Softball and soccer players, who tend to play sports year round will want to interchange their cleats for each sport. Buying expensive cleats each season can become expensive for players. Soccer and softball players may be able to save money on cleats.
The difference between softball cleats and soccer cleats is the metal spikes. Metal spikes are not allowed in soccer games, only plastic spikes.
We’re going to break down the difference between softball and soccer cleats and how you can save money.
What’s The Difference Between Softball & Soccer Cleats?
Softball cleats and soccer cleats are a bit different in style, but essentially serve the same purpose, to provide traction to the athlete to generate force from the ground-up.
Softball cleats are designed to have longer spikes on the outside of the foot, as players will often be using hip torque to hit and throw the ball.
Above is a women’s Mizuno fastpitch softball cleat. As you can see, the spikes are even distributed throughout the cleat. As players step, whether it be in the batters box or throwing the ball, we want the front foot to pivot to make an effective throw. The even distribution of the spikes will help generate power from the ground.
Softball cleats are designed with the athlete in mind. Another major difference is the metal spikes instead of the plastic round spikes. Metal is great for a few reasons:
- Digs deeper into the ground for better traction on certain surfaces
- Stays more rigid than plastic for a longer period of time. Plastic will wear down and sometimes snap off if a considerable amount of contact is made.
- Players will feel more bounce on an elevated surface, helping them propel off the mound when pitching.
Below is a video of former AAA pitcher talking about his experience with metal vs molded cleats
Softball cleats that have metal spikes have be great for athletes that are consistently walking on the hard tops as well. Dugouts, on deck circles and bullpens often times have concrete surfaces near the bench.
Using molded cleats on this surface, will consistently scuff the plastic mold and wear down the overall value of the cleats. Cleats that don’t provide efficient traction are useless for the athlete.
Soccer cleats differ from softball cleats, due to the mobility. Mentioned above, the spikes on the cleat is completely different. For a visual reference, here’s what a soccer cleat looks like:
The Women’s Adidas Goletto VI FG W cleat is a great example of why this cleat is necessary for the sport of soccer. If we look at the bottom of the cleat, we can see how all the spikes are molded and are mostly placed on the exterior of the cleat.
Soccer consist of constant starting, stopping and cutting. Having spikes evenly placed throughout the cleat will cause too much traction. Too much traction isn’t always a great thing for soccer players. Consistent stress on their knees throughout the course of a game can have long term implications.
Especially now with the artificial surfaces, we never want a cleat to get stuck in the ground. The bottom of the cleat shown above demonstrates why a soccer cleat is made specifically for the sport of soccer. A softball player when batting opens their front toe and spins off the back foot to swing the bat.
Having too much traction on the outside of the foot will slow down the hip torque and not allow for proper swing speed.
For this reason alone, this is why we recommend having two different cleats for two different sports.
Wearing Metal Cleats For Soccer
Sports like soccer, football and other semi-contact sports permit the use of metal cleats for injury purposes.
For example, slide tackling an opponent is a great way to steal the ball from an opponent. Plastic hitting the skins vs metal hitting the skin are two different types of contact. One will leave a bruise and one can draw blood.
It’s important to check with your league director to see if it’s permitted to wear cleats or not. Some leagues may allow it but for the most part plastic cleats are the best option for soccer.
Metal Or Plastic Cleats?
We laid out a good amount of the differences between metal and plastic cleats. In our expert opinion, there are pros to both metal and plastic spikes.
As mentioned metal cleats typically tend to last longer than plastic spikes. When plastic spikes are consistently walked on pavement or concrete, they will be scraped down to nothing.
Metal Spikes last longer because they’re more rigid and can withstand the consistent rattling on concrete. Metal spikes are also more even distributed throughout the foot to give a more balanced-feel throughout the shoe.
The downside of the metal spikes is they can be used in such few sports, mainly softball. Other sports don’t allow the use of metal spikes, so if you’re looking for a seasonal cleat and don’t mind spending the money, the metal cleats are a great option
Plastic bottomed cleats are well rounded for all sports. If you’re looking for the best buying option, plastic bottom cleats are the best bet.
As mentioned they do tend to wear down the more they’re worn on hard surfaces and in general. One benefit of getting plastic cleats are getting removable spikes. These spikes can be purchased and new cleats can easily be replenished to full traction in the matter of minutes.
This gives the player the option to change out the cleats once they original plastic has been worn down.
Most players will opt for molded cleats, which brings us to the downside of the plastic bottom cleats. Once they are worn down, the cleats are essentially useless. Sports like soccer will play in the rain/mud and disregard weather conditions. This will have a tremendous impact on the longevity of the cleats.
Summer sports like softball will cancel games if it’s raining so these cleats also tend to last longer. Be cautious of how harsh the weather conditions are if you purchase molded cleats and how often you’ll have to buy new cleats.
Best Cleats For Both Soccer & Softball
If you’re looking for a cleat for both soccer and softball, we’ve found some available options that will help you in your decision making. There’s a few key points we looked it when building our list:
- Price Points – The most important factor, as we’re all not made of money
- Type – We’re going to provide both metal and plastic options. This way you’ll be able to decide whatever cleat best fits your situation
- Overall Comfort and Longevitiy
Mizuno Women’s 9-Spike Advanced Sweep 3
The shoe is priced anywhere from $45 and on. What’s great about this shoe is has Wave technology which provides cushioning and stability to the foot. It weighs 10.1 oz which is pretty light for a cheaper cleat.
It also has 6 different color schemes to choose from including red, white, blue and green. This is a great cleat if you’re not looking to break the bank.
Check out the shoe here with purchasing options
New Balance Women’s Velo V1 Metal Softball Shoe
The new balance Velo V1 is great because, for those who know how comfortable New Balance shoes are, the cleat is just as comfortable. This cleat has a fresh foam insole which is comfortable to wear before during and after the game.
The cleat is pretty pricey at $90 compared to our previous shoe, but if you’re concerned about comfort and have a durable shoe, you can never go wrong with New Balance.
The New Balance Velo V1 can be found here on Amazon.
Plastic Molded Cleats
Nike Women’s Hyperdiamond 2.5 Keystone
This plastic molded shoe is great for a duel purpose cleat. If you’re looking to wear this during softball and soccer, you’ll be able to get multi-use from this style of cleat.
Made from synthetic leather and TPU mesh, it has supreme durability. The stylish cleat also comes in 2 other designs including a flashy red design. The clean varies from $30 all the way to $90 depending on size.
Shop the Nike Hyperdiamond here on Amazon
Adidas Women’s Icon Bounce TPU
The Adidas Women’s Icon Bounce TPU is a textile and synthetic cleat that has bounce cushioning which provides comfort and flexibility throughout the game.
The cleat is great for multi-purpose use and is built to handle any position on the field. The Women’s Icon Bounce TPU can be found here on Amazon.
Can you play softball with soccer cleats? Yes you can. However if you’re looking to maximize your performance and keep the longevity of the cleat (at least a year), it’s best to have different cleats for different sports.
This will ultimately help to save your wallet, as well as keep the cleat as conditioned as possible for the entire season. Purchasing multiple cleats as a player gets older is mandatory, however making smart decisions by buying a multi purpose cleat can help in the long run.