Best Softball Cleats Reviewed & Tested for Performance
Softball is a fantastic past time and for many, a competitive sport that is played by kids and grown-ups all over America. Fast-pitch or slow pitch, there’s a game going on somewhere right now. Some players are wearing runners, football cleats or even soccer cleats to play the game. But you know better – the wrong cleats are like trying to pitch while wearing a catcher’s mitt. You know that all cleats are not the same and that running bases in running shoes can end in an ugly injury. You are off to a great start.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 17 hrs of research
Nubuck, Suede Upper
Durable Rubber Outsole
Double Stitched Overlays
- Adidas Wheelhouse 2
- Mizuno ADV Finch 6
- Mizuno Swift 5
- Nike Hyperdiamond 2
- Adidas Power Alley 2
- Adidas Freak X Carbon
- Under Armour Spine Glyde ST CC
- Mizuno ADV Erupt 3
- Mizuno Swift G2
- New Balance 4040v1
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Softball Cleats
1. Adidas Wheelhouse 2
Nubuck, Suede Upper
Durable Rubber Outsole
Double Stitched Overlays
This shoe is designed for either fast pitch or slow pitch. It features a cool camo pattern on the outsole and rubberized studs. It is a comfortable shoe that will perform very well on the field no matter what position you play.Read more
This shoe is designed with a three-quarter length midsole made of EVA to provide cushioning while maintaining a lightweight shoe. It also has an EVA insole for additional comfort.
The upper in the Performance Wheelhouse 2 is made of Nubuck leather that is double-stitched at the toe and heel overlays for extra durability. For a reasonable price, you get a comfortable and durable shoe with a unique look, reinforced to last through seasons of softball competition.
2. Mizuno ADV Finch 6
This is a fastpitch cleat with rubber studs from Mizuno, who has made athletic gear for more than 100 years. This shoe is endorsed by Jennie Finch as well. It is designed for comfort and durability no matter the field type. You’ll be able to perform at your best through all innings in this shoe.Read more
The full-length midsole offers maximum comfort for long hours of play or practice. Your feet take a pounding running all of those bases and these shoes will let you do that comfortably.
Rubberized studs are durable and softer than metal studs on cleats. They’re also permitted by all leagues and programs, leaving you worry-free.
3. Mizuno Swift 5
Mizuno Wave Cushioning
Padded Tongue & Collar
Metal Cleat May Not Be Permitted
Just like their predecessor, the Mizuno Swift 5 is ideal for fastpitch players, though it's best to check the rules to make sure metal cleats are allowed. These are outfitted with Mizuno's unique 9-spike pattern for maximum traction, keeping you rooted on the ground no matter how fast you play.Read more
When it comes to softball, traction is paramount. It allows you to be properly rooted in the ground, which is important for fastpitch as it allows you to have proper control when playing. These cleats are also designed for superior push-off for better acceleration, meaning you'll be outfield before the batter even starts to run.
As the name implies, the support system in the insole is wave-shaped to better contour to your unique foot shape. This allows for proper guidance and stability of your feet and works in tandem with the metal cleat for maximum push-off. It also provides strong cushioning and energy transfer which reduces the chance of pain and fatigue.
4. Nike Hyperdiamond 2
This low top pair of cleats is incredibly durable and allows you a great deal of movement. You’ll sail through the diamond in this should which offers enhanced traction as well, or sail through the outfield to catch that ball before it becomes a home run. Either way, you’re a winner.Read more
The solid rubber outsole on the Hyperdiamond 2 offers up enhanced traction so you can accelerate faster and move with greater stability. These are a game changer.
The low top nature of these cleats allows your ankle greater natural movement, making it much easier to turn at the bases or line up to catch the ball. Greater traction means greater performance.
5. Adidas Power Alley 2
ADITUFF Toe Section
Nubuck & Synthetic Upper
External Heel Clip
This is a shoe built for pitchers. It has metal cleats, so it’s for fastpitch games where the regs allow for metal. It has a number of comfort features along with the performance features of this pair of cleats. You really can’t go wrong in these cleats, pitch after pitch, you can concentrate on striking players out rather than on your shoes.Read more
The Performance Power Alley 2 comes with Adidas’ ADITUFF for great abrasion resistance at the toe, for pitchers with a lot of toe drag. This shoe will take the beating you give it and come back for more.
The Nubuck and synthetic leather upper is very comfortable and if that weren’t enough it also has full-length midsole cushioning, a moisture-wicking sockliner and textile lining to keep your feet comfortable play after play.
