still others are good for both.
It’s time to offer our readers updates about the best baseball cleats for 2023, and the seasons immediately after ~ because new seasons bring new models, features, and technological advancements.
We took some time researching quite a few brands, models, styles, and features, and believe we came up with a solid list to help match with any baseball shoe desire.
- The Adidas Icon 7 Baseball Cleat series tops our list for a lot of reasons, namely the true quality you get compared with the price, and the brand’s history of delivering high-quality baseball cleat models.
- Make sure you stay with the crowd, or better, with the Under Armour Harper 7 Baseball Cleat model and its array of colors and styles.
- What’s not to like about the New Balance FuelCell 4040 V6 Baseball Shoe, a superior model from a manufacturer liked by Major League Baseball?
- For kids, take a close look at the Franklin Baseball Cleat, and don’t be fooled by the no-nonsense model name. This cleat rocks for the younguns.
- We like to present the New Balance Dynasoft 4040 V6 Turf Trainer for buyers interested in shoes not only good for playing on fake grass surfaces, but also for baseball training.
- Among many solid models from this known manufacturer, we like the Nike Men’s Lunar Vapor Elite 2 Baseball Cleat just for its engineering alone.
- The Under Armour Leadoff Mid Rubber Molded Baseball Cleat line has to be included in our list of recommendations because, well, it’s just a super-popular and super-comfy cleat.
Anyone serious about playing baseball ~ that is, beyond informal street or pickup games ~ will need a pair of cleats. Mainly because of the baserunning, which is done mostly on loose dirt and demands shoes with grip (cleats) to avoid slipping.
Much of baseball is played on grass, too, which when moist also can cause problems. It’s a reason why top-level baseball players wear metal spikes: they dig deep into any type of turf and are almost guaranteed against slippage.
So the “who” part of the question is answered simply: pretty much everyone, including coaches at the highest levels of play. The ‘why” element is answered above, which also is straightforward. The game of baseball involves a lot of sprinting and because of it they need tools to ensure they don’t slip or fall.
Let’s dig deeper into the “what” and “how” questions.
Top baseball cleats today feature the most advanced features in the industry’s history, and to be quite honest, it’s hard to go wrong with any of the high-quality spikes listed below.
What can help you in the buying process are the details to look for. Here, we offer this primer:
It’s wise to start here, because many youth leagues do not allow metal spikes. Metal spikes are not as dangerous as they may sound, but indeed they are not intended for tee-ballers or even the very young ages immediately after. First, check with your league or organization to know rules on cleats per age division.
Your choices will be between metal, or nonmetal bottom spikes like those made of hard rubber or plastic. Most non-metal spikes are molded rubber.
Metal spikes are better for baseball play on very hard or very soft surfaces, like the dry ballfields in the West half of the United States, or where it rains enough to create thick, green grass in the outfield. Metal spikes, if maintained correctly, rarely slip, and they last longer than the non-metal types.
Use of plastic or rubber spikes is approaching 1/3 of all Major League Baseball players, who finally are leaning to non-metal more to preserve their feet and joints. Rubber cleats are soft, and have more flexibility, making them easier on the feet than the metals.
Overall, think of it this way: metal spikes wear down more slowly, and dig deep into the turf for traction; non-metal spikes are usually more comfortable to wear, especially long-term. Players in some positions like pitcher or catcher might prefer metal spikes, and we’ll dig into that below.
Older dads might remember when the only choice for baseball cleats was hard leather, in just black as the color. Those days are long gone and cleats can be made of more-quality leather which means lighter and more flexible, as well as vinyl, mesh, or some newfangled material that seems to be the cleat material du juor. And choices for colors or color combos are unlimited.
Many high-quality baseball cleats now are made from synthetic material (usually a souped-up plastic faux leather), with a high likelihood that mesh will be featured in parts to reduce weight.
Leather lasts longer in almost all instances.
However leather is heavy, and prone to cracking if inundated with moisture often; and modern technology has come up with some solid alternatives.
This is important for at least 2 major reasons in baseball: to not slow down a player, e.g. allow for speed; and to prevent fatigue. The general demarcation on cleat weight is 1 lb. ~ anything at or below means very light. If a model uses only ounces to indicate the weight, the cleats don’t weigh much.
