There are three types of baseball shoes available on the market. These are:
- Molded Cleats
- Metal Cleats
- Turf Shoes
When it comes to popularity, molded cleats are the most popular and favorite of the baseball players.
But, a few questions arise in our mind like:
What are molded cleats?
Can you wear molded cleats on the turf ground?
Are molded cleats better than metal cleats?
And many others.
So, today, you’ll get the answer to these questions, and I’ll try my best to clear all the doubts you have in your mind.
What are Molded Cleats?
The molded cleats are similar to metal cleats, the only difference is that their spikes are made of rubber or plastic. The molded cleats are lighter and comparatively safer than metal cleats. Therefore, young baseball players wear molded cleats before moving to the metal cleats.
Molded cleats are durable and versatile and will last throughout the season. These cleats are made out of plastic and they have rubber studs. They are extremely popular with young players as they provide more protection while sliding and running the bases.
Depending on the price point, molded cleats can be made of varying materials. The lower-priced molded cleats are designed for the young players that quickly outgrow their cleats and are not required to have them for a long time. They also tend to have shorter cleats to be more forgiving for inexperienced players.
The higher-priced molded cleats are made of a stiffer rubberized plastic material and this varies for different manufacturers which are designed to provide the most traction to the player before going to a metal cleat.
These harder plastic materials are much lighter than the metal cleats and the rubber cleats. All molded cleats are designed to be the most comfortable cleated shoe as they tend to have the highest number of cleats that are spread out on the pressure points of the foot.
You can also say that molded cleats are the most comfortable baseball cleats because they lie somewhere in the middle of turf shoes and metal cleats. They’re safer than metal cleats but still provide traction, while they can be used like turf shoes in some places. That’s the reason why some flat feet players prefer these types of cleats.
Can You Wear Molded Cleats on Artificial Turf?
Molded cleats can cause injuries when worn on the artificial turf. The artificial turf is shallower than the natural grass, which means, your cleats will get less surface to dig into as compared to the natural grass. Due to this, metal cleats and molded cleats are not recommended on artificial turf. To practice on artificial turf, it’s recommended to wear turf shoes.
Metal vs. Molded Baseball Cleats
Maximum times, the baseball cleats, whether they’re molded cleats or metal cleats, are made with original and synthetic leather.
In the case of metal cleats, the studs are made of high-quality metal. It is good as one among various types of boat cleats. Besides, in some cases, there are caps for metal cleats.
When it is molded cleat, the studs can either be rubber or plastic.
Metal cleats are better to provide traction. As the metal cleats are thin, sharp, and strong metal studs. They are good to dig up the grass and mud. So, these hybrid baseball cleats are meant to be better in order to provide more traction.
Molded cleats have no sharp studs and cannot ensure much traction as the metal cleats can.
Safety and Approval
Both of these facts are related. Metal cleats for young baseball players are completely not safe.
So a lot of leagues do not allow them to use metal cleats. In relation to this, molded cleats are much safer and have no problem with acceptance or approval.
This is the most important fact. All the players think of this fact before purchasing anything and everything.
Metal cleats are durable and long-lasting in relation to the molded cleats. If you are in a phase of growth and have your foot growth too, then it is better to go for the molded cleats.
Along with that, molded cleats are easy to clean. You can use anything to clean your baseball cleats, but you have to think twice before using any certain chemical on the metal spikes.
Use Outside the Field
Sometimes we use our cleats outside the field. Do not look for the metal cleat if you have any intention of using your cleats outside the field.
Metal cleats are good only to use in the field. They are cumbersome and make noises.
Molded cleats are also not very comfortable if you wear them on the streets, but they’ll provide much comfort as compared to the metal cleats when you wear them outside the field.
Also, some young players use their soccer cleats in baseball, or vice versa. This is not recommended because different cleats are made for different sports.
Which is More Expensive?
Generally, metal cleats are expensive as compared to the molded cleats.
Yes, you can buy some high-priced molded cleats and some cheap metal cleats. But, if you compare the price of metal cleats and the molded cleats of the same quality and features, then you’ll see the difference.
However, all popular brands have their own designs and models of both metal and molded cleats.
The major brands that manufacture molded cleats and metal cleats are:
- New Balance
- Under Armour
Here, I want to mention that New Balance is my personal favorite brand because they offer almost all the cleats in wide-width options. This is very helpful for baseball players who have wide feet.
Interchangeable cleats are the biggest solution if you have the confusion of metal vs molded baseball cleats.
Interchangeable cleats have adjustable studs. This means you can adjust the studs either metal or molded one with a shoe. The studs adjacent to the sole have some set screws. So you can easily and quickly change the studs of your cleats.
