Softball Cleats

Written by Gregg Ruais
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Footwear companies have invented many styles of softball cleats. Options include leather or synthetic material; mid-cut or low-cut; and steel cleat bottoms, rubber cleats, or long, plastic cleats. Each selection has its strengths, and the right option depends on the athlete and the playing conditions.

Pros and Cons of Different Softball Cleats

Natural leather allows feet to breathe. Since softball is predominantly a spring and summer sport, a player's feet can get extremely hot and uncomfortable. When cleats do not allow air to pass through, athletes end up playing in sweat-drenched socks. While synthetic material is less heat-friendly, it does repel water. When playing in a light drizzle or on a dewy field, water-proof shoes help keep a player's feet dry.

Another option open to softball players is whether they want low-cut or mid-cut shoes. Low-cut softball cleats have less material and therefore are lighter, allowing for slightly greater running speed. On the other hand, mid-cut cleats provide better ankle support.

The reason players wear softball cleats is that they provide traction on surfaces on which stopping and accelerating is difficult, such as the grass in the outfield and the infield dirt. The most durable spikes are made of steel. Another high performing option is long, plastic spikes. The elite footwear companies design spikes so that they not only provide traction but also allow the athlete to pivot, a feature that prevents knee injury. When playing on artificial turf, the best cleats are short and rubbery.

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