Shopping for the best softball cleats has only become more difficult over the past few years due to the increased number of options in the market. There have also been an increase in innovations in footwear technology, which has resulted in different types of cleats with distinct physical characteristics.
With this new technology and a variety of brands, there are dozens of options to choose from. With that in mind, we have compiled this comprehensive guide incorporating the top rated softball cleats for men and women who play any level of softball.
We’ve reviewed 6 Women’s softball cleats, and 4 men’s shoes that may work for softball or baseball.
Here are the 10 shoes:
Mizuno Women's 9-Spike Advanced Sweep 2 FastPitch Cleat
Mizuno Women's 9-Spike Swift 4 Fastpitch Metal Softball Cleat
Adidas Performance Women's Power Alley 2W Softball Cleat
Mizuno Women's Finch Franchise 5 Softball Cleat
Nike Women's HyperDiamond Strike Low Metal Softball Cleat
Mizuno Women's 9-Spike ADV Finch 6 Softball Cleat
Mizuno Men's 9-Spike Advanced Erupt 3 Softball Cleat
Under Armor Men's Leadoff Low RM
Adidas Men's Energy Boost Icon 2.0 Low Metal Baseball Cleat
Mizuno Men's 9-Spike Vapor Elite 6 Cleat
Types of Softball Cleats
Below we will review the two primary types of softball cleats on the market. The types are based on the material of the studs or spikes on the bottom of the shoe.
Metal softball cleats have studs with a blade shape and slightly rounded edges that ensure a firm grip. The studs can be pointed in different directions for superior traction during forward and lateral movements.
Elite players prefer metal studs due to the unmatched performance they offer. They are a good option if you want to get better grab when leading off from a base. These cleats are also good for batter's box as they prevent slipping with your swing.
On the downside, metal studs have a tendency to dig too much into the dirt, which can lead to an ankle or knee injury.
These cleats can be either plastic (TPU) or rubber, and have studs that are formed from the outsole. The stud number and arrangement used varies from one brand to another. Molded cleats generally have wider studs with deeper grooves for good traction.
Due to their increased safety, molded cleats are popular in youth leagues. They are also more comfortable than metal cleats. The main downside of molded studs is that they wear down faster. They also don't have quite as good of a grip in dirt, especially in softer conditions where good traction is difficult to find.
Other Factors to Consider When Buying Softball Cleats
Next, we'll dive into the structure and material that go into designing a softball shoe. Because softball is a high impact sport, the shoe is designed for durability and flexibility based on the player's needs.
Material and Fit
It is important to ensure that your cleats are made from a durable material and offer a comfortable fit. Many manufacturers use either leather or synthetic material for the upper part of the shoe. Leather is popular among competitive players since it is sturdy, lightweight and more flexible than synthetic material.
Most softball players lean more towards cleats with synthetic uppers as they allow for more advanced technology. This includes additional ankle support as well as reinforcement in the midfoot and forefoot. The downside to synthetic uppers is that they don't allow sweat to evaporate as well.
Toe drag is common movement, especially for pitchers. Your cleats will take a lot of beating during the season and as such, some kind of extra reinforcement is important. Some shoes will come with a toe guard, but you should consider your position and playing style to decide if you need this. Do you drag your toe when you throw or swing the bat?
The ideal stud length is often determined by how hard or soft the field is. Shorter studs are better suited for harder surfaces. Longer studs are good for wet dirt and muddy terrain. This is because long studs will dig deeper into the dirt and grass, thus preventing slipping and sliding.
The stud length chosen should also match the appropriate field position. Be sure to check with your league on requirements as well. Some leagues have a maximum allowed stud length for safety.
Weight and Stability
The weight of a softball cleat is often determined by the ankle height and outsole. If it is too light, a cleat can prove unstable. Look for a model that weighs around 10-11 ounces if you love playing in low-cut cleats. Aim for 12-13 ounces if you play in mid-cut cleats.
Keep in mind that studs placed along the edge of the outsole allow for extra stability. You can also opt for an ankle strap if you want extra ankle protection and stability.
