So…you are in the market for cleats but have no idea where to start?
You aren’t alone…finding the best baseball cleats is not easy!
I mean if you head to any store and pick up two similar sized pairs of shoes, you’ll have a tough time figuring out which are lighter and/or better.
So what makes one pair better than the other? And of course – this question can vary between two very similar players with different needs.
In this article, i’ve tried to pick out the top models for cleats over the past few years.
I also explain what you should look for in the event you find yourself in the situation where you have no idea which to choose.
So let’s being with the updated 2018 list right off the top:
What's Included on this page:
1- Mizuno 9-Spike Swagger 2
One of the most popular sets year after year is the Mizuno 9-Spike series as it blends a nice combination of affordability, quality, brand, and performance. On this page, we have featured the 9-Spike Swagger 2 metal mid-sized cleats as we feel they are priced very well and still offer players quite a bit of advanced features to take their game further. Right of the bat, if you’ve ever played baseball before, you’ll feel quite confident in the Mizuno brand. They have been producing top level equipment for many different sports since 1906 and the cleats and other footwear they make are easily one of their specialties.
The Swagger 2 series features the ever popular 9-spike outsole that has been used for many years in Mizuno’s cleats. The outsole is all metal and provides the runner with a great amount of stability, and acceleration all over the field whether you are an outfielder trying to run down balls in the gap or are primarily a base stealer.
The 9-Spike Swagger 2 series uses Mizuno’s own ProFlex technology which provides additional flex for the front of your foot through numerous multi-flex zones. In other words, unlike in other cleats where you notice a slight delay in pivoting, you’ll experience this much less frequently using this model. For even more comfort, the Swagger 2 series also uses a fully padded tongue so that your feet are secure and comfortable as much as possible. Although some of the other cleats on this page may have additional advanced features, we feel the 9-Spike Swagger 2 series is perfect for the average player.
2- New Balance L3000v2
If you want speed and efficiency then the New Balance L3000 might be the right cleats for your game. As described on New Balance’s website, many athletes that have used the L3000 model feel like they are running shoes on spikes. As you are probably already well aware of, New Balance produces fantastic running shoes used by all levels of runners. Therefore it is quite a statement when you won’t even notice the cleat component when catching flies in the outfield or trying to achieve a quick stolen base. If you’ve ever used cleats before, you’ll often notice the feeling of the cleats digging into the ground so this is a substantial statement to make.
The L3000 cleats use a laser etched spike plate containing MLB-compliant 8-spikes on the outsole which in turn provides great grip and acceleration that is typically reserved for players at the higher levels. Outside of the great exterior what sets this cleat apart from the others is the use of New Balance’s FantomFit mesh and Nubuck upper. This combination allows for a nice snug fit feeling (almost like your foot is locked in place) but still allows for a higher level of breathability than expected. If you’ve ever played baseball in the dog days of summer, you’ll notice a huge difference when your feet have additional cooling. The form fitting tongue also helps keep your foot in place and provides a good amount of flexibility so you can make many quick moves in the field.
Although more expensive than the average baseball cleats, the NB 3000 series has many pro-level features that will surely improve your game. In addition, if you have wide feet or are purchasing for a player that has wide feet, the L3030 series are probably your best bet as they have many sizes like E and 2E available. You can check out our review for more.
3- Adidas AdiZero 5-Tool 2.5
On this website, we have provided overviews of the AdiZero 5-Tool series of cleats before. For the 2018 season, we have updated our list to include the 2.5 version of these excellent performing baseball shoes. Using MLB players in the design process, the Adidas AdiZero 5-Tool 2.5 baseball shoes are a blend of style, and innovation.
At 10.5 ounces, the AdiZero 5-Tool 2.5 series are the lightest from the table you see above. This is largely due to the SPRINTFRAME technology that Adidas has added to these cleats which modified the shape to ensure it was light but still effective on the field. Whether you are a base stealer or a defensive player having a lighter cleat could mean the difference in stealing the base, or making the ever important catch to save the game for your team.
Despite its lightweight there should not be any concerns about the quality. Adidas has a huge backing and constantly delivers in high-quality products from many sports. On the outsole, the 5-Tool 2.5 cleats use a PROTRAX 5×3 design to provide the runner with better traction against different surfaces. This design also helps in allowing the runner to accelerate easier and quicker and catcher up to those sharply hit liners. These cleats also promise to be comfortable as they include synthetic leather on the upper sole and an adjustable hook and loop strap for a more secure fit.
