What’s The Difference Between Soccer and Baseball Cleats? (2022)

Short answer: yes, you can undoubtedly wear soccer cleats to play baseball. Now for the longer answer.

Soccer cleats will keep baseball players comfortable during practice and exhibition games, but they’re going to need actual baseball cleats if they’re planning to stay for the long haul. Then you have to factor in what position you’ll be playing and what the field looks like. Even the weather is something you should consider.

Bottom line, soccer cleats will do for a while, but if you’re aiming for the big leagues, you will definitely need to invest in baseball cleats at some point.

Here’s what you need to know about the difference between soccer and baseball cleats.

What’s The Difference Between Soccer and Baseball Cleats? (1)

Safety First – Toe Stud or No Toe Stud

The main difference between soccer cleats and baseball cleats is the toe stud.

Soccer cleats do not have a stud on the tip for safety reasons. Keep in mind baseball is a limited-contact sport in most states, so their safety measures are a little bit more relaxed than soccer, a full-contact sport with a higher risk of injury. That’s why soccer cleats feature at least one stud right under the ball of your foot and a pair of studs about an inch apart on the tip of the forefoot region of the soles, contrary to the toe stud found on baseball cleats.

There’s more to the toe stud than a matter of safety. It can also impact the way players perform, and depending on what position they’re on, soccer cleats may or may not be a suitable replacement.

That brings us to the next point.

Types of Cleats

Both baseball and soccer cleats are sorted more or less the same way, mostly based on the stud’s material and shape and the player’s position, and the surface they will be playing on.

Soccer cleats, for instance, are sorted into four main categories:

  • Firm Ground
  • Soft Ground
  • Turf or Artificial Ground
  • Indoor

Whereas baseball cleats are divided in:

  • Metal
  • Molded plastic
  • Artificial Turf
(Video) Buy the Right Cleats

Already we can see a big difference between soccer and baseball footwear just on the way they’re categorized. You will notice baseball cleats are far more adaptable to different types of surfaces than soccer cleats, and that’s because soccer fields have only one type of surface while baseball fields have two.

Let’s take a closer look at both types of soccer and baseball cleats in each of their categories and see what features they share in common, as well as the benefits and setbacks a baseball player may have while playing with soccer cleats.

Soccer Cleats for Firm Ground (FG) vs. Metal Baseball Cleats

Playing in the diamond or out in the grass?

Let’s start with the soccer cleats for firm ground (FG) since they’re pretty similar to metal baseball cleats, one of the most common choices in this sport.

Cleats for firm ground (FG) come in two forms: molded and bladed. Molded studs are conical, while bladed are flat and shaped like an “L.” This type of cleat is all about prioritizing traction on natural grass, which makes sprinting and sharp turns easier in any direction. Pretty different from baseball metal cleats, which are bladed most of the time, and that’s because they’re supposed to help you run forward on dirt as fast as possible.

Like soccer cleats for firm ground, metal baseball cleats are also made for natural grass; the difference is that these can also dig in hard dirt; in other words, you won’t get dirt or gravel stuck on your cleats. For basemen, shortstops, and runners, this means more speed and maneuverability; for pitchers and batters, it means more stability.

With the soccer cleats for firm ground, it’s more of a one-or-the-other type of deal because they will excel on grass and underperform on dirt.

A word of warning, though: metal baseball cleats have such good traction that players can actually injure their ankles when making a sudden turn. Unless they’re in jeopardy, runners don’t have to worry much about drastic turns—same thing with infielders in defense positions.

With that in mind, we can safely say that soccer cleats for firm ground are a good fit for outfielders because of their excellent grip on natural grass and how lightweight they are. On the other hand, infielders should stick to metal baseball cleats for a better grip on dense, compact dirt or lush, firm grass. Ultimately, if you’re serious about your baseball career, you will find metal baseball cleats more versatile no matter what position you’re playing.

What’s The Difference Between Soccer and Baseball Cleats? (2)

Here’s a downside you need to remember about these two.

Soccer cleats, in general –not just the ones for firm ground– are not as comfortable as baseball cleats. Remember, soccer players are always on the move; they don’t remain stationary nearly as much as baseball players, and so they don’t need all the cushion found in baseball cleats.