Players in some positions, like corner infielders and catchers, are less concerned with weight, and care more about durability. Still, cleat models exceeding 2 lbs are heavy, and could speed up the process of making a player tired during games or practices.
There are many high-quality baseball cleats on the market today, and sometimes competing models are so very alike it’s almost impossible to tell them apart aside from the logo. When this happens, a player might consider that single aspect of their game they either want improved, or some help with as in more comfort on the field.
Some cleats, for example, have special reinforcement at the tips of the toes to prevent wear when the back foot drags during throws (especially for pitchers who do this over and over).
Sometimes a model might have something to hide shoelaces and avoid trips; others might have a special design for the spikes aimed at boosting comfort or even performance. Still others might add features to wick away sweat or let air flow better through the shoes, nice touches for playing often in hot environments.
1. Best Baseball Cleat for 2023 Overall ~ Adidas Icon 7 Series Baseball Cleat
The Adidas Icon 7 Series Baseball Cleat tops our list of recommendations for several reasons, primarily among them the proverbial bang for the buck. This model, depending on variations and features, is usually priced very competitively and it’s difficult to imagine a parent going wrong by choosing the Adidas Icon for their little player.
See what we mentioned just before this list? The Icon 7 has textile upper and lining to let air flow well and the shoe to “breathe” for comfort. This model has a lace closure to help ensure the fit is snug. And the bottom is designed specifically for cushioning (the bouncy midsole), or grip (outsole molded rubber).
All in all, the Icon 7 is super lightweight, and the company’s special molded sock liner adds even more comfort to a design that implements things the company has learned by manufacturing baseball cleats for many decades.
- Material(s): Textile synthetics, and rubber sole
- Weight: 12.6 to 14.3 oz.
- Special Feature: Molded sock liner
What We Like
- Most features and benefits for the price point
- Solid brand with a successful run with this model
- Very light in weight
2. Best Baseball Cleat for 2023 Runner-Up ~ Under Armour Men’s Harper 7 Baseball Cleat
Sometimes buyers just want to be sure to impress no matter what, and for them, here is the Under Armour Men’s Harper 7 Baseball Cleat. Besides the endorsement from superstar Bryce Harper, this series always seems to produce an appearance and style that simply looks cool.
At just over 13 ounces, this model also meets pretty much all expectations when it comes to the weight. It’s light, yet also engages technology that the company is known for to ensure significant comfort, as well as performance enhancement.
The Harper models usually come in the mid-ankle cut (like the version shown here), which adds a touch of extra support in an area (ankles) that take a beating in baseball play. All this while avoiding the full-on Bill Buckner high tops that could limit mobility. It also is available in low-cut and even high-top versions ~ though they look a lot better than Billy Buck’s old black Nikes.
- Material(s): Blend (typically synthetic and rubber)
- Weight: 13.1 oz.
- Special Feature: Numerous colors and color designs for many choices for appearance and/or style
What We Like
- Eye-catching, modern design
- Super lightweight
- Design elements for ankle protection
3. Best Baseball Cleat for 2023 Runner Up 2 ~ New Balance FuelCell 4040 V6 Baseball Shoe
To tell the truth, several versions of this line of cleats could easily have topped this list. For here we’ll focus on the New Balance FuelCell 4040 V6 Baseball Shoe line. This company has secured itself as the Official Cleat of MLB Players ~ and the 4040 line just seems to keep getting better.
Not just for cleats, but all New Balance shoes have become popularly known due to an emphasis on comfort. There are several variations of 4040 series New Balance cleats, but the common denominator is they all feel really good on your feet. It’s no different with the new V6 line.
This line has also proved to be quite durable, a significant reason so many top-level ballplayers go with it. That the 4040 line comes in a great range of colors, color schemes, and designs is like the chef’s kiss atop a perfect recipe for baseball.
- Material(s): Blend
- Weight: 1.48 lbs.
- Special Feature: Cushioned FuelCell midsole
What We Like
- This model has built in probably the best front toe protection of any on our list of suggestions
- Superior comfort
- TPU-cleated design
4. Best Baseball Cleats for Kids for 2023 ~ Franklin Baseball Cleat
The Franklin Baseball Cleat has to be the go-to for parents of brand-new young players. The company has been delivering “starter” baseball gear for quite some time, but this might be the first model I’ve seen that has become quite popular. Buyer comments so far have been exceptional.
