Molded vs Metal Baseball Cleats in 2023

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HomeBlogsChris Sloan's blogMolded vs Metal Baseball Cleats in 2023
Molded vs Metal Baseball Cleats in 2023
Chris Sloan

If you have walked through the baseball isle of any athletic store, you might notice that they offer both molded baseball cleats and metal baseball cleats. Ranging to cool cleats baseball from Nike and Adidas to the New Balance Fresh Foam. Parents may wonder what the difference between metal spiked cleats and molded cleats are and which offer the best traction for their player on game day.

Player on the mound wearing molded rubber cleats.

Men's Molded Baseball Cleats

Molded cleats are typically worn by youth baseball players and are made of synthetic textile material. They come in both low cut cleats and high cut cleats. They are great for stability and traction. 

Lightweight & High Performance Molded Cleats

One of the biggest benefits of molded cleats are how much lighter in weight they are than traditional spikes. Lightweight cleats allow for more speed on the field and an all together higher performance. The better you perform, the more confidence you will have on the field. They are also quite comfortable and offer a lot of support due to the single molding process. This allows them to have a snug fit and protects against ankle injuries.

Molded Cleats due to Turf Field Rules & Regulations

Another reason to have molded shoes is due to different field and leagues regulations. Many baseball fields are starting to switch from grass to turf fields. Turf fields can get torn up from metal cleats, which is why many coaches will tell their players they recommend buying a pair of molded rubber cleats. For more on turf shoes, see our list of the best baseball turf shoes for 2024!

Home & Away Shoes

When on the road, players never know whether the next field they stop at is a turf or grass field so it is always good to have a pair of rubber cleats in their bag. It is especially recommended for pitchers to have a pair of rubber cleats on them. Some fields have a constructed mound which can take a lot of damage that metal cleats create just like turf fields. The best way to avoid that is to wear cleats with rubber soles or turf shoes.

A girl at bat wearing molded rubber cleats.

Men's Baseball Metal Cleats

Metal cleats are the most common form of cleats you will see players wearing even though some wear molded mens baseball cleats. The metal spikes are made from a lightweight metal, such as aluminum or titanium, which help provide a great form of traction for the player. One of the key advantages spikes have over other cleats are their durability. Metal spikes are less likely to break down as easily which helps them last a lot longer. They also provide excellent traction which leads to improved performance on the field.

Metal Spikes Making the Most When it Matters

Metal cleats really help you dig into the dirt when you are playing. When running the bases, you want something that will help you change directions quickly when your toe hits the bag. That is why most players go with metal spikes. Every millisecond counts when you are running after a ball in the outfield or running around the bases. Every step you take matters and metal spikes offer the traction you need. Take a look at picture of bottom of baseball cleats on the bag blow to see metal spikes on a player.

Baserunner in metal baseball cleats

Difference in Price

Typically, when you look on the shelf you will find that metal cleats are more expensive than rubber. This is due to the construction and materials used to make the cleats. Some of the best metal baseball cleats cost around $80 while the best rubber cleat cost around $50. However, you have to look in the long term when thinking about the best products. Since the aluminum spikes are so durable, they will last you a lot longer than your typical rubber spikes.

How much are you willing to pay for cleats?

Ultimately the price of high top metal baseball cleats comes down to however much you are willing to pay. You can find some rubber spiked cleats for as low as $20 and some even going up as high as $100. Both styles of men's baseball cleats can fluctuate in price depending on the brand, the look, and the level of comfort. That is why players have to do a lot of research when best baseball cleats for them.

Catcher wearing molded baseball cleats

Which Brands Have the Best Baseball Cleats

This is the most common question every young player and parent ask when looking for cleats, "Who sells the best baseball cleats?" Many of your typical athletic wear providers provide some great options for cleats. Brands such as Adidas and Nike offer some great options for cleats. Adidas offer cleats for many different types of sports and baseball is no exception. One of Adidas best baseball cleats is their Afterburner 8 which comes in a white base with gold stripes and gold painted spikes. These come in at around $100. Nike is know for combining the look of their best selling shoes and the makings of a great men's baseball cleats. One such example is their Air Jordan 1 Retro MCS 1. This is a stylish rubber cleat which allows you to have the look of a Jordan shoe on your feet while playing baseball.

