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Artificial turf has come a long way in baseball. In fact, one could say fake grass has changed tremendously since the first installation inside the Houston Astrodome in the mid-1960s. Nowadays you can find synthetic turf fields all the way down to the youth baseball level, and because of this, a whole market has opened up for turf shoes.
We wanted to offer a product review of the best turf shoes for baseball, to separate this type of cleat from the usual ones with metal spikes or hard plastic teeth on the bottoms.
Respected manufacturers today provide a great range of turf shoes, for play in baseball as well as in other sports, and especially for training. If it’s playing on a turf baseball field that you wish to address, you’ll probably want insight into the turf shoes best for the diamond and outfield surfaces.
- The Under Armour Men’s Yard Turf Baseball Shoe tops our list with super-duper comfort and plenty of details for performance.
- Continuing a brand’s commitment to performance excellence, the New Balance Men’s Fresh Foam 3000v5 Baseball Turf Shoes is the most comfortable on our list.
- Stay nimble on your feet with the ultra-light Adidas Men’s Speed Turf Baseball Shoes, a solid offering by a well-established sports brand.
- Want good traction on that turf? Check out the other Adidas model on our list, the Adidas Adizero Afterburner 8 Turf Baseball Shoe.
- The Under Armour Men’s Harper 6 Turf Baseball Shoe is notable for several reasons, including superior ankle support.
- Skip the mass-marketed big brands with the Boombah Men’s Raptor Turf Shoes ~ which holds its own quite nicely in performance and look.
- For durability, we recommend the Mizuno Player Trainer 2 Turf Shoe, a fine baseball-specific model built to last by this Japanese manufacturer.
See also our Honorable Mentions immediately following the list, including models for baseball umpiring.
1. Best Baseball Turf Shoes Overall ~ Under Armour Men’s Yard Turf Baseball Shoes
Many major manufacturers of sports shoes tack on numbers and/or letters to models to (somehow) make them unique or special. That makes the Under Armour Men’s Yard Turf Baseball Shoe a breath of fresh air. This sports shoe-maker is straight up about what it offers here.
And it’s a good one, supported by lots of positive user reviews. What we like most about this model is design elements for comfort, from its molded heel to the breathable mesh toe box, soft heel pocket, and plush sockliner. Here, Under Armour designed a near-perfect shoe for hard play on fake grass surfaces.
- Weight: 1.5 lbs.
- Material: Rubber sole, leather, mesh toe box
- Style: Regular
- Special Feature: Soft molded heel pocket, excellent for support on hard surfaces
What We Like
- Designed to feel like a regular sneaker
- Multiple (13 that we could find) color schemes to choose from
2. Best Baseball Turf Shoes for Performance ~ New Balance Men’s Fresh Foam 3000v5 Baseball Turf Shoes
While other sports shoe manufacturers may focus on visual appeal or comfort, the New Balance Men’s Fresh Foam 3000v5 Baseball Turf Shoes are all about performance. Much like all the other models in the New Balance line. When the market for turf-specific shoes for baseball surfaced, this company was able to apply its best practices for amazing results.
Standing on hard turf for hours on end can make everything below the belt ache, particularly the heel and arch areas of the feet. New Balance used data from baseball play to offer this model with superb cushioning and fit at the arch, a starting point from which to deliver other special features.
- Weight: 12.4 oz.
- Material: Rubber
- Style: Regular
- Special Feature: Brand-specific Fresh Foam midsole for a cushion boost and arch support.
What We Like
- Designed specifically to enhance baseball movements
- The typical New Balance attention to detail in terms of performance
- Very lightweight and super cushioned
3. Best Baseball Turf Shoes for Speed ~ Adidas Men’s Speed Turf Baseball Shoes
Adidas has been producing very high-quality sports shoes for quite some time, and it’s no surprise that company marketers got right to the point with the Adidas Men’s Speed Turf Baseball Shoes. Some players insist on being as light on their feet as possible, and among the major-manufacturer models we reviewed this is the lightest.
Tack onto that a wider lacing system than normal, which baseball players in particular can appreciate as it boosts comfort during high-stress lateral movements. Basically, it gives a tiny bit more play, or stretching out, for a more-than-tiny benefit. The Speed Turf baseball shoes are an excellent choice for any artificial or indoor surface.
- Weight: 10.4 oz.
- Material: Mix of rubber sole and outsole, mesh upper and mesh tongue
- Style: Regular
- Special Feature: Widened lacing system for more comfortable fit
What We Like
- About as light as you will find for baseball shoes
- The widened lacing system is probably underrated
- TPU overlays to resist scratching
4. Best Baseball Turf Shoes for Traction ~ Adidas Adizero Afterburner 8 Turf Baseball Shoe
We told you Adidas makes some fine turf shoes, so let’s offer its traction-focused model, the Adidas Adizero Afterburner 8 Turf Baseball Shoe. Not quite as lightweight as the Speed Turf but close enough, what we really like about the Adizero Afterburner is the rubber outsole designed specifically to improve traction.
