Gone are the days when you had only one type of baseball cleats to buy. There are a lot more choice these days, and it's not just for looks either. Molded cleats are one of the most popular options around. Check out our handy buyer’s guide to learn why these might be the right fit for you over other types.
We have also created a shortlist of the most comfortable molded baseball cleats available in 2018 online:
Molded Baseball Cleat Buyer’s Guide
Here we will break down the need to know's when looking for the right pair of molded cleats. If you are a softball player, see our reviews of the top 10 softball cleats for both men and women.
What are Molded Cleats?
These are baseball shoes with the cleats permanently attached to the sole. Plastics and rubber are the materials commonly used to create the cleats. They are incredibly stable and versatile and should offer a decent amount of grip on all surfaces. If you play a lot of muddy or soft conditions, molded cleats are the ones to pick. To better understand the pros and cons of molded baseball cleats, we need to take a brief look at the other types of cleats available on the market. Let’s do that now:
Other Types of Baseball Cleats: Metal, Turf, and Interchangeable
Along with molded cleats, there are two other main variations in the world of baseball cleats. There is also an interchangeable design, which brings the total number to three. They are:
Metal Cleats: If you take a good look at the shoes worn in elite and pro level baseball leagues, you will see these metal cleats the most. The metal can dig deep into the infield dirt as well as grass so that you will get the most traction with these cleats. But they can also lead to injuries, either through collisions with others or due to the extra grip during quick direction changes to the player. Metal cleats also tend to wear down fast on surfaces other than grass/dirt.
Turf cleats: the preferred option for training games or practice, these are probably the most comfortable baseball shoes around. Since they don't dig deep into the surface, they will not tear up any surfaces. On artificial surfaces like astroturf, these cleats offer superior grip when compared to the other types. On regular surfaces, they offer less traction though.
Interchangeable: with screw-on cleats, these shoes can be worn for different games. You get the choice to pick either plastic or metal cleats, depending on the playing surface and league rules. They are very versatile, but expensive as well.
What are the Advantages of Molded Cleats?
Affordability: there are many different types of plastics and rubber materials, with varying degrees of quality, durability, and price. So at the lower end of the market, you will be able to find some incredibly cheap and affordable molded cleats. These are especially suited for kids since they tend to grow out of shoes pretty fast.
Versatility: Molded cleats can work on pretty much any surface with a decent amount of traction on offer. The higher quality cleats have advanced TPU or other stiff plastic cleats, which give superior traction. The plastics are also much lighter than metal cleats.
Comfortable: The number of molded plastic cleats tend to be higher than metal cleats. This means that they offer superior weight transfer, so the pressure from your feet is more evenly spread out.
Durability: Molded plastic cleats can be worn on a wide range of surfaces including concrete and asphalt. So, unlike metal cleats, they will not get worn down quickly when worn off the field. This increases their overall durability.
Safety: Since they offer less traction than metal cleats, there is less chance of injuries during quick changes in direction while you move. Also, unlike the metal spikes, plastic cleats do not cause any significant risk of accidental injury to players from collisions during slides.
Legality: Molded cleats are allowed in all games and leagues, including youth leagues, unlike metal cleats. So unless you are competing at the elite level, molded cleats are the safest option.
Are There Disadvantages for Molded Cleats?
Molded cleats occupy a middle ground in the market. So there are significant disadvantages regarding performance when compared to metal cleats. But that will only be an issue at elite levels when everyone else on the field is sporting metal. Regarding turf conditions, molded plastic cleats can be dangerous when worn on artificial turf. They will not provide any traction on those kinds of surfaces. Otherwise, they are a very dependable and versatile option.
A former Major League Pitcher describes the difference between wearing molded and metal cleats.
What is the Difference Between Baseball Cleats and Soccer or Football Cleats?
Yes, and ideally, you should not try to use other cleats while playing baseball or softball. Baseball cleats are designed to work best for those unique movements you have to perform in the diamond, which is something you don't often find in other sports. In soccer, for instance, the pattern of the spikes are different, as you have to kick a ball around. So those cleats lack that toe spike, which is very important for extra traction while running in baseball. Football cleats can be used in baseball, but they are much heavier and will slow you down. So if you want to do well in the field, pick a pair of baseball cleats.