Available in many colors, they cleats should help you become faster and become a better player. Based on the reviews so far it seems like these are the top choice for players with flat feet. Click here to see a more detailed review.
4- New Balance L4040
New Balance is a company which takes tremendous pride in the products that they provide athletes. When most people think of New Balance, they think of the great footwear they make for runners, and walkers. However they also numerous excellent baseball cleats including the L4040v2 series that we look at on this page. We feel that these cleats make a great choice as they come from a great brand and provide a baseball player with lots of great features.
First and foremost, this series of cleats have been endorsed by Dustin Pedroia – the great second baseman for the Boston Red Sox. You can in fact pick up the same camo colors that he uses as well. Outside of the great pro endorsement these low metals cleats provide great support and comfort by using a full length REVlite midsole. The goal of these cleats is to make you a faster runner and hence they have also designed the outsole to be lightweight so that you can steal bases with ease. In fact, weight in at only 12.9 ounces, these are some of the lightest available!
Another great feature of the 4040 series is the placement of the tongue. Using a low profile, this tongue provides great flexibility allowing you to feel very little effort when you run. After all, we all know how it feels to where heavier uncomfortable shoes where the tongue is rigid and provides very little flex. We feel that the 4040 series from New Balance is a great choice to go with if you are looking for a quality brand, with many advanced level features used to make the game feel easier. One thing I noticed when looking on the feedback around these cleats was that one user had noted that as a pitcher he uses this model as well so for pitchers reading this article – these might be the ones for you!
A guide to finding the best baseball cleats
When evaluating cleats, there are several things to look out for when determining what a good pair of cleats are:
- Weight: Baseball is a game of speed. Whether on the defensive side or trying to steal a base, you need to get from one spot to the other quickly. Big bulky shoes make this difficult, but thankfully many of the top choices below feature incredible quick speeds.
- Comfort: As mentioned in our introduction, what you have around your feet will be their all game long. So choosing a pair that provide extra cushioning and offer additional ventilation are key.
- Price: We’ve tried to gear the comparison table below to include choices for all levels. For instance if you are a non-competitive player, you may not need a really expensive pair.
The different types of cleats
Baseball shoes have been used in the game of baseball for a very long time now. Their main purpose is to provide players with improved traction and grip out on the field. And as you can imagine, they have come a long ways. Thanks to technology they are not more durable, more comfortable and more position specific than ever before. When it comes to buying the best baseball cleats possible you will be surprised at the different options you have at your disposal.
It is very important you understand the advantages and disadvantages to using the different types of shoes available. So with this guide we are going to discuss the three main types which are metal, turf and molded. We will also talk about a less common type known as the interchangeable cleat.
Photo courtesy: homerunmonkey.com
Metal is by far the most popular type of worn by players at competitive levels. This is because they provide more traction than any other type. When you compare them to other types you will see they are the thinnest. Because of this they are able to penetrate the ground a lot easier. Metal cleats can be used on dirt and grass however you should avoid wearing them on turf and aren’t allowed in every league.
You will usually only see them worn in high competition leagues such as the major leagues, college and even some high schools. Check with your league to see if they allow players to wear metal.
Generally speaking baseball players will only wear turf shoes during practice or training. If you aren’t practicing on a field, you should be wearing turfs. This is because they are more comfortable and won’t tear up the training facilities like metal would. If you are playing in a slow pitch tournament style game, turfs are great for that as well. They give you the traction you need as well as the comfort to play all day during the tournament.
Molded cleats are made up of a variety of different materials. The material you get will depend on the price you are willing to pay. Low priced ones are for the younger players who will outgrow them rather quickly. They are also a little more forgiving which is great for players who aren’t that experienced. Higher priced molded shoes are usually made with rubberized plastic.
It is a lot stiffer than other forms of plastic. They are basically a step below the metal. Most players who wear this type of molded cleats are getting ready to transition to metal. Molded are more comfortable than turf or metal because they have a higher number of cleats that are spread out to different pressure points throughout the foot.
Last but not least lets talk about interchangeable cleats. Interchangeable cleats are just a mix between molded and metal. They are great for players who play in different leagues. Instead of having to buy two pairs you can just have one that can be changed based on where you are playing.
As you can see on in this forum (for runners), many admit to using numerous pairs of running shoes. Although cleats won’t go through as much strain as running shoes, it is still quite important to look for a pair that can withstand the field and provide you with additional performance benefits.
We hope you have enjoyed our look at our list of the greatest choices when it comes to baseball cleats available for 2018. If you have any suggestions on ones you have used and like more, feel free to contact us to let us know what we are missing!