Everyone cannot wear metal cleats as they are dangerous to the players which are in the sliding plays. Hence, it can be said molded cleats can be a better option as they won’t be dangerous for the players.
Turf Shoes vs. Baseball Cleats
Turf shoes and baseball cleats both provide traction. However, there are differences. Baseball cleats have long spikes while turf shoes feature different patterns on the outsoles for grip. The cleat spikes work by digging into the ground to keep you in place; whereas, turf shoes don’t, but the grippy texture offers a great foot-to-turf connection.
Traction They Provide
It is crucial to understand which type of pitch you will be playing on. While molded cleats are ideal for playing on natural grass, turf shoes work best on artificial turf.
Turf shoes are specifically designed to provide superb traction on artificial turfs and offer more comfort and stability with extra ankle support.
In the case of molded cleats, its primary function is to provide maximum traction on mud-laden fields and soft grass areas where the shoe digs into the ground to offer a firmer grip.
In simpler words, turf shoes allow for better traction on artificial grounds, and molded cleats are designed to offer maximum traction on real grass fields
How Durable Are They?
Molded cleats are incredibly durable and versatile and will last through several seasons if taken good care of.
These cleats are basically made out of plastic and have rubber spikes that offer sound absorption to the players.
Similarly, turf shoes are lost-lasting and extremely durable; they have a rubber outsole that helps the player maximize their traction and increase their speed on the baseball turf.
Both these types of shoes can be long-lasting and quite durable if you keep them in good condition.
The manufacturing companies do pay more attention to making them hard-wearing and sturdy.
Still, the durability also depends on various other factors like the type of player you are, the intensity of the play, the type of shoes you buy (whether high-end or cheaper ones), etc.
Based on these elements, and the care you provide, the durability of your cleats/turf shoes can differ between a couple of months to even a couple of years.
Can You Use Them Outside the Field?
Like I mentioned above, turf shoes are best suitable for artificial grounds, and although you can wear them outside the field, it is better if you avoid wearing them on other external surfaces.
Since they are mostly made of plastic and rubber and have small spikes, you might end up weakening them if you use them outside the turf.
This will affect the durability of the shoes since they might not work that well when you get back to play on the turf.
Similarly, in the case of molded cleats, which are meant to be worn on natural turfs, it is perilous to wear them anywhere outside the said field, especially on concrete or other similar surfaces.
Cleats have spikes that are mainly designed to dig into the muddy ground or grass to offer you more traction.
If you happen to wear them outside the field, you might not only damage the studs and make them less effective but also damage the floor surface and injure yourself (cleats get slippery on indoor surfaces)
Which is More Expensive?
Comparing the price of turf shoes and molded cleats is like comparing apples and oranges.
Both have different purposes and are available in a wide variety of prices and brands with distinctive features.
While it is important to remember that a higher price tag doesn’t necessarily mean a better shoe, it is also vital to make sure that you buy the one which meets your requirement.
For example, if you are going to be playing in the rainy season on muddy grounds, then a pair of molded cleats between the two is an obvious choice.
However, there are plenty of affordable turf shoes/cleats available in the market that are reasonably priced and offer fantastic comfort and traction.
It would be best if you chose the right pair of shoes for yourself to avoid any unforeseeable mishap.
Safety Concerns of Molded Cleats and Turf Shoes
Unfortunately, injuries are common occurrences in competitive sports, and therefore we need to take maximum precautions, chiefly in games involving intense physical activity.
Studies show that cleats with different types of spikes provide a wide variety of traction to the athletes; this means that if cleats are worn on a surface that they are not intended for, then it could lead to injuries like ankle sprains or knee injury, etc.
Similarly, turf shoes are known to cause a higher number of turf toe injuries because they sometimes tend to provide less sole support.
Therefore it is necessary you wear the correct supportive footwear to keep your toe from excessive bending.
Best Field Type for Molded Cleats and Turf Shoes
Turf shoes have small round grips that are ideal for surfaces where you don’t need to ‘prod-in’ the ground. Hence they are best suited for artificial turfs since they offer more traction and mobility on these synthetically groomed turfs.
Molded cleats, on the other hand, have spikes that work by puncturing the ground for more traction and absorption; hence, they are perfect for natural grounds.
Synthetic turfs lack depth, which offers these cleats less surface to dig in.
Therefore wearing molded cleats on artificial surfaces can be lead to unfortunate accidents and hence should be avoided.
Now, the choice is yours. You are the one to make the last and the final decision.
But before you decide on something, first think about your age, how much you can spend, and the leagues in which you’re participating. Think if you are in growth or not. Give priority to your position in the field.
Now, rethink the features of molded baseball cleats, metal cleats, and turf shoes. Match the same with your situation and ensure you are the right person to have the particular one that you choose. Everything that you plan to purchase depends according to your need.