The Difference Between Softball & Soccer Cleats

By Alex Mercer

November 6, 2019

Softball and soccer players who play sports year-round will want to interchange their cleats for each sport. Buying expensive cleats each season can become costly 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 prohibited in soccer games; only plastic spikes are allowed.

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

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 outside 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 evenly distributed throughout the cleat. As players step, whether in the batter’s 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
  • The cleats stay more rigid than plastic for a more extended period. 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 a former AAA pitcher talking about his experience with metal vs. molded cleats

Softball cleats with metal spikes have been great for athletes consistently walking on the hardtops. Dugouts, on-deck circles, and bullpens often 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

Soccer cleats differ from softball cleats due to their mobility. As mentioned above, the spikes on the cleat are entirely different. For a visual reference, here’s what a soccer cleat looks like:

soccer cleats

The Women’s Adidas Goletto VI FG W cleat is an excellent example of why this cleat is necessary for 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 consists of constant starting, stopping, and cutting. Having spikes evenly placed throughout the cleat will cause too much traction. Too much traction isn’t always an excellent thing for soccer players. Consistent stress on their knees throughout a game can have long-term implications.

soccer cleats

Especially now, with the artificial surfaces, we never want a cleat to get stuck in the ground. The bottom of the abovementioned cleat demonstrates why a soccer cleat is made specifically for soccer. A softball player, when batting, opens their front toe and spins off the back foot to swing the bat.

Too much traction on the outside of the foot will slow down the hip torque and not allow proper swing speed.

For this reason, we recommend having two different cleats for two other sports.

Wearing Metal Cleats For Soccer

Sports like soccer, football, and other semi-contact sports permit 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 skin vs. metal hitting the skin are two different types of contact. One will leave a bruise, and one can draw blood.

It’s essential to check with your league director to see if it’s permitted to wear cleats. Some leagues may allow it, but plastic cleats are the best option for soccer for the most part.

See Our Complete List Of Helpful Soccer Articles Here.

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.

Metal Cleats

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 to nothing.

Metal Spikes last longer because they’re more rigid and can withstand the consistent rattling of concrete. Metal spikes are also more evenly 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 a 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 Cleats

Plastic bottomed cleats are well-rounded for all sports. Plastic bottom cleats are the best bet if you’re looking for the best buying option.

They tend to wear down the more they’re worn on hard surfaces and in general. One benefit of getting plastic cleats is getting removable spikes. These spikes can be purchased, and new cleats can quickly be replenished to full traction in minutes.

This allows the player to change the cleats once the 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 be played 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 the harsh weather conditions if you purchase molded cleats and how often you’ll have to buy new ones.


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 save your wallet and 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.

About the author

Hey There! My Name is Alex and I run Get Hyped Sports. I created this platform to help people find their love for sports and gaming.

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