At 1.6 lbs. these cleats are a tad on the heavy side, but what’s most important for young players is comfort and durability ~ and this model delivers there. A synthetic leather exterior is coupled with textured toe support to add toughness and try to get these cleats through more than a single season.
On the comfort side, there’s a mesh tongue to allow air to breathe through, and a cushioned insole and padding for the ankles protect growing bones and joints. The rubber soles and spikes are plenty well-designed for performance, making this model an excellent choice for new or very young players.
- Material(s): Synthetic leather, and rubber soles
- Weight: 1.6 lbs.
- Special Feature: Textured toe support for added durability
What We Like
- Superb reviews and comments from many buyers already
- Affordable for the quality
- 90-day limited warranty
5. Best Baseball Cleats for Turf for 2023 ~ New Balance Dynasoft 4040 V6 Turf Trainer Baseball Shoe
We added the New Balance Dynasoft 4040 V6 Turf Trainer Baseball Shoe high up our list as our suggestion for use on turf (fake grass) fields. Use of artificial turf on youth and teen baseball fields is increasing as the synthetic grass becomes more affordable, and parents with kids in these leagues need to know what that means for cleats.
What stands out among a large field of new baseball turf shoes is the comfort and agility of this New Balance offering. Of course, being a New Balance shoe pretty much guarantees the product will feel good on the feet, but there are other details here to pay attention to for baseball play.
They call it a “trainer” which is not necessarily the best marketing move, since this model is built well and is fine for game play. Because of the design to deal with more sweat than normal, it actually makes it better for game play. Players new to turf might not understand how much hotter their feet will get out on the field!
- Material(s): Synthetic and mesh upper, rubber sole
- Weight: n/a
- Special Feature: DynaSoft midsole
What We Like
- Super-soft insole makes this show stupendously comfy
- Really locked-in feel with tongue designed burrito-style
- Bold turf outsole for gnarly traction on fake grass
6. Best Baseball Cleat for Speed in 2023 ~ Nike Men’s Lunar Vapor Elite 2 Baseball Cleat
The Nike Men’s Lunar Vapor Elite 2 Baseball Cleat is designed specifically for acceleration and speed, and for that this model is worn by quite a few MLB players. This is a fact not to be overlooked for young baseball players.
It’s hard to explain how Nike pulled this off, but it looks like a series of very fine details helps make these shoes faster than ordinary cleats. Perhaps start with the asymmetrical tongue and laces, which is unusual unto itself.
Underneath, a hybrid pattern of both metal and TPU studs provides really great traction, and support sideways when running the bases. Then the company went a step beyond others with traction swirls in places on the bottom to address how baseball players pivot so much ~ these details are meant to maintain traction while balls of feet or heels twist.
- Material(s): Mesh upper, and rubber sole
- Weight: 1.85 lbs.
- Special Feature: Stitching pattern, computer-generated, in the midfoot and heel for above-average snugness in the fit
What We Like
- The brand’s application of research for features to boost speed
- Hybrid mix of studs, which is quite unusual
- Mesh upper for breathability
7. Best Baseball Mid-Cut Cleats for 2023 ~ Under Armour Leadoff Mid Rubber Molded Baseball Cleat
It’s hard to imagine a list of today’s baseball cleats without a mention of Under Armour’s Leadoff line. With that in mind, let’s tip the cap to the company’s mid-cut entry, the Under Armour Leadoff Mid Rubber Molded Baseball Cleat.
For the unaware, a mid-cut means the shoe rides up the ankle to provide added support there ~ like the high-tops worn by basketball players, just not so obnoxiously tall. Modern technical research and application makes cleats like these especially desirable for players prone to injury, or with a family history of bad ankles.
That it’s made by Under Armour means it will feel good on the feet, and perform well. Everything else you would expect from a quality baseball cleat ~ toe box perforations for air breathability, overlay on toe cap, padded heels and collar, etc. ~ are there for a complete package.
- Material(s): Synthetic upper, rubber sole
- Weight: 1.74 lbs.