6. Adidas Freak X Carbon
Studded Carbon Frame
Shaped Heel Cup
Limited Long-Term Durability
Initially designed for football, the Adidas Freak X Carbon have found their way into the hearts of softball players, thanks to the breathable and supportive SPRINTSKIN upper, studded carbon frame and shaped heel cup.Read more
Unique to Adidas shoes, the SPRINTSKIN upper is a synthetic laminated material that, along with the mesh lining, work together to provide strong support without adding unnecessary weight or hindering breathability. Discomfort and poor temperature regulation can distract you from the game, so it's important to keep these things in check.
Owing to their name, the Adidas Freak X Carbon features a carbon fiber plate that extends from the heel to the forefoot to improve multidirectional stability. This along with the molded cleat outsole keep your feet stable and properly rooted on the ground.
7. Under Armour Spine Glyde ST CC
4D Foam Insole
Our third pitcher-specific fast pitch (metal studs) cleat, this shoe can only be described as tough. As an upgrade from the Spine Glyde, the SPine Glyde ST CC will stand up to all the drag you can give it, keep your feet stable and give you maximum torque and control. On or off the mound, you will have a hard time finding a better performance than this shoe.Read more
The lightweight synthetic upper on the Spine Glyde ST CC is already very durable. However, it also features an abrasion resistant toe piece that gives you extra protection to stand up to the drag.
The cleats feature a molded 4D Foam insole that forms to the shape of your foot. This prevents your foot from slipping in the shoe and increases your lateral stability. The outsole is meant to dig in to provide you torque and control.
8. Mizuno ADV Erupt 3
Aggressive Stud Design
Padded Tongue & Collar
Built with Mizuno’s relatively new, already famous nine spike design; this cleat is great for any field surface with its aggressive traction. This is a very comfortable softball cleat that is suitable for fastpitch or slow pitch.Read more
The outsole on the Erupt 3 features Mizuno’s ProFlex design which allows greater forefoot flexibility for control. As the name suggests, this allows for more eruptive power and acceleration for your very best performance.
This outsole features Mizuno’s nine spike design. The studs are GroundGrip designed for aggressive traction and control no matter the field.
9. Mizuno Swift G2
Trio X3 Design
Wave Tech Midsole
Strong Shock Absorption
The Swift G2 from Mizuno is dry, flexible, lightweight, durable, cushioning and stable. What more can you ask for from a cleat? Performance and this one delivers that in spades. This is a fastpitch cleat that will take great care of you so that you can deliver your best performance on the field.Read more
This is a different take on Mizuno’s nine cleat design. It has three trios of cleats, two in the forefoot and one in the back, that enhances your lateral stability and traction. You have a more stable platform for running, throwing and catching.
Along with Wave technology and ProFlex, the shoe contains a DryLite fabric liner to wick moisture away from your feet, cooling them down and leaving them in dry comfort.
10. New Balance 4040v1
Mesh & Synthetic Upper
These New Balance softball cleats are suitable for either slow pitch or fast pitch. It’s a shoe designed for pitchers but great for any player who wants a lightweight, durable and responsive performance.Read more
New Balance has given this cleat Toe-Protect rubber compound that reinforces the toe area and protects the shoe not only from the abrasion of toe drag but the elements as well.
These cleats are built with New Balance’s innovative REVlite midsole. The material provides premium durability and responsiveness in a shoe that is ultra-lightweight.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
In considering a pair of cleats, you should consider a set that is optimized for the position that you play. Different players have different requirements during play, and so their priorities will differ as well:
Cleats are not always the most comfortable shoes, but they should never be so uncomfortable as to cause damage or injury to your feet and ankles. Players have been known to wear multiple pairs of socks to deal with the discomfort that thin soles and cleats can cause.
Comfort features in a good cleat include:
Before you settle on any pair of cleats, you should be aware of your league’s rules. Many softball leagues (especially amateur and slow pitch), pitches and schools prohibit the use of metal cleats for safety reasons. Especially for children. Some pitches do not allow metal cleats for safety or full molded cleats because they tear up training pitches. However some high school, college and professional leagues allow for metal cleats.
The benefits of each cleat type are listed below.
Low-top or High-top? Low-tops may allow a player to run faster and are less restrictive. High-tops offer increased ankle support. If you have a prior injury, high-tops are probably a good option to help prevent re-injury.
Color choice - Many shoes are offered in a variety of colors that you can match to your team uniform. Some teams may even require that you purchase a shoe of a specific color. Also, darker colors show less dirt and scuffing than lighter colors, if they have a concern about showing wear.
