Before buying equipment for your young female athlete, it is important to understand the requirements of her sport. Softball doesn’t require as much equipment as some more intense sports. However, equipment for softball players does need to include excellent footwear. Here are some of the features of softball cleats:
What are Cleats?
Generally, “cleats” refers to any shoe with projections on the sole. The spikes on cleats for softball have different spacing than cleats for other sports and are designed for providing the traction needed by softball players. Cleats help a player:
- Run faster.
- Stop more quickly.
- Move from side-to-side more precisely.
- Slide into base or home.
The spikes on softball cleats can be from either rubber, Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), or metal. Some cleats for pitchers have a reinforced toe area to protect the pitcher’s toe. Often cleats have an attached tongue to keep debris from getting into the shoe.
Types of Cleats
The biggest difference in cleats is whether spikes are metal or molded. While metal gives more traction, it also:
- Can be more dangerous when players slide.
- Tends to tear up the field.
- Are more expensive.
- Is prohibited in some situations.
Molded cleats are made out of either TPU or plastic. While these are less expensive to buy, they need to be replaced when the studs wear down.
Which Cleats to Choose?
Because fastpitch softball is more competitive, players in college, professional and competitive leagues are generally allowed to use metal cleats in games to help them steal a base. Some high school teams allow metal spikes and others do not, so it is important to find out what is allowed for your young athlete.
Important Features to Consider in Buying Softball Cleats
When buying cleats for softball, the brand or style is less important than getting a good fit. Here are some features to consider:
- Leather upper is more durable than synthetic but may be less flexible.
- If color is not required by the team, a darker color will hide the dirt better.
- Shoes with enhanced toe protection will be more durable.
- A style with a debris-free tongue can keep dirt out of the cleats.
- Choose a stud configuration specific to softball for best performance, traction, and stability.
Help in Choosing Softball Cleats
Do you need help in choosing the best softball cleats for your daughter? The experts at Longstreth Sporting Goods specialize in fitting equipment and footwear for young female players. While young players may focus more on style and color, the professionals at Longstreth can help her consider fit and how the shoe feels on her foot so that you get the shoe that most enhances her game. We also carry the best field hockey gear and lacrosse gear for your athlete.