- Special Feature: Full-length EVA midsole for comfort
What We Like
- Attention to full-length midsole and sole comfort overall, for a superior feel
- Excellently designed ankle support
- Cushioning designed to evenly distribute pressure from the studs underfoot
We add this to your preparations into our list of the best baseball cleats because it can add deep insight into the process for separating between the many models.
In reality, not all baseball cleats are for every player. Here are key factors in deciding the types of cleats needed:
Which positions the player will (or might) play should be a top consideration in the baseball cleat purchase process. In fact, this element could have its entire section here. Instead, let’s offer a brief list of tips:
… need to be flexible and comfortable, because all the squatting puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the underside of a cleat. Cleats that have soles made of cheap material, or are not engineered properly to bend and give when the shoes are bent steadily, will not last. Also, of all the positions, catchers pretty much must wear cleats made of all leather, or at least of a very high-quality faux leather. Mesh or vinyl will not last behind the plate.
While leather is preferred for its durability, also make sure the cleats have a decent ventilation system, to let moisture and heat out during play. We cannot emphasize enough how important it is for catchers to stay cool and free of too much sweat and grime.
Also, catchers beat on toes pretty well, so look for extra lining or some sort of a pad up front. Finally, of all the positions, catchers need an interior with lots of comfort points. A thicker or softer tongue, extra padding on the achilles tendon touch points, very soft arch support, things like this are very much appreciated by backstops.
… need a) long or very effective studs (cleats) on the bottom; and b) reinforcement on the tip of the foot that drags on throws (or, does not step first; the “back” foot). Pitchers, totally, absolutely, cannot slip during pitches. Slips cause injuries, often to some point of the arm. Pitchers’ arms and shoulders are delicate human machinery and must be respected at all times.
We’re not talking inch-long metal spikes, but at least full-length spikes up to whatever is allowed by league rules, or specially designed studs proven to grip dirt. All pitcher’s mounds are dirt, and cleats are depended upon both to push off the rubber, and at the landing spot for the front foot. Any failure at all during these 2 maneuvers means the cleats are not suitable for pitching.
Aside from grip, pitcher’s cleats get worn at the tips of the toes, and in the midsole where they take a beating from compression and repetition. All-leather is the best choice for pitchers, though some might opt for a quality faux leather, if it means lighter shoes. Weight is a big deal for pitchers due to the importance of stamina.
Infield play is on dirt, often very packed or hard dirt, so they are especially hard on spikes, toes, and the mid-section where shoes bend. Look for extra toe-tip protection, and a shell material that is durable. All-mesh cleats are not wise for infield play.
There also is a safety factor for cleats for infielders: their feet are exposed to being spiked by sliding runners near bases. For that reason, full leather, or a thick synthetic leather, are preferred inside the diamond.
Outfield play depends greatly on 2 things: the jump, and the sprint. Seek cleats that are light in weight, or at least designed to boost acceleration. Special stud alignments underneath might help out with the initial jump to run for fly balls; and remember that when grass gets wet, outfielders spend the most time on it. Mesh is not a great idea here, also.
If your top factor is for hitting, look for cleats that have strong cleats underneath, and support at stress points like the ball of the foot, and mid section where a lot of torque can damage inferior cleat models. If not metal spikes underneath, at least be sure the rubber or plastic studs are made of a quality material or are otherwise designed specially to really grip into the dirt.
Once again, players hitting spend their time digging into the dirt, and for that reason you don’t want too much mesh on the shoes.
These players are handling the ball every pitch, so durability must be factored in. Going with a generic synthetic leather, or any type of mesh or vinyl, on these cleats won’t last long. If any baseball position commanded fine leather material, these are the positions.
These players spend more time than others standing around, or jogging to back up other players. It’s due to 2 reasons: more action occurs in the infield from ground balls and throws; and outfielders have fewer additional responsibilities like covering bases. If you were going to gamble with cleats of less-quality leather, or even having some nylon in it to reduce weight and promote speed, this is the position for that. But remember, grass gets wet, so not too much nylon or mesh to let that moisture become uncomfortable inside.
Playing on the dirt means not only a lot of running (mainly to bases fast), but sudden starts and stops, and feet bending in the middle as players squat to prepare for every pitch. Infielders that play every inning need to think about comfort at the balls of the feet and under the heels, and also about shoe design durability right in the middle. A little toe protection doesn’t hurt, either.