Internal Padding and Ankle Support
The inclusion of extra insole padding plays a crucial role in protecting you from the impact of your studs. Most cleats have more padding than your typical shoe to make up for the hard exterior and the impact that the feet will take.
To support your ankles, aim for a mid-cut or 5/8 height cleat if you have a problem with overpronation. Higher tops that extend up the ankle provide added support, particularly during lateral movements.
On the other hand, mid cut cleats offer a higher level of support without sacrificing mobility. Low cut cleats allow full freedom of movement during cuts but sacrifice a lot in terms of ankle support. You can always buy a lower cut shoe, and get an ankle brace later if you feel unstable.
Best Softball Cleats for Women
1. Mizuno Women's 9-Spike Advanced Sweep 2 FastPitch Cleat
The Mizuno 9-Spike Advanced Sweep 2 offers a great combination of stability and comfort without sacrificing on performance. The cleat is specially designed for women and fastpitch softball. Its outsole gives your feet the serious traction required to make all kinds of softball moves. There is an built-in toe protector that helps reduce abrasion as well as wear and tear. Also featured is a parallel outsole wave that cushions your feet from impact. The padded tongue offers even more comfort.
Another notable feature is the molded cleats, which make this product ideal for use on hard ground and leagues where metal cleats aren't allowed. In addition, the 9-Spike Advanced Sweep 2 is nearly all synthetics and offers medium level ankle protection.
2. Mizuno Women's 9-Spike Swift 4 Fastpitch Metal Softball Cleat
The Mizuno Women's 9-Spike Swift 4 is one of the best fastpitch softball cleats on the market. It offers a nice combo of durability and comfort, while giving you great traction on the field. Highlights include a lace-up closure system and a padded “booty” tongue to ensure a snug fit.
The uppers have several small holes that help facilitate airflow. Mizuno also incorporates a mesh lining to facilitate improved airflow. The use of synthetic leather on the uppers means that the required break-in period is minimal.
These cleats have a full-length midsole with flawless cushioning and excellent support. At a little over 11 ounces, this is one of the lightest softball cleats you'll find. What's even better is that it is available in several color combinations.
3. Adidas Performance Women's Power Alley 2W Softball Cleat
The Adidas PowerAlly 2W boasts metal cleats and is available in a Thermoplastic Polyurethane version with molded cleats. Its sleek style is largely due to the synthetic upper with three stripes and a glossy shockwave pattern. Adidas uses a full length LITE STRIKE EVA midsole and an Ortho Lite sockliner to offer optimum comfort.
The iron skin toe cap and Adituff abrasion resistance in the toe help with added durability. There is an internal shank plate that provides mid-foot support. The shank plate also adds to the torsional rigidity, hence increased stability. As for overall performance, this cleat offers solid traction and good grip when running in bases.
4. Mizuno Women's Finch Franchise 5 Softball Cleat
The Mizuno Women's Finch Franchise 5 is a versatile cleat that can be on various surfaces. This is mainly to the inclusion of rubber studs. The cleat also features a synthetic leather upper and a full length midsole. The former helps extend the longevity of the cleat while the latter provides extra comfort. There is a decently padded tongue that does a good job of restricting entry of dust and grass into the shoe.
This shoe has molded spikes on the bottom. While they are irreplaceable, the fact that they are nine of them means that you are assured of a solid grip on the ground. Additionally, the Mizuno Finch Franchise 5 softball cleats come in two color combinations i.e. black and white as well as black and pink fusion.
5. Nike Women's HyperDiamond Strike Low Metal Softball Cleat
The Nike HyerDiamond Strike boasts a synthetic leather upper that considerably reduces the break-in period. It also helps reduce the weight of the cleat. The low cut design makes it easy for players to run fast on the field by providing negligible resistance. Another notable feature is the Phylon midsole, which is made of EVA foam pellets to provide sufficient cushioning. In addition, the midsole delivers a low to the ground feel. This ultimately protects the player from extra fatigue.