Why is this important? Comfortable footwear will let you forget about your sore feet and keep your head in the game. If that’s not reason enough, trust me when I say it will save you time and a pretty penny looking for a good fit to replace a pair of uncomfortable ones.

Soccer Cleats for Soft Ground (SG) vs. Baseball Molded Plastic Cleats

Footwear for wet season

Both of these soccer and baseball cleats are made for muddy fields; only the ones for soccer are purposely made for muddy grass. These are also known as metal soccer cleats because the studs are tipped with metal. That’s the first noticeable difference compared to the plastic or rubber baseball cleats, but the main difference is how they work.

SG soccer cleats are designed to dig down into the mud so you can push yourself off with ease, but the plastic baseball cleats are designed to bounce off the ground to keep you from getting stuck in the mud.

Then we have the studs, which in the case of SG soccer cleats are replaceable and somewhere between ½ and 3/5 inches long. The studs on molded cleats for baseball are about the same size, but they’re not detachable.

Something interesting about the molded cleats for baseball is that you can use them on concrete, asphalt, or pretty much any surface, and they won’t wear down. There’s just one issue: in average weather, they tend to pick up dirt, and so you lose traction, which is why most baseball players prefer to use these cleats at the beginning of the season when it’s pouring.

Spring comes, it’s pouring buckets out there, and the season starts with muddy fields. Once again, outfielders will do great with soccer cleats, namely soft ground cleats. Infielders? Not so much. They’ll need molded plastic baseball cleats during the wet season.

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Soccer Cleats for Turf (TF) or Artificial Ground (AG) vs. Baseball Turf Cleats

Soccer and baseball Cleats for training

Alright, let’s talk about training cleats. Baseball players have a different set of cleats to practice on turf. Not only are those a whole lot more comfortable, but they’re also easier on the turf. Metal cleats would tear craters on artificial turf, and molded plastic cleats don’t get any grip on it; thus, causing your ankles to buckle and possibly suffer an injury.

Instead of the eight protruding spikes seen on metal and molded baseball cleats, the sole on baseball turf cleats is wholly filled with little studs. It almost looks like the inside of a beehive. Soccer turf cleats are pretty much the same, only the studs are fewer and larger, and they only cover the forefoot and the heel. That’s so players can use the arch or midfoot section of the cleat to control the ball.

So, can you wear soccer cleats to baseball practice? Absolutely. Your performance should not be hindered at all. They’ll work pretty much the same.

Now, if you wanted to use training soccer cleats to baseball practice, you wouldn’t be able to steer the ball very well with all those studs in the midfoot section of the cleat. As for the striking area –almost nonexistent on baseball cleats– it would not be as responsive as you would need it to, but we’ll get to that later.

Indoor Soccer (IN) Shoes

No use in baseball at all

Indoor soccer shoes are no good for baseball in any way. These are specifically designed to play futsal on wood or parquet. The soles are made of rubber and don’t feature spikes of any kind, so that they would have no traction on regular baseball fields, and their grip on turf would be minimal. That’s why we’re leaving them for last.

What’s The Difference Between Soccer and Baseball Cleats? (3)

Cleats Material – The Right Material for Every Play Style

For the sake of argument, let’s say you want to try soccer and baseball before deciding which one to commit to. In that case, you’d be better off buying soccer cleats for firm ground. It’s a versatile piece of gear that you can use while trying both sports and learning the basics of whichever one you end up choosing. Of course, these would have to be resistant enough to get you through those exploring and formative stages.

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That said, let’s go ahead and see what soccer cleats are made of and how they measure up to the needs of a baseball athlete; you know, in case you end up choosing baseball.

As a point of departure, you should know most baseball cleats are made of either: genuine leather or synthetic leather. However, you can also find some knitted models out there.

Genuine leather is flexible, breathable, and very resistant. Also expensive. Synthetic leather is more affordable, and while it may be less durable, it does offer more support, especially in the forefoot and midfoot sections of the cleat.

