Gone are the days when multi-sport athletes could save money buying gear and wearing it in all their sports. Now, it is important to have special gear for each sport. The different gear starts at the top and goes all the way to the bottom. In some cases, athletes will not be allowed on the playing field.
One of the most important considerations for any sport is to wear proper footgear. It may seem like cleats are all the same, this could not be farther from the truth. There are different cleats for sports that are played on fields. The cleats are designed for those specific sports. For example, soccer cleats do not have cleats at the toe because that could injure another player while kicking the ball.
Soccer Cleats 101
Along with the missing toe cleat, soccer cleats are also designed for the different types of fields. Soccer cleats have been designed for fields that are made of firm ground, soft ground, artificial ground or turf, and for indoor hard courts. The most durable cleats are those that are meant for hard ground, because they need to be durable for ground that can be wet or dry. They also work well on other fields, like artificial turf.
Soccer cleats are significantly lightweight simply because of all of the running that soccer players do. Therefore, the most desirable types of cleats are made of leather, especially kangaroo leather or calfskin. There are synthetic options that are also lightweight, but they do not conform to the foot quite like the leather options do.
Baseball Cleats 101
Baseball cleats are very different from soccer cleats. While soccer cleats can be used in baseball, baseball cleats cannot be worn on the soccer pitch. The difference that keeps baseball cleats out of soccer is the fact that the baseball cleat has a special cleat at the toe. This cleat is not there to intentionally harm defenders who are covering their bases, but to help base runners get a good grip on the dirt when they are running the bases. Unfortunately, soccer officials do not feel that the toe cleat will help soccer players, so they will check cleats prior to a game and anyone with a toe cleat will not be allowed to play.
Like soccer cleats, baseball cleats are designed for the field of play, too. Cleats come in special designs for playing outside on a traditional dirt and grass field and they come in a style designed for playing on a field made of turf. Also, like soccer cleats, baseball cleats are available in synthetic materials as well as in real leather. The least expensive options are synthetic cleats, which are an ideal material for children with growing feet. Serious baseball players can invest in the more expensive leather cleats that are incredibly comfortable because they quickly conform to fit the wearer’s feet.
Baseball cleats also come in different styles: high (like those pictured to the left), mid, and low cuts (which you can see on our cleats reviews page). Soccer cleats only come in low cut due to the fact that soccer players need to be able to get the most out of their entire foot and especially the inner arch for moving the ball. High-cut baseball cleats provide support for players who are not the best runners; these are usually players like the pitcher, catcher, and corner infielders. There are also mid-cut shoes that are just good choices for any player. Players who really enjoy stealing bases and need to be speedy in the outfield do well with low-cut shoes because they allow for the most flexibility. Low-cut shoes weigh less than the other styles, which also aids in speed.
Like soccer cleats, it is easy to find baseball cleats with different types of cleats. Metal cleats are used by high school players, collegiate players, and professionals. They are also used by amateur players who are no longer in college or high school. Baseball players who have not yet reached high school age wear molded cleats because of the fears of injuries from sliding into defensive players on the bases. When young players cleat defenders on the bases, it does not hurt as much. There are also cleats that have removable individual cleats; these can easily be adjusted or removed based on the type of field.
There are also cleats designed for different position play. Pitchers usually need to have cleats that have slightly reinforced toes. Their back toes often drag on the mound which causes the toes of the cleats to wear out quickly. Since infielders run on dirt, they often have cleats with short spikes because they do not need as much grip to run on dirt. Outfielders spend their time in the grass, so their cleats usually have longer spikes. This helps prevent slipping on the grass, especially if the game is earlier in the day and the grass is still wet with dew. Baseball players who spend their time on artificial turf can play in regular athletic shoes, but many of them will play in baseball shoes with soles specifically designed for turf. These do not have spikes, but they have molded soles that allow for safe running on the artificial grass and dirt.