The most notable brand for cleats is New Balance. New Balance what every kid puts on their wish list when they want a new set of cleats. New Balance cleats are made with some of the best material which makes for a very durable and comfortable cleat at a great price. The one you'll see most ball players wearing is the New Balance Fresh Foam X 3000 V6 Metal. Typically, New Balance cleats come in at around $110. New Balance cleats are some of the most widely used among MLB and amateur players alike due to their overall comfort and durability. 

Read more on how to choose baseball cleats here.

Brands that Sell Popular Baseball Cleats

  1. New Balance

  2. Nike

  3. Adidas

  4. Boombah

  5. Under Amour

  6. Easton

2 Players wearing metal spike baseball cleats

FAQ's About Baseball Cleats

Can Kids wear Spiked or Metal Cleats?

One question many new parents have are whether it is illegal or not to wear metal spiked cleats. In little league, metal spiked cleats are not permitted. Kids are usually still trying to figure out the sport in little league and metal spikes can cause injury to those who have not yet figured out how to play the game.

How do you clean baseball cleats?

Check out our comprehensive guide on how to clean baseball cleats.

Can you wear Football Cleats to Play Baseball?

Another question is whether or not football cleats are an okay replacement for baseball cleats. In most cases, no. Football cleats have a different design than baseball cleats. Cleats for football have a rubber bottom with spikes that come to a point which are longer and allows the player to have a superior traction on the football field. Those cleats would not work as well on dirt since they weren't design to break up the ground the same way as baseball cleats. However, if the baseball field is all turf than they are an acceptable replacement.

Do MLB Players wear Metal Cleats or Does MLB use Metal Cleats in Games?

Yes, some Major League Baseball (MLB) players wear metal spikes. However, steel cleats baseball players wear, or spikes, are generally not allowed on artificial turf fields and many MLB stadiums have artificial turf. In these cases, players must wear rubber or molded plastic cleats instead.

How can I make my cleats more comfortable?

It's easy to wear cleats until you break them. During a quick cracking process you may soak the cleats in hot water and the foot should soak it into the water. Put your men's baseball cleats and socks in hot water until you reach about 20 minutes of time. Once the ice has dried out, you can wipe off the remaining liquid. Putting them on your legs will give them some time to roam. This loosens your skin, which expands to fit your foot shape more effectively.

Should I buy baseball cleats a size bigger?

Baseball cleats fit similar to everyday shoes, and we suggest getting the size down. It should not exceed one inch from the cleat's edge. A tighter shoe increases in the future when the player plays in that area.

Where can I find baseball cleats near me?

Typically, when looking for where you can find baseball cleats near me, you can find them at your local sporting goods store or larger retail stores, but if that's not an option there are plenty of stores online.

Old School Metal Baseball Cleats

Personal Preference

At the end of the day, while both versions of cleats are great it all comes down to the players preference. Every player has their own brand they prefer and their own style. The style of cleats is just as important as everything else. Some players have wide feet which mean one brands and style works better than another. Some prefer mid cut versus a high cut. This is while there is not one baseball cleat that rules all. You always need to look at a collection of cleats when deciding which to go with. 


Both metal and rubber men's baseball cleats have their benefits. Each have their own price, stability, ankle support, and many other factors that come into play. Just like any other type of clothing, you have to try it on first to see if they feel like the right fit for you; you might prefer a mid cut or low cut shoes. Maybe you like the feel of something similar to work boots that's rugged and durable, but as a final tip for all men's baseball players, it is never a bad idea to have a set of both sitting in you gear. You never know when you might find yourself in a situation where a pair of molded's are a better fit than a pair of metal men's baseball cleats.

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About Chris Sloan

Chris Sloan is a former baseball league commissioner and travel baseball coach who has made significant contributions to the sport. In 2018, he founded selectbaseballteams.com, a website that helps parents find youth and travel baseball teams in their local areas. Since its launch, the website has experienced impressive growth, offering a wealth of resources including teams, news, tournaments, and organizations. Chris's unwavering passion for baseball and his innovative approach to connecting parents with quality baseball programs have earned him a respected reputation in the baseball community, solidifying his legacy as a leading figure in the world of youth and travel baseball.

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