While the origins of baseball remain uncertain, it is undeniable that it is one of the most popular sports of today. And why not? With every strike of the bat and every home run, the game is as adrenaline- pumping for the players on the diamond as it is for the spectators from the stands.
Given the sport’s popularity, it is no wonder brands flock to baseball stars for product collaborations. Over the years, star athletes have aided brands to skyrocket to fame.
And the collaborations are not just a popularity contests.; brands also aim to develop technologies that make the cleat more effective.
One of these brands is Adidas. Over the years, the Three Stripes has partnered with top athletes like Aaron Judge, Kris Bryant, and JD Martinez. While these partnerships have boosted Adidas’ popularity, the brand did not slack off in terms of cleat technology. The German brand has made sure their cleats’ performance exceeds expectations. Boost, Bounce, and Sprintskin are just some of the brand’s most popular and well-praised innovations.
History of baseball cleats
What started as a request from King Henry VII in 1526 welded itself into history as one of the most sought-after footwear in the modern era. Cleats have come a long way since the basic leather shoe that holds studs. Since its rise from Paul Butler’s do-it-yourself cleats in the 1860s, several brands have begun to develop cleats that are well-suited for the diamond. Still, it was not until the 1880s that Waldo Claflin developed official baseball cleats.
Over the years, improvements were made by brands without straying too far from the original design. Perhaps one of the most significant changes in cleat construction was in 1976. It was during this year that Major League Baseball banned the use of sharp metallic spikes, which are similar to the ones used for golf, to avoid injuries. As of today, different brands are still coming up with different technologies that are aimed at improving performance.
Adidas baseball cleat technologies
To stay relevant, the Adidas brand has made sure to be one of the leaders in footwear innovation. Throughout the years, the brand has created performance-enhancing technologies that are not only applicable to baseball cleats but a slew of other shoe types, as well. Here are some of these technologies:
To bring responsive cushioning into footwear construction, Adidas has created Boost. Applied in several different shoe types, including soccer cleats and basketball shoes, Boost technology is built from heat expanded TPU capsules. This setup helps create a lightweight feel while maintaining a one-piece construction. Additionally, this technology also aids in amping shoe responsiveness, doubling energy return. The Adidas baseball cleats with this technology include the Adidas Boost Icon 4 and the Adidas Icon 5 baseball shoe models.
Not far from Boost technology and designed for a soft and responsive cushioning is Adidas' Bounce technology. While it is a tad firmer and a bit heavier than Boost, this innovation delivers a more stable stride as well as heel strike. The Adidas baseball cleat with this innovation includes the Adidas Icon Bounce 5 Bounce.
Inspired by the lightweight but sturdy construction of bridges, Sprintframe technology acts as midfoot chassis. This setup provides a low to the ground feel while providing support and stability for the wearer. The Adidas baseball cleat models with this innovation include the Adizero Afterburner V model.
Specifically designed for baseball movements, this lightweight plate configuration includes a total of eight metallic cleats which dig into the dirt. The forefoot features five spikes with a toe stud. Three spikes are also featured in the heel area, as well. The Adidas model that has this type of plate includes the Adidas Icon 5 Bounce.
This innovation has been developed by the Three Stripes to reinforce high abrasion toe area. The models that have this element include the Adidas Icon 5 Bounce and the Adidas Adizero Afterburner 5.
A usual feature among football cleats also, TPU is a highly durable material which also maintains a lightweight feel. So, it is unsurprising that baseball cleats have also adapted this element into its construction. The Adidas model with this outsole type is the Adidas Icon 5 Bounce TPU.
Over the years, the brand has partnered with top athletes in the diamond. These collaborations have led to some of the most noteworthy creations that drive performance on the field. Here are some of the athletes that are sponsored by the Three Stripes:
- Aaron Judge. Aaron Judge serves as the outfielder for the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball. The Adidas brand created several models for the outfielder. These include the Adidas Boost Icon, Adidas Icon Bounce 4 and the Adidas Icon Bounce 5.
- Alex Bregman. The baseball infielder for the Houston Astros, Alex Bregman has been in collaboration with the Three Stripes for Adizero line. The models known to be worn by the athlete includes the Adidas Adizero Afterburner 5 and the Adidas Adizero Afterburner 6.
- Kris Bryant. The Chicago Clubs outfielder and third baseman, Kris Bryant has been getting an ace cushioning and performance from Adidas’ Boost technology and the brand’s Icon line. The models that the player wears include the Adidas Energy Boost Icon and the Adidas Boost Icon 4.
- J.D. Martinez. The outfielder and hitter of the Boston Red Sox have played using the Adidas Icon Bounce. Prior to the player's current team, he has also played for the Houston Astros, the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Detroit Tigers.
- Carlos Correa. The first to be selected for the 2012 MLB draft, the shortstop for the Houston Astros also sport Adidas cleats. The models sported by the Puerto Rican athlete includes the Adidas Adizero Afterburner 5 and the Adidas Adizero Afterburner 6.
