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It can be a daunting but exciting moment when you realize you need some new shoes for your sport. The anticipation after plenty of research looking in magazines to looking at shops online. However, nothing will come close to going into the store getting a feel of the shoe, and making sure you have made the right decision. There is nothing worse than as a sports player to put on your new cleats and for them to feel uncomfortable or just downright wrong for what you want; it means you have to start the process all over again.
This feeling is the same across all sports from football to basketball but what many people wonder is, is there a real difference between soccer and baseball cleats? Many will feel you can “get away” with wearing the different sports cleats but they would be wrong. There are quite a few important differences between the different cleats and you will want to avoid making the mistake of purchasing the wrong shoes for your sport.
So what do you need to look out for when purchasing the right cleats for either soccer or baseball?
The difference between the two types of cleats is with the grip underneath the cleats. Both have gips but baseball has an extra stud at the front tip. Soccer cleats can also have different grips depending on what surface you play on. Although you can still play the two sports in the same cleats it is better to play in the correct cleats.
Are soccer cleats and baseball cleats the same thing?
Despite looking very similar on the outside, the cleats are quite different. They may follow the same style with certain cleat exteriors (technology has advanced from traditional leather cleats) and studded bottoms when both sports are playing on grass but they are different types of cleats. However, you can still play in the different cleats but there is a difference and you will feel it especially using baseball cleats for soccer.
The cleats are transferable as both do have studded bottoms, however, if you want to keep playing for longer and at a higher level you need to invest in the right cleat for your sport. In baseball, you will be able to wear the soccer cleats for training and playing on a weekend (at a low level) for a while but if you play or train more often than once a week you will want to invest in the correct cleats.
You can acquire certain cleats that are similar to each other. Both sports have different categories that their cleats can fit into and both are very similar. In soccer, different cleats are required for different surfaces such as firm ground turf, soft ground turf, artificial turf, and indoor. Whereas, baseball cleats fit into the category of metal studs, molded plastics, and cleats for artificial turf.
For example, the metal studs used for firm ground soccer turf would be the same as the metal studs used either in the diamond or out in the grass for baseball. The same can be said for soft ground in soccer and molded plastics, the two styles can be used for both grass fields but also on some artificial surfaces which can be common in soccer especially in Eastern Europe.
The cleats also share a similar exterior casing. For example, some cleats might have leather, knitted, or synthetic exterior depending on the fit and feel a player wants when they are out on the field. The cleat can change in how they feel in weight and that ultimately affects the grip of the cleat in your foot rather than the grips on the bottom of the foot.
This means that you can wear the different style cleats for the different surfaces and be able to still perform to a standard but there are some differences you have to be aware of as it might affect your game.
What are the differences between soccer and baseball cleats?
So, as stated there are several similarities between the two sports cleats and how they can be used in their respective sport. However, it has also been stated that there are differences and how they help with the different sports.
The main difference between the soles of the cleats is the studs. The studs vary between the two sports and they are laid out in a different formation to each other. Specifically the top stud in baseball. This is where it can become problematic to switch cleats for each sport. If you wanted to use soccer cleats in baseball then fine but vice versa there would be an issue. The top stud in soccer is not allowed because of health and safety, if players had the top stud they would be causing serious damage because if they went in for a tackle and went over the ball. The top stud would hit the opposition player directly on the ankle and leave them in a serious amount of pain.
The top stud on a pair of soccer cleats is lower down and more in the balls of the feet. The reason for this is because baseball players need the top stud for grip at the top of the foot whereas soccer players need it in the balls of their feet for movement and maneuverability around the soccer field. Baseball players need it in the top so they can move off the spot quickly, hence why they only have three studs at the back of the cleat compared to the four at the back in the soccer cleat. The baseball player needs to move quickly to get between each base and the soccer player needs a firm grip on the pitch to control the ball and manipulate the ball.
It is common for baseball players to have more grip in the ankle than soccer players. Although players do need grip in their ankles and there are many more cleats becoming available that have synthetic ankle supports, baseball cleats require firmer support in the ankle for quick movement as their movement is very quick and rapid.
Normally, a baseball cleat is a lot heavier than that of a soccer cleat, and especially with more synthetic materials being used in soccer cleats that is certainly true. Soccer players are favoring lighter cleats when they are playing because they want to feel like they can move quicker, it is very common for wingers to wear synthetic cleats. However, baseball cleats are getting closer to soccer cleats with the softer material moving away from the customary leather ones.