Lateral and rotational movement is achieved with an intuitive 9-cleat configuration on the TPU outsole. As the name suggests, this shoe comes with all metal cleats designed to give you the best traction, agility and speed. The main downside is that the low cut design may do more harm than good to players with ankle injuries.
6. Mizuno Women's 9-Spike ADV Finch 6 Softball Cleat
The Mizuno 9-Spike ADV Finch 6 is designed for women who love fastpitch softball. It comes with a synthetic leather upper that's comfortable breathable. Also included is a tongue that has extra padding for maximum comfort. Like other cleats on this list, this model has a full length midsole that gives you maximum padding between the heel and toe. It does a good job of reducing the cleat pressure, thus guaranteeing comfort throughout your games.
Another notable feature of the ADV Finch 6 is the 9-spike outsole, which also features ProFlex grooves. This ensures that you get superior flex and maximum traction on the field. The spikes have a unique layout that ensures optimum stability, comfort and traction.
Best Softball Cleats for Men
1. Mizuno Men's 9-Spike Advanced Erupt 3 Softball Cleat
The Mizuno Advanced Erupt 3 is a versatile softball cleat designed for men. It is the perfect softball cleat for someone who's on the market for outstanding and efficient reliability. The pro model spike configuration does a good job of reducing the overall weight of the shoe while the PU outsole provides added comfort.
A major highlight of this cleat is that it is constructed with a high quality Dynamic Synthetic Leather. This ensures a superior feel, comfort and breathability. Mizuno incorporates Parallel Wave Technology to provide extra support and stability. The fully contoured compression EVA footbed absorbs much of the shock and protects your feet from impact.
2. Under Armor Men's Leadoff Low RM
The Under Armor men's Leadoff Low RM is the right cleat for anyone who doesn't want to hurt every time they run to catch a ball. It features a synthetic upper made from a combination of nubuck and UA engineered leather. A mesh tongue helps with added breathability, thus keeping your feet cool and dry throughout your game.
The presence of an abrasion resistant toe guarantees you added protection from impact. It also provides longevity for the medial toe drag. These are probably the best molded softball cleats as they provide an excellent design for all players. Additional features include a full length midsole for cushioning and reduced cleat pressure.
3. Adidas Men's Energy Boost Icon 2.0 Low Metal Baseball Cleat
Taking the crown for best metal softball cleats is the Adidas Energy Boost Icon 2.0. Featuring the patented Boost technology, this cleat certainly has energy returning properties to help you take charged steps. It also incorporates Pebax + BZM8 plate construction for excellent torsional rigidity. The secondary TPU studs work together with the Protax cleat configuration to ensure minimal cleat pressure as well as excellent dirt penetration.
The molded counter heel offers added change-of-direction speed and stability. The upper is made from luxurious nubuck leather and features a tonal baseball stitch graphic. Another notable feature is the seamless ironskin toe cap, which helps protect your toe from abrasion and sustain your speed.
4. Mizuno Men's 9-Spike Vapor Elite 6 Cleat
The Vapor Elite 6 is one of the best Mizuno softball cleats and boasts premium construction with leather. It is a pro model spike that is designed for speed. It also features all metal cleats that provide added stability, traction and support. The mesh and synthetic leather overlays help with breathability, thus keeping your feet cool and dry all day. Mizuno uses parallel wave cushioning and an EVA footbed to ensure sufficient shock absorption.
Conclusion: Our Pick for Best Softball Shoe
There you have it – everything you need to know about purchasing the right softball cleats. Whether you are a fastpitch or slow pitch player, the models reviewed above will prove a good starting point. Just remember to choose a softball cleat that's both durable and comfortable. Also check your league rules to make sure you’re buying a regulation shoe.
Mizuno takes the prize in both our men’s and women’s categories. The best overall women’s softball cleat is their 9-Spike Advanced Sweep 2 Fastpitch Cleat. At a reasonable price, it provides a great combination of traction, comfort, mobility and support.
The 9 Spike Advanced Erupt 3 Softball Cleat is our pick for the Men’s category. It’s molded studs make it a great option for most fields. The show offers good support and durability for multiple seasons.