Aside from comfort, baseball players eyeing action on turf fields wonder about their ability to start and stop quickly, and move swiftly side to side. The Afterburner also offers the wider lacing system for give-and-go laterally, but the well-designed sole and mesh interior gives it just another element good for performance.
- Weight: 1.5 lbs.
- Material: Mix of rubber and mesh
- Style: Regular
- Special Feature:
What We Like
- Fine rubber outsole
- Built-for-training light weight
- Snug fit with wide lacing system and textile lining
5. Best Baseball Turf Shoes for Ankle Support ~ Under Armour Men’s Harper 6 Turf Baseball Shoe
As stated previously, Under Armour does pretty well in the baseball turf shoes department, and we wanted to point out some nice features in the Under Armour Men’s Harper 6 Turf Baseball Shoe that could catch the eye of ballplayers out there. Baseball players can be particular about what they want out of their cleats or shoes.
The Harper 6 is neat because of its mid-top design, not quite the full high-top cleat of Bill Buckner fame, but designed high nonetheless to give special support higher up in the ankle. The mid- and upper-ankle area is a tender spot for many baseball players, and Under Armour did the research and added about the most supportive turf shoe available for that purpose.
- Weight: 1.76 lbs.
- Material: Mix of rubber sole
- Style: Mid
- Special Feature: Thick and textured rubber outer sole
What We Like
- Mid-top ankle support design
- Mesh top of toe box for breathability
- Very well-designed rubber outer sole for traction and durability
6. Best Baseball Turf Shoes for Uniqueness ~ Boombah Men’s Raptor Turf Shoes
The Boombah Men’s Raptor Turf Shoes are remarkable for a number of reasons, among them the fact that they don’t have a swoosh or stripes or a logo people know due to mass marketing. The company started in 2003, and in a short amount of time it has developed quite a following particularly in baseball and fastpitch softball.
The company’s aim is to “Be what no one else is and give what no one else will.” Most anyone who has owned a pair of Boombahs can vouch that its aim is true. Bonus points for the number of color combinations available. If not for this model, look for other Boombah cleats that you can customize to any color/combination imaginable.
- Weight: 10.3 oz.
- Material: Mesh upper, rubber sole and outsole
- Style: Regular
- Special Feature: High-rebound midsole
What We Like
- Extreme light weight with breathable mesh to keep coolness
- Reinforced toe for durability
- Distinct visual aesthetic appearance
7. Best Baseball Turf Shoes for Durability ~ Mizuno Player Trainer 2 Turf Shoe
Mizuno has a solid reputation for making baseball gloves, but in the turf shoes realm there is much to like about the Mizuno Player Trainer 2 Turf Shoe. The model name does not mention baseball, but make no mistake, the Trainer 2 is designed especially for baseball play.
While we appreciate performance features like a snug boot fit, we want to spotlight this model for how it’s built to last. You might notice it’s a tad heavier than other models on our list. Its sole and outsole especially are made thick and strong, and these are parts of turf shoes that can get beat up in baseball play. Kudos to Mizuno for giving this a shot.
- Weight: 2.73 lbs.
- Material: Mix of rubber and synthetic
- Style: Regular
- Special Feature: Booty Construction inside shoe for secure, soft fit
What We Like
- Heavier but built purposely sturdy to last with artificial turf play
- Well-shaped well to fit individual feet
- Designed specifically for baseball
- New Balance Men’s 950 V3 Umpire Baseball Shoe~ for the men and women in blue.
- Boombah Men’s Challenger Turf Shoes for its really good foam insole.
- Nike Reax 8 TR Men’s Cross-Trainers are not baseball-specific, but offer a lot of different features that some players might prefer in their game.
- The 3N2 Men’s Umpire Shoe with reaction pro plate lo is an upper-end shoe for on-field refereeing, and comes with special top-of-foot protection for those times when you’re called upon to be behind the plate.
In this sport, the typical equipment on the feet are cleats, or what players will call “spikes” ~ for the metal or hard plastic teeth on the bottom good for gripping into the soft grass and earth that make up baseball fields.
Since the mid-1960s, some professional baseball fields began to get covered with artificial grass, or “turf,” mainly those inside enclosed domes that blocked out most sunlight. Some multipurpose stadiums, built for both baseball and football play, also featured the fake grass because grass takes a beating from football play.
Baseball players quickly learned that using the old metal spikes, while doable, were not entirely practical. What they needed were newer shoes modeled more like basketball’s high-top sneakers, with a more flat undersurface designed to grip the synthetic playing surface for fast starting and stopping, and lateral acceleration.
As artificial turf designs and advancements made it easier and less costly to install, fake grass began to appear on school baseball fields, many in hot-climate regions where watering could prove costly.
Many baseball players prefer the fake grass anyway because it allows for more true hops, meaning fewer weird bounces that occur on grass or dirt when a baseball hits a divot, hole, stone, pebble, or anything else out on the field.
