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What are the best men’s softball cleats?

According to the Sports and Fitness Industry Association, over 1 million American men play softball. Fast-pitch and slow-pitch leagues are popular across the country. But like its cousin, baseball, softball requires the right equipment for both performance and safety.

Men’s softball cleats provide the traction to plant your feet as you swing for the fences, while also giving you ankle support for running the bases and fielding the ball. There are cleats designed for both baseball and softball that give softball players confidence and comfort. For its all-purpose functionality and sleek look, the best men’s softball cleats are the New Balance Men’s 4040 V5 Metal Baseball Shoes.

What to know before you buy men’s softball cleats

What is the difference between softball and baseball cleats?

Several key differences exist between softball and baseball cleats.

  • Softball cleats have a rectangular pattern while baseball cleats have a spread-out pattern that focuses on the toe spike.
  • Softball cleats have rounded studs in the front and are flat-bottomed, while baseball cleat studs are shaped like spikes.
  • Another important difference is softball cleats are designed for comfort, while baseball cleats are built for performance and traction.

The options for men to purchase softball cleats are limited. The majority of softball cleats are marketed to women. Baseball cleats remain the primary go-to shoe for male softball players.

How snugly should softball cleats fit?

You want cleats that fit tightly but don’t take away from comfort. A key gauge is to make sure your heel doesn’t move but that you can wiggle your toes. This delivers the traction needed for playing on the field while still allowing your feet to breathe.

What are the different cuts?

Low- and mid-cut softball cleats are the most popular. Low-cut cleats fall below the ankle and are the lightest and most maneuverable. Mid-cut cleats provide more ankle support but are slightly heavier to wear. There are some high-top cleats that have excellent ankle support, but they will limit the player’s ability to run and change direction.

What to look for in men’s softball cleats

Upper material

The upper is typically made from leather. Leather is durable, molds to the foot and is easy to clean. Leather can be hot and heavy though. For a lightweight option that breathes and promotes speed, synthetic uppers are also available in softball cleats.

Toe box

Toe boxes give room for the end of your foot to breathe and move. Softball cleats often have a more narrow toe box than baseball cleats. Make sure that your cleats are comfortable and give you space.

Stud material

Most softball cleats have studs made of rubber or plastic. They are durable and provide good traction. Metal studs are used in baseball cleats, but not all softball leagues permit metal cleats.

Ankle support

Softball cleats are not designed to support your ankles. If you run and slide, you’ll want to take precautions from rolling your ankles. Ankle braces may be helpful for people with weak ankles.

How much you can expect to spend on men’s softball cleats

Softball cleats are priced between $30-$150. Inexpensive cleats around $30-$45 offer basic designs with plastic studs and minimal padding. Mid-priced cleats between $45-$75 feature intricate designs, extra padding and longer durability. More expensive cleats feature leather uppers and designs associated with superstar players.

Men’s softball cleats FAQ

What are turf cleats?

A. Turf cleats are popular among softball players that play in all-day tournaments. They have thinner studs and lighter uppers for extra comfort. They still provide medium traction but are much easier on the feet over a long day.

Can I wear baseball cleats to play softball?

A. Yes, baseball cleats can be worn to play softball. Remember that metal spikes may be prohibited by some softball leagues. Baseball cleats may not be as comfortable as softball cleats over the course of a game.

Are there cleats designed for certain positions?

A. There aren’t cleats specifically made for a shortstop or right fielder, but the length of the spikes should be considered. Infield positions where the players are moving quickly on the dirt should use shorter studs to keep them from getting stuck. Outfielders should use longer studs to grip the grass and keep from falling.

What are the best men’s softball cleats to buy?

Top men’s softball cleats

best New Balance Men’s 4040 V5 Metal Baseball Shoes

New Balance Men’s 4040 V5 Metal Baseball Shoes

What you need to know: This shoe is stylish and functional for everything you need at the diamond.

What you’ll love: It features a kinetic stitch synthetic upper with TPU-coated yarn. A full-length midsole keeps your feet cushioned and the rubber sole delivers premium traction along with the metal studs.

What you should consider: They are more expensive than a majority of cleats.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Top men’s softball cleats for the money

best Under Armour Men's Harper 6 Mid RM Baseball Cleats

Under Armour Men’s Harper 6 Mid RM Baseball Cleats

What you need to know: This affordable pair of cleats features extra cushioning in a lightweight design.

What you’ll love: The mesh upper lets your foot breathe. It has TPU shields for protection in high-impact areas. The Ortholite sockliner compresses to fit your foot comfortably. The internal lacing system ensures a secure fit.

What you should consider: The sizes tend to run small.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Worth checking out

best Nike Alpha Huarache Elite 3 Turf Baseball Cleats

Nike Alpha Huarache Elite 3 Turf Baseball Cleats

What you need to know: These turf cleats are made for the long haul and have excellent comfort and flexibility.

What you’ll love: There is mesh interspersed for breathability. The Renew foam cushioning is light on your feet. A soft collar envelops the ankle, while the rubber studs grip tightly from the high-impact traction pattern.

What you should consider: The sizes run small compared to other Nike shoes.

Where to buy: Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

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Steve Ganger writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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