- Xander Bogaerts. The Boston Red Sox’s “The X-Man” has been working alongside the German-brand as well. The models he sported include the Adidas Adizero 5 and the Adidas Afterburner 5. This professional baseballer shortstop made his Major League debut in 2013.
- Trea Turner. The Washington Nationals shortstop is also wearing the Adidas Icon 5 Bounce. Selected for Major League Baseball in the draft of 2014, the athlete has been considered as one of the fastest runners in the MLB with a clock speed of 22.7 miles per hour.
Baseball player positions
The player positions in the diamond include:
- Infielders are the players' posts in one of four infield positions in the diamond. These include the first base, second base, third base, and the shortstop. For the players in the infield, it is ideal to go for metal cleats as the ground is compact and dense. Metal cleats do not readily collect debris from the field, making it easier for the player to move.
- Outfielders are players positioned in the outfield playing for defense. These include the left fielder, center fielder and the right fielder. Given that the outfield is well maintained, spikes are highly recommended for these posts. These metal cleats will avoid picking patches of grass, making it easier for the players to move. And while catching flyballs, this cleat type help the player effectively dig into the dirt before making a sprint.
- Pitchers require the stability for their push off foot. Due to this, metal cleats are ideal for this position as it help pitchers dig into the dirt. Another ideal feature for this position is a low top shoe.
What are the parts of a baseball cleat
Here are the components of a baseball cleat:
Upper. This area is mostly made out of a synthetic leather upper or mesh. It envelops the foot while delivering protection.
Toecap. The toecap is a feature that prolongs the shoe’s lifespan. Promoting durability it prevents wear, particularly in the toe area.
Tongue. Usually lumped together with the lacing system, the tongue provides additional padded comfort for the player.
Midsole. Sandwiched between the insole and outsole, the midsole area serves as the cleat’s cushioning system. The material is usually thicker in the heel area to cushion impact.
Plate. Also referred to as the outsole, the plate is found at the bottom of the shoe. Created out of a durable material which can be either TPU or rubber, this area also holds the studs.
Studs. There are several stud types incorporated into baseball cleats. Metal cleats which are Professional footballers’ cleat of choice as they effectively dig into the dirt, allowing for easier acceleration. Molded studs are also found in baseball shoes and are often used in the young league.
Frequently asked questions
How do you choose the right baseball cleats?
Some significant components to consider when choosing the right baseball cleats are the materials that they are made of, fit, and the types of spikes used. For the upper, the shoe is either constructed with synthetic leather, mesh or combination of both. These materials are meant to deliver breathability as well as durability. The materials definitely matter in cleat selection. The shoe’s overall fit matters just as much. So, it is ideal to try on a pair before deciding to purchase.
Another thing to consider is the type of spike that you want on your cleats. Each model comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the spike types and what they can offer:
- Molded cleats feature non-removable rubber studs. As this cleat type holds numerous studs scattered across the area, it lessens pressure while maintaining a comfortable fit.
- TPU/ MCS cleats look like molded cleats. The difference is that this cleat type features studs that are made from harder plastics. They are lighter than molded cleats as well.
- Metal cleats, as with the name carries metallic spikes. It is the most popular cleat type among professional baseballers as it delivers maximum traction in the diamond. The grip also comes easily through metal cleats as the thin construction penetrate the ground with minimal effort. A good example of this cleat is the Adizero Afterburner V.
- Turf trainers are ideal for off-field training sessions. This shoe type delivers grip in artificial turf. Examples of this cleat-type include the Adidas Speed Trainer 3 and the Adidas Speed Trainer 4. What kinds of top are there for baseball cleats?
There are essentially three types of tops for baseball cleats. They are the following:
- Low-top baseball cleats are more lightweight in comparison to other cuts. This cleat height allows for ease of movement as it frees up the ankle area. The downside, however, is that the shoe does not provide much ankle support.
- Mid-top baseball cleats extend just below the ankle area. Just a tad shorter than high tops, mid-cut baseball cleats also provide ample ankle support while providing stability.
- High-top baseball cleats extend and cover the player’s ankles. This spike type delivers maximum stability and support. Although, this type of construction adds more weight to the shoe.
What is the difference between baseball cleats and football cleats?
The differences between baseball and football cleats are minimal. From the upper material to the midsole technologies used, one would be hard-pressed to find a difference. The most noticeable difference lies in the outsole. A toe cleat is found on baseball cleats. This feature digs into the dirt to aid acceleration. This feature is not found in football boots.
In addition to this, while both cleat types feature metallic studs, there is a significant difference in their shapes. Baseball cleats feature elongated spikes that dig into the dirt. Football shoes, for their part, usually feature removable conical studs for soft ground courts.
What are the signs of a good fit when wearing baseball cleats?
The things to look out for when looking for a good fit in baseball cleats include:
- There should be a space no bigger than a finger width between the heel area and the toe
- There should not be any pressure felt from the studs
- A good amount of ankle support must be felt
4 best Adidas baseball cleats
- Adidas Speed Trainer 4
- Adizero Afterburner V
- Adidas Icon 4 Trainer
- Adidas Speed Trainer 3
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