Another quite common thing is that baseball cleats are a bit longer than soccer ones. This is designed so that players feel like they have an extra advantage when they are trying to steal a base and get that vital toe in safe before the umpire calls them out. It also makes for a more comfortable cleat.
All soccer cleats can offer a player much different styles of grip and no matter what cleat that has been produced by the likes of Nike, Adidas, Puma, Sondico, New Balance, or any other cleat producer can feature the sole a player needs.
Firm Ground cleats
Firm-ground cleats are the most popular type of cleats because they offer the ultimate grip for a player on all surfaces. Playing at a lower level can mean that the surfaces are uneven and sometimes quite poor, using a firm ground style cleat with metal studs means you can fully grip yourself into the grass and play your natural game. So no matter if it is hard in the summer from dryness or hard in the winter from freezing conditions, firm ground is the way to go.
The studs can come in different styles as well. They might come in the rounded style that you can often see on baseball cleats which offer better mobility and a quick release from the ground or they may come in a bladed fashion that can offer better traction because they can cover a larger surface area. When it comes to blades you do not have to tighten them and have the fear of losing a stud.
Soft Ground cleats
Soft ground cleats are perfect for places with unpredictable weather and ones that lots of rain because they are able to grip into the wet surfaces. They are usually made out of aluminum studs and there are usually just six studs, four at the front and two at the back. However, many cleat producers are promoting a more firm ground distribution of studs but with soft ground studs as this is giving the player much more grip on the soft surface.
When a player uses soft ground cleats, they a showing they are willing to play in the wetter season and ready to get down and dirty.
Artificial ground cleats
The artificial ground cleat can vary because of the different artificial surfaces. Traditionally artificial surfaces would be the use of astroturf covered with sand, so studs would not provide any grip and if anything would cause the player damage as the ankle would be left vulnerable. So on the astroturf surface players use a sole that has a full grip with either a full coverage of small rubber stud-like bumps on the sole so that you have a lower profile on the pitch but still enough grip to the astroturf.
With new modern 3G pitches, players are still favoring using the astroturf cleats mentioned but some are favoring using the soft ground cleats as the new 3G pitches offer players the ability to put their feet into the ground and establish more grip than you get on an astroturf pitch.
Like soccer cleats, the metal-studded cleats do offer the most support and grip on a pitch because they are designed to go into the grass. The studs are slightly longer in baseball than they are for soccer so with the metal studs you will not get any dirt or gravel stuck in between them, which can be a Godsend when you are cleaning your cleats!
Metal studded cleats
The metal-studded cleats are best for basemen, shortstops, and runners because the metal studs are able to give you more speed and maneuverability than the alternatives. However, with the metal studs, many players can actually injure themselves with sudden movement because the grip is so good on them but this is only when a player can be quite drastic with their movement.
Molded plastic cleats
Just like soccer, the baseball cleats for soft ground use molded plastic cleats, and they are designed for those really soft or wet fields. Many players use these in the outfield on the grass when it has been raining. Whereas soccer players want to stay gripped to the ground, baseball molded plastic cleats offer extra bounce for the player. This can be extremely useful, like stated, in the outfield when a player needs to catch a ball that might be above them.
The great thing about the plastic cleats compared to the metal cleats is that you can use them on all surfaces including concrete and they will not wear down. They may not offer as much support on the harder surfaces but they are a great alternative to the studded cleats that players favor in the warmer months.
Players favor the molded cleats in the months where rainfall is heavy and that is traditionally at the beginning of the season when the rain can be non-stop at times.
Artificial turf cleats
The artificial surface cleats follow the same style as soccer with the small rubber studs on the bottom of the sole leaving no area without one so that there is grip on the surface.
These cleats can certainly be transferable as players usually use these for training and save their studded or molds for their game. However, if you wanted to wear your baseball cleats to soccer practice you might struggle to control the ball as much as you wanted to because of the lack of striking area found in a soccer cleat on the top of the foot.
Should I buy different style cleats?
In conclusion, the best thing you can do is to make sure you are buying the correct cleat for the sport that you play. You might be able to transfer them and still be able to feel comfortable when you play but as has been demonstrated in this article you will perform to your best ability if you have the right cleat for either baseball or soccer because the designers have added the specification that is needed.
With the extra weight in the cleats and different types of players wanting different synthetics from their cleat material, you are always best going for the right cleat that is for that sport.