High Cut vs Low Cut Cleats
These are the two different baseball cleat styles, and the choice of design boils down to your personal preference and style of play. Low cut cleats are lighter and offer better performance for those quicker players. But you do run the risk of rolling your ankles in these. So if you have ankle issues, pick high cut cleats as they offer superior ankle support. But as they have to use more materials, they tend to be heavier. If you are a base stealer, these are probably best avoided
Other Features: Material, Studs, Toe
Shoe material: Leather is a traditional choice, and offer better breathability and comfort. But modern synthetics are more durable in wet conditions and require less maintenance and care.
Adjustable Stud Lengths: This should depend on your local playing surface. Shorter studs are better for hard surfaces, while longer studs will penetrate deeper and offer better grip in soft turf conditions.
Reinforced toes: a special requirement for pitchers, whose cleats have to deal with toe drag when they push off during the delivery of the pitch. Pick cleats with reinforced toe region if you are pitched. Otherwise, you will find your cleat toes getting worn out faster.
How to Select my Baseball Cleat Size?
Choosing your baseball cleat is similar to picking your regular shoes, but with some minor differences. For starters, you want them cleats to fit tight, and not relaxed like you would want with an ordinary pair of sneakers. If they are too loose, your foot will end up sliding around inside while you are running and switching directions. This can lead to uncomfortable blisters.
But there is one notable exception to this rule: kids. Since they tend to outgrow their shoes, you should ideally buy their cleats in a larger size. But don't go overboard! For optimum results, just pick a cleat that is half a size larger and not more.
The 10 Best Molded Baseball Cleats for Sale in 2018!
#1. New Balance Men’s 3000v3 Baseball TPU Cleat
These are very comfortable baseball cleats, made from soft textile and synthetics. They have a soft but durable rubber sole. The spikes are made from TPU, which is a durable blend of plastic and soft silicone, which offers better performance than natural rubber.
As these are toe protected cleats, they are an excellent option for pitchers as well. These New Balance cleats are very light, thanks to the inclusion of an ultra-lightweight foam at their midsoles.
The fit and finish look kinda premium, and these cleats run true to size. They are available in two colors, black and white, and in sizes ranging from 5 to 16 US. A common complaint with these cleats though relates to their width. If you have wider than average feet, these may not be the best choice. The heel area could also do with some redesign with regards to comfort.
#2. New Balance Men's PL4040V3 TPU Baseball Shoe
These are an all-synthetic pair of baseball cleats from New Balance. They share many of the core design characteristics with the NB 3000v3 reviewed above. So you get their special ultra-lightweight Revlite foam midsole, toe protection, and TPU cleats at the base, among other things.
But these models run marginally cheaper and are available in a few more combos or white and other colors, like royal blue, black, and red. On the whole, these are very comfortable shoes that look good on your feet.
They offer a better fit for wide feet and are recommended if your feet width is above average. Regarding fit, they tend to run a bit tight, so many users recommend buying them a half size larger than regular for best fit. Other than that, these shoes have no significant flaws.
#3.Under Armour Men's Leadoff Low RM
With a stylish pixel design, these black and white cleats from Under Armour succeeds in catching your eye. They are crafted from a combination of textile and synthetic materials. For extra traction, these shoes have rubber molded cleats on rubber soles.
These are very comfortable shoes, thanks to a mesh tongue design that improves overall breathability. And the addition of a soft polymer midsole adds to the overall comfort levels. The uppers are made from synthetic leather, which improves the support you get from these cleats.
Though there are no color options, these cleats are available in sizes ranging from 6 to 11 US(m). They are also incredibly cheap and offer excellent value for money. The heel area could use some more padding, but that is just a minor quibble. Regarding fit, you will need to buy at least half size large as these shoes tend to offer a very snug fit for most people.
#4. Adidas Performance Men's Wheelhouse 4 Mid Baseball Shoe
The gray tricolor camo pattern on the sole and cleats of this shoe catches your eye. So despite a sober grey shade, these shoes manage to look striking. Looks aside, these are very comfortable baseball cleats from Adidas.
The perforated uppers and mesh lining make these extremely breathable and comfortable on your feet. Extra cushioning is provided to the sole area using a soft polymer midsole. The sole and cleats are made of durable rubber or TPU equivalent.
The shoe material is all synthetic, which means it requires less maintenance and should work well in wet and muddy conditions. They are also very attractively priced, for a brand like Adidas. The sole low point is a minor one, regarding the fit. These shoes tend to run a bit tight, so you might have to buy them half a size larger for best results.
#5. Under Armour Men's UA Deception Mid DT Baseball Cleats
The Deception is a pair of very striking looking cleats from Under Armour, with a high cut design. Their highlight has to be the cleats, which have been named DiamondTips by the manufacturer. These are molded plastic cleats that offer traction comparable to metal cleats.