In comparison, the materials used in soccer cleats are way more specific. They come in:

  • Synthetic
  • Knit
  • Calfskin
  • Kangaroo leather

Each of these materials is rated by “touch”; in other words, how responsive they are in the striking area of the cleat.

For soccer players, the touch rating is super important because it tells them how well they’ll be able to control the ball with their feet. Baseball players don’t need to worry about that, but if it’s a middle ground between both types of soccer and baseball cleats you’re looking for based on what they’re made of, here’s what you should know.

Synthetic Leather Soccer Cleats vs. Synthetic Leather Baseball Cleats

Soccer cleats of synthetic leather are affordable, lightweight, and reliable in most weather conditions, just like synthetic leather baseball cleats. However, they’re not as durable as cleats made of genuine leather, nor do they offer the same amount of support; also like the synthetic leather cleats for baseball compared to those of genuine leather.

So in most respects, synthetic leather soccer and baseball cleats are pretty similar. The thing is that synthetic soccer cleats have the lowest touch rating, and while that may be of no consequence should you end up playing baseball, it can certainly be a setback assuming you want to be a striker or a center forward in soccer instead. The verdict: synthetic soccer cleats are ok for baseball, but there are better options for soccer when playing offensive positions.

Knitted Soccer Cleats vs. Knitted Baseball Cleats

Next, there is the relatively recent knitted soccer cleat. Needless to say, it’s lightweight and comfortable, almost like playing barefoot. Because it’s so flexible, players have more control over the ball; hence, the high touch rating. They’re a bit of a pain to wash, though.

Compared to knitted baseball cleats, these are way thinner and therefore less durable. Baseball knitted cleats have more support and cushion too.

All in all, knitted cleats for soccer are excellent for the midfielder, winger, and forward positions in soccer. In baseball, they’re ok for outfielders and runners in training, but as they move their way up the league, they’ll need a set of baseball cleats with more support and cushion.

What’s The Difference Between Soccer and Baseball Cleats? (4)

Genuine Leather Baseball Cleats vs. Calfskin Leather Soccer Cleats

Both of these cleats are very reliable, durable, and protective. Not only are calfskin leather cleats great for soccer players in defense positions, but they’re also handy to baseball players in the diamond.

Calfskin leather cleats have a very high touch rating, so they’re very responsive; plus, they’re also a bit hard to break in because of how sturdy they are. In other words, it may take a while to adjust and get used to these cleats. That’s good news for you, baseball players because it means you’ll get more support.

Who should wear calfskin leather cleats for soccer? The obvious answer would be soccer players, specifically those fielding center-back, full-back, wing-back, and sweeper positions.

Switching over to baseball, infielders will be ok with calfskin leather soccer cleats. Still, pitchers and batters, in particular, will miss the stability of the toe stud when throwing or batting. Also, and this is kind of a biggie, they’re not as comfortable as proper baseball cleats, so you may expect to be shifting your weight from one foot to the other during those slow-paced moments of the game. Runners may also experience a little bit of lag compared to those with baseball cleats due to the lack of the toe stud they use to push themselves forward.

In short, calfskin leather soccer cleats are the closest thing to genuine leather baseball cleats you’re going to find. Sure, you may have a couple of setbacks, but it shouldn’t matter that much while you’re learning the fundamentals.

Kangaroo Leather Cleats for Soccer

Soccer players will probably notice a bit of an improvement over the calfskin leather cleats due to a slightly higher-touch rating, but baseball players won’t be able to tell the difference in their performance. These are also crazy expensive and hard to find, not to mention they’re not as durable as other types of cleats. It’s not that k-leather cleats are flimsy or brittle, but they do require the most care.

In the end, this is a specialized piece of gear that is too specific to soccer, and it’s not worth the money if you’re going to commit to baseball. Definitely not the kind of cleat you would get just to try a sport. Soccer players on offensive positions, on the other hand, would probably see the most out of these shoes, particularly the striker.

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Just one more thing about leather cleats

Calves and kangaroos are not particularly endangered species, and their hides are a byproduct of animals destined to the food industry, a byproduct that would otherwise go to waste.

Unfortunately, it’s hard to get a straight answer from officials on how many animals are actually harvested for food and at what point it becomes overexploitation for their hides while using the food industry as an excuse.