Softball cleats need to be able to endure a lot of stress and strain. During the life of a cleat, it will be subjected to mud, rain, sweat, blood, and possibly even snow. As soon as the elements of a cleat start deteriorating, performance becomes heavily affected. As you can imagine, durability and performance are parameters that go hand-in-hand.
The durability of all kinds of shoes is mostly related to the material they’re built with; as well as, the manufacturing quality. Cleats are pretty much the same. Deterioration in your cleats can determine how much well you play. It also determines your potential risk of injury.
Each element degrades individually, but it’s equally important to understand the shoe degrades as a whole. This means every element should be in a similar state as the rest of them. If one element degrades much faster than the rest of the shoe, it will lose its quality and the potential usage the rest of the elements may still have.
Generally, the piece that degrades the fastest is the sole. This is no surprise, as it’s the part of the shoe that handles the most tension. Cleats are designed to provide comfort and protection to the foot. Put them under harsh conditions, however, and they’re not so good, anymore.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Whichever position you play during the game, it's important that your cleats help you perform the best possible.
Pitchers also should consider a low-top option to maximize their ankle movement, while those in the infield or outfield should consider metal cleats, which won't pick up as much debris.
Most cleats are either made from a combination of soft leather and synthetic, which make them quite easy to clean with a damp cloth, and soap. Simply wipe of any debris or mud from the field, and let the air dry.
Other Factors to Consider
There are several reputable companies making cleats. Avoid being tied to a brand name and look for a comfortable, well-fitting cleat that suits your needs instead. If you usually wear Under Armour but an Easton fits you better and suits your position, go for the Easton.
Feet are easily irritated and sometimes bruised during softball games. There is quite a bit of running, dodging and awkward movement that can be hard on the feet. Without the proper cushioning and design, not even the best cleats will keep you on top of your game for long. A poorly cushioned shoe may get you into the start of the game, but in the long run, will take their toll on your feet.
Don’t find yourself on the sidelines because of a poor quality or faulty pair. We carefully evaluated every single shoe reviewed in this article, and dug out their most unique features. We also let you know exactly how they earned their spot as one of the best softball cleats.
Remember, there are some aspects to consider when looking for the ideal pair of cleats. The first is whether the specific cleat is allowed in competition, and in what types of competition is it not if any. If you’re a competing softball player, it would be a poor choice to have obtained a pair of cleats not allowed in competition. You also want to consider whether they are supportive enough. How much they allow the ankle to flex versus how much support they provide for the ankle is a huge factor. Ask yourself what you need.
Think about how the build of the whole shoe should be and not just the cleats. Is the shoe constructed properly? There are also different types of cleats available. That makes yet another factor to consider. The age range and sizing are typical. Just make sure you know your size. Lastly, you must choose based on your specific style of play. Are you a pitcher? Do you typically slide bases? These are factors that come into play in the perfect shoe. Below we explain each factor, and how they are beneficial to you as a player.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Why shouldn't you use baseball cleats for softball?
There isn’t much of a difference except that some softball cleats are made of rounded rubber points which can be far more comfortable than the type found on baseball cleats. Baseball players generally do not use these types of points. The games are different so you would expect that the development of the rules and equipment would be separate as well.
q: How should my cleats ideally fit?
You want your softball cleats to fit a little tighter than regular athletic shoes to avoid having your foot move in the cleats. This helps your efficiency and also helps avoid blisters. Remember to leave room for your socks. Because cleats are usually thinly padded, players have known to wear more than one pair of socks with their cleats so make room for your second or even third pair if that is your preference.
q: Are cleat sizes the same as regular sneaker sizes?
Not necessarily. Different manufacturers make different sizes of their shoes, and none are standard. Your best bet is to measure your foot or have it measured by a professional like a podiatrist and then carefully read the sizing charts that manufacturers provide. Remember to leave room for those socks! Also, remember that you want a snugger fit than your sneakers.
q: Why are so many of these shoes black?
Black is generally acceptable to most teams and leagues and hides dirt and scuffs well. It’s also popular among players, so more manufacturers make more of them – supply and demand. Many of the manufacturers also make shoes to compliment team colors, and Adidas makes a shoe for kids that can change the color of the Adidas stripe on the side of the shoe. You could also dress up a black shoe with color by purchasing a pair of laces in any color or pattern you choose!
q: What does B(M) mean in terms of size?
This does not mean boys or men’s. It indicates the width of the shoes in two different measurement types. A or AA mean narrow, B is average or medium width, and C/D/E/EE are all indications of a wider shoe. N, M, and W mean narrow, medium and wide. What this means for a particular shoe can vary, so it’s always best to read the sizing charts.