The full-length midsole offers a nice balance of comfort and firm feel. With extra ankle support, these cleats feel like a protective glove on your feet. The tongue is 3D molded and offers extra comfort with a very snug fit.
These cleats are available in solid/combo colors like black, red, white, and blue. Sizes available range from 7.5 to 16 US (M). These cleats are extremely well made, and offer excellent fit and finish. The only downside is probably the slightly high asking price.
#6. Nike Men's Vapor Strike 2 Low Molded Baseball Cleat
The Nike brand has a unique styling that is readily apparent in all their products, and these cleats are no exception. They are made from a premium combination of synthetics and leather. With a low cut design, they favor mobility and lightweight comfort.
The combination of a mesh collar, tongue, and perforations at the toe area improve overall ventilation and breathability. These make the Vapor Strike 2 one of the most comfortable molded baseball cleats on our list.
The cleats offer extra cushioning using a sock liner. For extra traction, the cleats have a special 12-cleat pattern. They are made from lightweight but durable TPU. The only major downside to these excellent Nike shoes is the fact that it runs very narrow and tight. So plan your sizing accordingly.
#7. Mizuno Men's 9-Spike Franchise 7 Low Baseball Cleat
These Mizunos have a very sober and mature styling, which work in their favor. They are available in a simple black-white or black-royal blue combination. The shoe is made from synthetic materials and has a synthetic sole.
The midsole is full length and made from soft polymers. The studs are rubber and provide decent grip and traction in most conditions. They have an advanced nine spike outsole design.
But since the whole thing is a one-piece design, you will have to break them in.
On the whole, these are affordably priced cleats that offer good value for money. They should last you a couple of seasons with ease. But regarding comfort, they are not on par with those other cleats like Adidas or Nike.
#8. Adidas Performance Men's Poweralley 4 Tpu Baseball Shoe
Like the other Adidas baseball cleats on our list, the Poweralley 4 also features the trademark diamond pattern perforations on the upper part of the shoe. With glossy stitch graphics, these cleats look attractive even in black and white.
The sole if rubber, while the cleats are TPU for durability and traction. For pitchers, the toe area has extra reinforcement with an Ironskin overlay. The inner linings are textile, which offers better breathability and comfort that synthetic polymers. The extra light midsole also improves the overall mobility of the shoe.
These Adidas cleats feature an internal shank which improves the support your feet get when rounding the bases. Available at a very reasonable price, these cleats offer excellent value for money. They have no major flaws.
#9. Mizuno Men's 9-Spike Franchise 7 Mid Baseball Cleat
The Mizuno Franchise 7 is a clear improvement on the other Mizuno cleats in our list. While that one offered an affordable yet unremarkable pair of footwear, the Franchise 7 more. Regarding looks, it retains the sober Mizuno styling which is not half bad.
But the real advantage lies in the padded collars, full-length midsole, and lightweight uppers. They all combine to make these cleats extra comfortable. The mid-rise offers extra support, as does the softer, more pliable sole. That sole is made from durable synthetic materials.
Overall the shoes look and feel very sturdy. The cleats have a very hardened feel and have a nine-spike design for traction. As these shoes tend to run slightly tighter than average, you might have to buy them half size larger. But the bottom is somewhat too soft, which means that you can feel the cleats through them. That can be an issue for some.
#10. Nike Huarache 2KFilth Men's Pro Baseball Cleat
These Huaraches do not disappoint as far as the looks department is concerned. They are incredibly stylish and are available in colors like red and blue. The shoes feature a blend of synthetic mesh and TPU. So you get a combination of breathable comfort and durability.
And since these cleats do not allow dirt to cling on to the surface, they don't need much cleaning after games either. The midsoles are lightweight, as is the case with most modern baseball cleats on the market.
But what makes these Nikes so comfortable is the inclusion of a Phylon foam layer at the midsole. They are available in sizes ranging from 8 to 15 US and are slightly expensive. But save for a tendency to feel a bit narrow at the sides, these Nikes have no major flaws.
Conclusion: Which Molded Cleats do You Buy?
There is very little to differentiate the top contenders in our list of the best-molded baseball cleats. But if we had to give one model the title of the most comfortable molded baseball cleats, it would have to be the Under Armour Deception. On to of being very plush, it is also the only plastic/rubber molded cleat on our list that has a traction comparable to metal cleats. And with a high cut design, they also offer extra support for your ankles. Combine that with drop dead gorgeous looks, and we have a clear winner here