Granted, major brands in sports gear will openly say they use kangaroo or calfskin leather in their products, but even they are trying to find alternatives. Take Adidas, for example, the creators of the world’s first knitted soccer cleat. With that in mind, do what’s best for your performance as an athlete, but let’s be careful not to encourage overexploitation of animals.

Other differences and similarities

Here are a couple more differences and similarities for you to consider:

Baseball cleats are longer and heavier than soccer cleats

Baseball cleats weigh up to 13 ounces, while most soccer cleats weigh 8 ounces on average. That’s because of the toe stud and the midsole that soccer cleats don’t have one.

Ankle Support – Cleats for both sports come in high, mid, and low tops

High tops are hard to find for soccer, though. It’s all about maneuverability, keeping your ankles free.

What’s The Difference Between Soccer and Baseball Cleats? (5)

Final Thoughts

In the end, it’s a matter of dedication. Those aiming for the major leagues will be ok with soccer cleats while learning the fundamentals and practice –especially outfielders– but they’ll need to upgrade to baseball-specific cleats many times along the way. If you just need a pair of cleats to play a friendly match with your friends during the weekend, soccer cleats will be A-Ok.

(Video) How to Buy Baseball Cleats - Baseball Pro Tips

FAQs

What’s The Difference Between Soccer and Baseball Cleats? ›

Soccer cleats mostly protect from injuries, and baseball cleats provide stability to players. The shapes of baseball and soccer cleats are different with one being round and the other being sharp. Both baseball and soccer cleats are designed to support the heavy running involved in each of the games.

Can you wear soccer cleats for baseball? ›

Short answer: yes, you can undoubtedly wear soccer cleats to play baseball. Now for the longer answer. Soccer cleats will keep baseball players comfortable during practice and exhibition games, but they're going to need actual baseball cleats if they're planning to stay for the long haul.

Are soccer cleats and baseball cleats interchangeable? ›

So, can you wear soccer cleats for baseball? Although all cleats are not the same, the answer is yes, you can wear soccer cleats for baseball. However, it's important to note some differences between baseball and soccer cleats before handing the extra pair down to your younger child.

Are soccer and baseball shoes the same? ›

The major difference between soccer and baseball shoes is the pattern of the cleats on the bottom. On soccer cleats you will notice there is never a single cleat at the very front tip. The reason there is not single cleat at the front is because it can easily cause injury to an opposing player's shin.

How can you tell the difference between cleats? ›

There are key differences between football cleats and cleats for soccer or baseball. While soccer cleats are generally low cut, football cleats are made in low, medium and high-top styles. Cleats for football have thicker outsoles and a stud near the big toe for traction when you push off from a static position.

Do NFL players wear soccer cleats? ›

Conclusion. Put simply, football is a sport of speed and strength, and football cleats are designed to reflect this. However, there are specific positions in football where wearing soccer cleats can be an advantage. The officials in a football game will allow a player to wear soccer cleats.

Is there a difference between soccer and softball cleats? ›

The softball cleats are placed in horizontal bands around the heel, toe and middle of the shoe. On the other hand, the soccer cleats are placed more around the perimeter. Unlike the softball shoes, the soccer shoes do not have cleats on the toe. Soccer cleats are generally made of plastic.

Can my son wear soccer cleats for football? ›

1. Do soccer cleats work for football? Yes, soccer cleats can work for football but something to keep in mind is the stud layout. Soccer cleats don't have the front toe stud/spike that football cleats do.

Can you wear baseball cleats for flag football? ›

In conclusion, yes you can wear baseball cleats for flag football. Just make sure you have the right shoes for the field you are playing on.

Do soccer cleats make a difference? ›

This fact is as true for soccer cleats as it is for anything else. Soccer cleats that are made of better materials will produce a better result for the wearer as well as lasting longer, and simply looking better.

What cleats do NFL players wear? ›

Once again, Nike is the most popular cleat brand among WRs. This season, 63% of NFL wide receivers were wearing the swoosh on their feet. There are several popular Nike cleats, but the most popular pair was the Nike Vapor Edge 360 Speed. The 360 Speed is a super lightweight, low-cut cleat that released in 2020.

