It was not until the 1850s when baseball became a professional sport. The sport may look so simple, but its popularity has not dwindled over the years. Even now, baseball stands are filled with fans cheering for their favorite teams and star athletes. This fact is not surprising at all as the sport is as exciting to watch as it is to play.
Given the popularity of the sport, it did not take long for brands to go to top players for product collaborations. Major brands such as Adidas, Nike, and Under Armour are just some of the popular brands pushing the envelope in terms of baseball shoe design. Some athletes even have their own shoe collections that have prevailed throughout the years.
History of baseball cleats
Baseball cleats have gone through numerous improvements before settling with the design that we know now. The oldest cleat to date was one made for King Henry the VII in 1526. The pair was constructed out of leather and studs. Since then, it’s been quite a journey for cleat construction with the most notable change that happened in the 1860s. It was when Paul Butler integrated spikes in baseball cleats. In the 1880s, Waldo Claflin released leather cleats that were marketed explicitly for baseball. His creation was later adopted for major league baseball. Innovations for comfort, fit, traction, etc. then followed suit. Fast forward to the 1960s, the introduction of artificial turf also impacted cleat design. This surface type allowed for shorter and removable cleats. Finally, for injury prevention, Major League Baseball outlawed sharp metal cleats.
What are the parts of a baseball cleat
Here are the notable elements of a baseball cleat:
Top Length. There are three types of cuts for baseball cleats. These are low-tops, mid-tops, and high-tops. Each cut has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Low-top cleats provide the player with better mobility. Good examples of a low top baseball shoes are the Adidas Speed Trainer 4 as well as the New Balance Fresh Foam 3000v4.
Mid tops extend just below the ankle area. This cut delivers more support compared to low-top shoes. A good example of this is the Nike Alpha Huarache Elite 2 Mid.
As for high-top cleats, they extends up to the ankle area and provides optimal ankle support. Although this cut tends to limit foot movement.
Tongue. The tongue area is commonly lumped together with the lacing system. This feature reinforces comfort as well as breathability for the player.
Lacing system. The lacing system locks the foot in place while allowing for fit customizability.
Upper. The upper is mostly constructed from either synthetic leather or mesh. These elements are meant to deliver breathability and comfort.
Toe Cap. The toecap is placed to promote durability as the toe is a high-abrasion area.
Insole/Midsole. As the area that serves as the shoe’s cushioning, the midsole reinforces comfort while absorbing shock for every step taken.
Soleplate. The soleplate carries studs and is usually created from durable, lightweight materials like TPU plastic.
Studs. There are several different stud types available for baseball cleats, depending on the type of surface they’re going to be used on. Professional baseballers pick metal cleats while junior league baseball players prefer molded ones.
Baseball Cleat Brands
The German-brand has never been one to shy away from innovation. This shows in every one of their footwear creations, which, of course, include baseball cleat models. Here are some of the technologies found in their shoe models that are well-praised by players:
Adidas cleat technologies
Boost. Adidas’ Boost technology revolutionized cushioning when it was released. The material is considered as one of the best when it comes to responsive and lightweight cushioning. This innovation is made from heat-expanded TPU capsules, which are molded into a single piece. The Adidas baseball shoe models with this technology include the Adidas Boost Icon 4 and the Adidas Icon 5.
Sprintframe plate. Inspired by the fluid construction of bridges, Sprintframe technology acts as a chassis that aids a low-to-the-ground setup - all this while supporting massive amounts of weight. The Adidas baseball models with this technology include the Adizero Afterburner 5.
Players and Adidas baseball cleats
Here are some of the Adidas cleats that have been sported by notable baseball stars:
- Aaron Judge - Adidas Boost Icon 4, Adidas Icon 4, Adidas Icon Bounce 5
- Kris Bryant - Adidas Boost Icon 2, Adidas Icon 5, Adidas Icon Bounce 5, Adidas PowerAlley 2
- J.D. Martinez - Adidas Icon Bounce 5
- Carlos Correa - Adidas Boost Icon, Adidas Energy Boost Icon, Adidas Boost Icon 2, Adidas AdiZero Afterburner 5
- Xander Bogaerts - Adidas Afterburner 4, Adidas Afterburner 5
- Trea Turner - Adidas Adizero Afterburner 5
As one of the leading footwear brands in the world, Nike is not to be left out. Over the years, the American brand has come up with memorable releases that were adored by professional and amateur baseballers alike. Star players are of course given the treatment that they deserve. Nike made special releases in close collaboration with them.
Nike cleat technologies
Pebax plate. The Pebax technology was initially used in high-powered running shoes. It has branched out into the baseball realm because of the goodness that it brings. The foam-based element is created from a thermoplastic material. It delivers both lightweight feel and a soft sensation. The feature does not skip on responsiveness either. The Nike baseball cleats with this technology include the Nike Lunar Trout 2 and the Nike Jordan Jeter Lux Metal.
Nike Zoom. A combination of lightness and responsiveness is what the Nike Zoom Air technology offers its wearers. The technology makes use of pressurized air units that immediately spring back to its original shape after cushioning the impact. The Nike baseball cleat models with this technology include Nike Force Trout 6 Turf Premium, Nike Alpha Huarache Elite Low 2, and the Nike Force Zoom Trout 5.
Nike Lunarlon. A fusion of the bounciness of NBR and the lightweight feel of EVA is what Lunarlon technology can offer its wearers. Debuting in 2008, Lunarlon technology is not just applicable to baseball cleats as it also serves as a cushioning system for basketball shoes, sneakers, as well as soccer cleats. The Nike baseball cleat model with this technology includes the Nike Alpha Huarache Elite 2 Turf.