So turf shoes were invented, and eventually turf shoes especially for baseball play. Baseball as a game has demands on the body different from other sports, in that there is a lot of sudden acceleration and stopping ~ think running base paths ~ and also the side-to-side movement of infielders and outfielders.
The best manufacturers, including many you see on our list, designed their turf shoes with baseball players in mind.
Those unfamiliar with the game may wonder, What’s the fuss with turf? The answer is in grip, and give.
While regular baseball cleats or spikes have elongated teeth on their bottoms, to dig into the soil of grassy surfaces, they don’t entirely hold the shoe in place firmly. During push-off, or a land-and-lift in running, soils bend a little due to soft materials or even air bubbles in the soil.
Turf, on the other hand, is unforgiving. Playing on artificial turf can be like playing baseball on concrete ~ the surface is flat, clean, and hard. While newer artificial turfs are made to emulate real grass, with little rubber particles between the blades to emulate dirt and soil, turf fields remain better for gripping than grass surfaces.
Much of this involves the precision of actions. There is less chance of slipping on artificial turf, as there are no roots to give away, or muddy conditions with rain and moisture. They call fake grass a “true” surface, meaning it is not marred by potholes, divots, scrapes, pebbles, or anything else that can cause a ball to change direction or even an ankle to roll.
Artificial turf surfaces are better for playing in inclement weather, as there is no soil to inundate with water to create puddling and slipping. Fake grass surfaces are technically designed to pull away and drain water from the field.
Each baseball player is unique, in how they play the game, and the demands they put on their equipment. In baseball this can be especially true of the shoes worn. These cleats, spikes, or turf shoes can be molded and bent into any number of shapes by serious ballplaying.
There are common needs, however, and we offer these tips to consider when going into the buying process for baseball turf shoes.
The contact points for the shoes and whatever turf is played on is crucial to baseball as it is with almost any other sport (maybe sans golf). Baseball on turf means more ability to stop quickly, and maybe even in the instant acceleration needed for leaving the batter’s box, or starting a sprint in the outfield.
Inspect models for material used in outsoles (typically rubber is best, just like it is for traction with moving vehicles); as well as thickness and design. Some turf shoe models that focus on traction make their soles appear bigger, emphasizing why you want to go with that model. Smart marketing!
Standing for hours on artificial turf is much different than on natural grass, because of aspects we mention above. Soil can give, or get squished down with a player’s weight, making it feel softer than standing on a hard surface. Because of this, some turf shoes are more padded than regular cleats or spikes.
The game of baseball is brutal on the ankles. There’s a lot of twisting, turning, and general torque on what already is a complex joint on a human body. For turf look for special elements aimed specifically at helping the ankles, like mid-tops, special lacing, or foam insoles.
The arch of the foot ~ that indention on the inner-bottoms between the heel and balls of the feet ~ also takes a beating in baseball. Much of the action of baseball players is pushing off one of the feet, like off a pitcher’s rubber, or the back foot of a batter. Some turf shoe makers go out of their way to mention something special for arch support ~ and when they do, take a close look because a lot of baseball players really appreciate this element for comfort.
Regular baseball cleats or spikes are more prone to being in contact with moisture, because real natural grass must be watered for the planted grass to survive, which transfers to the materials used to make the cleats. Moisture is not a friend of cleats, whether made of leather or synthetic material.
For turf shoes, look into whether the material or materials used are quality and solid. You can tell much about a turf shoe just by the thickness of the undersole, and how it’s molded to the rest of the shoe. Thick and hard can be great for longevity in a baseball shoe.
When researching for baseball turf shoes, be careful not to get confused with the many variations of turf shoes out there. Know that many shoes are designed specifically for training, cardio-vascular exercises, running, or unique sports like lacrosse and golf.
Not all “turf shoes” are good for baseball play. This can be pretty evident when you see the plastic spikes of golf shoes. But other turf shoes, especially high-end training shoes, can look attractive for any athlete.
Learn the details of each model carefully, according to some of the tips we offered above. In reality, any of the baseball turf shoes models mentioned above would serve a baseball or softball player well. Much of it is just the preferences of each individual player, with his or her unique needs.
As more fields in every level of baseball are made with modern artificial turf and grass, sports shoes manufacturers are applying research and high-tech materials and design to help improve performance and comfort in shoes just for baseball. Turf shoes are much different than regular baseball cleats or spikes, for many of the reasons we outlined above.
With just a little insight and knowledge of details to look for, you can find the perfect turf shoes to take your baseball game to the next level.
Question: Do the soles of turf shoes for baseball wear out fast?
Answer: Generally, no, depending on the model. Longtime baseball players will know that metal or hard plastic spikes can wear down after a lot of play, especially if the player does a lot of walking on hard surfaces like concrete away from the field. Concrete is not kind to regular baseball cleats. But turf shoes are designed especially to deal with these hard surfaces.
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