Are there different types of cleats? ›

There are four different types of cleats that are most popular in the sport today, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. These types of cleats are: molded, metal, turf, and interchangeable.

Is it OK to play soccer with football cleats? ›

Football cleats cannot be used for soccer. Their use is forbidden in official soccer leagues. They are not allowed in competitive and recreational soccer leagues or tournaments nor by most clubs and teams. Using football cleats for soccer can cause injuries and hinders players' performance.

What cleats do NFL kickers wear? ›

We recommend either the Nike Premier, Adidas Copa Mundial or Nike Tiempo style soccer cleats. As of 2019, one of the marque cleats many NFL kickers are wearing is called the Nike Tiempo VII.

What kind of cleats does Odell Beckham wear? ›

During pre-game of the NFC conference championship, Odell Beckham Jr. channeled his inner “mamba mentality” with custom Nike Vapor Beckham cleats.

Can my kid wear soccer cleats for softball? ›

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.

Can kids softball cleats be used for soccer? ›

You won't be able to bring your softball shoes to soccer games as the toe cleat won't be legal.

Are baseball cleats supposed to be tight? ›

Remember, your cleat's fit should be snug with a little room in the toe. A well-fitted shoe can help provide maximum support for the quick movements you'll make on the field.

Are soccer cleats lighter than football cleats? ›

Soccer cleats are usually always lighter than football cleats, and that's for a few reasons. One, soccer cleats only come in low-cut styles, where as football cleats can be purchased in low-cut, mid, or high-cut depending on how much ankle support you need or how much agility in your feet you want.

Are football cleats and soccer cleats the same for kids? ›

Football cleats are different from soccer cleats in how they are structured. Football cleats are longer and have two (or more) spikes that support the shoe's toe. These bars help to keep your foot locked in place when you're running forward.

How can you tell baseball cleats from football cleats? ›

Cleats have extra spike on toe – helps player to get extra jump leverage. Shoes are lower cut for baseball to allow more side to side motions and Football sides are higher to provide more ankle support. Shoes are heavier.

What kind of cleats for kids flag football? ›

A mid-cut cleat will extend to the ankle. This style provides support without too much restriction of movement. They can work for kids playing a variety of positions, including quarterback, wide receiver and running back. High-cut cleats offer the most ankle support as they lace up above the ankle bone.

Can you wear baseball cleats on turf? ›

FACTS: All artificial turf will be damaged by metal cleats. All turf manufacturers recommend plastic or rubber cleats.

Can I wear football cleats for baseball? ›

Baseball players can wear baseball, football or soccer cleats, though experts recommend in-field players should stick to baseball cleats only.

Why are there no baseball cleats for soccer? ›

Baseball cleats have an extra toe stud that is dangerous during soccer tackles. The toe stud can be cut off to modify a baseball cleat for soccer. The sole design of a soccer cleat differs from a baseball cleat in that it eliminates the midsole to bring the player closer to the ground.

Are soccer cleats and softball cleats the same? ›

The softball cleats are placed in horizontal bands around the heel, toe and middle of the shoe. On the other hand, the soccer cleats are placed more around the perimeter. Unlike the softball shoes, the soccer shoes do not have cleats on the toe. Soccer cleats are generally made of plastic.

Do any MLB players wear molded cleats? ›

As we've said many times before, molded cleats offer more support for Major League starters who play every day and need to take strain off their feet. In 2021, 31% of MLB starting position players wore molded cleats as a way to alleviate foot fatigue.

Are high top cleats good for baseball? ›

Mid/High-Tops

Mid/high-top baseball cleats are made for stability and security. This cleat height can provide the most ankle support compared to other styles. However, the added material in the ankle does increase the cleat's weight, which can be a concern for some athletes.

Can you use football cleats for Little League baseball? ›

Metal cleats may NOT be worn for any little league division under the age of 13. Also, football cleats have a longer cleat which can cause significant damage to our infields, so please do not use football cleats for baseball/softball.

Can kids softball cleats be used for soccer? ›

You won't be able to bring your softball shoes to soccer games as the toe cleat won't be legal.

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