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Baseball Cleats Buying Guide

If you play on turf or plan on practising there, you'll need to buy a good pair of baseball cleats  to keep you from wiping out--and the same goes for muddy grass or wet concrete.  Baseball  cleats, which have a bunch of studs on the bottom of the sole, will help you better grip any surface.  Often made of treated, extra-flexible leather, these athletic shoes are also great for running around the bases with ease.  But with so many different styles and stud choices out there--metal, plastic and rubber to name a few--it can be tricky buying a pair that's best for you.  Your choice should hinge upon what type of surface you'll most often be playing on, along with your skill level.  Many children's leagues, for example, require rubber  or plastic cleats  to help avoid injury, while the college leagues and pros are all about the hard-hitting metal .  So to get you started on your search, we've put together a guide with some simple suggestions that will have you sliding into home in no time.

Types of Cleats

Detachable  

  • Studs can be removed and replaced with other stud designs.
  • Usually less durable than permanent cleats since the replacement creates a gap between the sole and the studs.
  • Save money because you can wear the plastic cleats for Little League and the metal cleats for other types of games.  Plus, you can replace the cleats on worn shoes instead of replacing the whole shoe.

Moulded 

  • Studs are permanently attached to the soles.
  • Typically made of plastic or rubber.
  • Cheaper than detachable cleats, but more expensive to repair.
  • The most common type of cleat for their simple, stable construction.
  • Can be worn on and off the field.
  • Required for most youth leagues.

Combination 

  • Use both metal and plastic cleats, as well as cleats of different sizes and shapes.
  • Best on extremely wet or muddy surfaces.
  • Best traction and control for moving fast on extra slippery surfaces.
  • Used in other sports, including softball and football.

Important Considerations

Before you purchase any baseball cleat, make sure you know your league's requirements.  Also inquire about the surfaces you'll be playing on, whether it be turf, field or otherwise.  After you've pegged down the essentials, you can then start thinking about some other critical characteristics of the perfect shoe for you.

  • Fit:  You want to ensure that your baseball cleats are comfortable above all else.  Your feet should rest firmly on the soles so that you are able to feel the ground and control your speed as you move and turn.  To avoid getting a pair that is too loose or too snug look for shoes that have buckle or Velcro straps.  These won't loosen like ordinary shoelaces might, and they can easily re-adjusted for your comfort level each day that may vary with temperature, injury, etc. 
  • Stud length:  You need to determine which length studs will work the best for you--varying lengths offer varying levels of stability.  Short studs work well on harder surfaces like super-packed grass or artificial turf, while long studs work best on soft soil since they allow you to sink into the ground for extra grip.

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