Players and Nike baseball cleats
Here are some of the Nike cleats that have been sported by notable baseball stars:
- Carlos Correa - Nike Huarache 2KFilth
- Jose Ramirez - Nike Vapor Ultrafly Elite 2
- Nolan Arenado - Nike Alpha Huarache Elite 2
- Adam Jones - Nike Alpha Huarache Elite 2 (PE)
- Nelson Cruz - Nike Alpha Huarache Elite 2 Mid
- Cody Bellinger - Nike Alpha Huarache Elite 2 (PE)
- Joc Pederson - Nike Alpha Huarache Elite 2 Low
Capturing both the American and European markets, New Balance is a century-old company that has remained in the footwear game for good reason. For the New Balance brand, technical features are king. The brand made into fruition some of the most technically comprehensive selection of footwear - this also includes baseball cleats.
New Balance cleat technologies
Kinetic Stitch upper. This upper technology delivers locked-in support without the bulk. The New Balance model with this technology includes the New Balance 4040v5 Hero.
Revlite. This midsole technology delivers the same durability as well as responsiveness found in foams that are 30% heavier. This setup affords the wearer a lightweight experience without sacrificing cushioning. The New Balance cleat with this type of midsole includes the New Balance 4040v5 model.
Player and New Balance baseball cleats
Here are some of the New Balance cleats that have been sported by notable baseball stars:
- Xander Bogaerts - New Balance 4040v2, New Balance NB1 3000v3
- Ronald Acuna - New Balance 4040v5, New Balance 3000v4
- DJ LeMahieu - New Balance 4040v4 Mid
- Francisco Lindor - New Balance COMPv1, New Balance Fresh Foam Cruz Trainers, New Balance 3000v3, New Balance 4040v3
- Jose Altuve - New Balance 4040v4, New Balance 3000v2 Turf
- Alex Bregman - New Balance 4040v4
Even if it is a relatively new company, Under Armour still rose up the ranks fairly quickly. Now a household name, the American brand has since expanded its repertoire. Initially concentrating on sportswear, the brand has branched out into footwear creation including baseball cleats.
Under Armour cleat technologies
Charged Cushioning. This innovation by Under Armour affords the player a not only responsive feel but also impact absorption. The Under Armour baseball cleats with this technology include the Under Armour Harper 3 Low ST and the Under Armour Yard Trainer.
TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane). A common feature among football boot outsoles, it is no wonder Under Armour has adapted this shoe element for their baseball cleats. The material delivers durability and a lightweight sensation. The Under Armour cleats with this type of outsole includes the Under Armour Yard Mid TPU.
Players and Under Armour cleats
- Aaron Judge - Under Armour Yard Low ST, Under Armour Yard Low DT
- Trea Turner - Under Armour Heater Mid, Under Armour Yard
- Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - Under Armour Yard
- Dee Gordon - Under Armour Yard
- Bryce Harper - Under Armour Harper 4
- Matt Olson - Under Armour Yard
Frequently asked questions
How does one get the best possible fit for baseball cleats?
Several things to look out for to get the best fitting baseball cleats are:
- There should be a finger width space between the toe and the forefoot area.
- Excellent ankle support should be felt when wearing a baseball cleat.
- There should not be any pressure or discomfort felt from the studs.
What is Jordan’s connection to baseball?
Shortly after joining Major League Baseball, the legendary player Michael Jordan released his very own collection of baseball cleats. The Jumpman has since made notable releases for the sport’s beloved star athletes. Derek Jeter, CC Sabathia, and Gary Sheffield are just some of the professional baseballers rocking in the brand’s roster. The Air Jordan 4 is a memorable model, and it has been sported by several players including Jimmy Rollins of the Chicago White Sox, Manny Machado of the Baltimore Orioles, and C.C. Sabathia of the New York Yankees.
What are the things to consider when picking baseball cleats?
Several factors should be taken into account when purchasing a pair of baseball cleats. Things like surface type, player position, and a couple more elements are of importance to get the best experience and performance in the diamond.
Starting with grip and traction, there’s a reason why professional baseball stars pick metal cleats over molded ones. The metal spikes have the ability to dig into the dirt, making it easier for acceleration. Metal cleats are also beneficial for grassy fields as they do not pick up the turf. Additionally, since they don’t easily pick up dirt, the players' cleats maintain their lightweight feel allowing for speedy play.
The cut of the shoe also matters. Depending on the preferences of the player, the different cuts of the shoe brings a different set of benefits. If one is looking for a supportive fit, a mid-top to a high top cleat may work best. As the collar extends to the ankle area, it creates a more secure feel. For low cut cleats, they afford the wearer more mobility as it frees up the ankle area. Although, admittedly, it does not give a much supportive feel.
How do you clean your baseball cleats?
Here are the steps in cleaning a pair of baseball cleats:
- Use a soft-bristled brush to get rid of the dirt.
- Use a warm washcloth to rinse the soap used in cleaning the cleat.
- Let the pair air dry at room temperature.
15 best baseball cleats
- Nike Alpha Huarache Turf
- Nike Alpha Huarache Elite 2 Low
- New Balance 4040v4
- New Balance COMPv1
- Adidas Speed Trainer 4
- Adizero Afterburner V
- Nike Alpha Huarache Elite 2 Mid
- Nike Force Zoom Trout 5 Pro
- Nike Force Trout 5 Pro MCS
- New Balance 4040v4 Turf
- Adidas Icon 4 Trainer
- Adidas Speed Trainer 3
- Nike Force Zoom Trout 5 Turf
- Nike Vapor Ultrafly 2 Keystone
- Under Armour Leadoff Low RM
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