Spring training is underway and everyone is looking for an edge. We here at Diamond Kinetics know there is no great substitute for athleticism, but it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the gear we bring to the game can dramatically affect performance. As a swing technology company, we can appreciate the science behind quality athletic gear. Baseball cleats have come a long way over the years and there is no denying their importance to the player. A good pair of spikes keeps a player grounded and on their toes, so let’s take a look at some things to consider when trying to choose the right pair of cleats.
Picking the Right Cleats
1. Build Materials. Most cleats today are either constructed from leather or synthetic leather. Synthetic leather cleats are often more affordable which is a big draw, but there are many other things to consider. Synthetic leather is soft from the start and will not stretch out anymore to form to the foot. Synthetic leather cleats are often lighter in weight and less prone to water absorption.
Leather cleats may be more expensive but it’s the choice of many players. Leather cleats are stiff at first but once they’re stretched and broken in they provide great comfort. Quality leather is also much more breathable and durable than synthetic leather. Most top of the line cleats include a mixed construction of leather and synthetic leather to include the best qualities of support, durability and flexibility.
2. Ankle Support. The amount of ankle support needed by an individual can range on a case by case basis. Cleats often come in low-top, mid-top or high-top for ankle support. High-tops provide the greatest amount of support but are also the most restrictive. Players with a larger build who may typically be batting clean-up may often opt for the high-top design for the utmost support.
If speed is the priority it may be wise to go with low-top cleats which provide the most mobility. Batters at the top of the order may be seen wearing low-tops because they’re expected to get on base quickly and be the fastest guys around the bags. Finally, we have mid-top cleats which provide the best of both worlds: quick and easy movement with moderate ankle support.
3. Spike Type. What makes cleatsdifferent than turf shoes are the spikes attached to the bottom which provide better traction. There are a few different options when it comes to choosing the spikes on your cleats. Rubber (or molded) spikes can’t be removed from the cleats and are often best for turf, grass or outfielders. Rubber spikes are typically mandatory for youth-leagues for safety reasons.
Metal spikes are among the most popular today and work best on hard, compact dirt and they provide the best traction for the infield. Interchangeable spikes are great for players traveling and playing on different types of fields. Being able to switch between plastic and metal spikes keeps the player from having to pack another pair of cleats. New spikes can also be purchased once they other ones have worn down due to repeated use.
There’s no doubt that thorough research should be conducted before going out and buying cleats for the season. It helps to think of baseball cleats as extensions of the player because they truly do affect one’s performance on the field. When training off the field, Diamond Kinetics has you covered. Like the companies that design top of the line cleats, we value science and research. That’s why we try to help players perfect their baseball swing using our swing technology .