Not All Cleats are Created Equal—The Differences Between Baseball, Soccer, Football, and Lacrosse Cleats

If you have multiple children playing multiple sports, chances are you are nearly drowning in gear. Different uniforms, balls, bats, rackets, bags, and more are needed for each sport, and the requirements seem to get more and more specific all the time.

Baseball, soccer, football, and lacrosse are all popular sports—so popular that your child may be involved in more than one of them in the course of the year. Due to the different playing surfaces, rules, and style of play of each of these games, a different type of cleat is designed for each. In fact, even within individual sports there are sometimes significant variations in cleat types based on position.

In order to help you navigate the world of sports cleats, we’ve put together this handy article so that you can understand at a glance which type is required for each sport and where you may be able to get away with some crossover use.

Baseball Cleats

types of cleats

Baseball is not a contact sport, and the running involved in baseball consists of short sprints that require the player to accelerate quickly. Therefore, baseball cleats are relatively lightweight and made with a toe cleat in front that allows the wearer to dig sharply into the dirt to get a quick takeoff.

Baseball cleats may use either plastic or metal spikes. They typically sit lower on the ankle as compared to football cleats. Lighter cleats are available for faster players, while power hitters and pitchers may select shoes with more support. Baseball cleats are not necessarily on the top of the list of equipment in terms of importance, so a premium cleat is not an essential purchase, especially when players are new to the sport. If your child plays soccer, he or she could get some crossover use out of soccer cleats for baseball season.

Soccer Cleats

Cleats are the most important element of a soccer player’s equipment since the game involves precise movements executed principally with the feet. Since soccer cleats are made for speed and agility, the spikes are shorter than in other sports, they sit low on the ankle, and they are lighter than football and baseball cleats. Different types of soccer cleats exist for play on different surfaces, such as grass, firm ground, or artificial turf.

types of cleats

In general, soccer cleats are constructed with two cleats at the front that are set wide apart from each other. Soccer cleats will never have a single cleat at the tip of the boot as this could easily injure another player due to the continuous kicking in close quarters that is required by the game. Cleats that are worn in football, lacrosse, and baseball are not permitted to be used in soccer games. In fact, soccer referees must ensure that all players are in fact wearing soccer cleats before the game begins—that’s how dangerous the wrong cleat can be to other players.

Football Cleats

types of cleats

Football cleats must allow the wearer to navigate a variety of ground conditions, from soft and wet to hard and dry. They are constructed to provide firm support and to withstand the rigors of the game. Uppers are constructed from leather or synthetic materials, and the majority of studs are placed along the outer edges of the boot to give support for the lateral movements required by the game. There are also usually two studs at the heel end and a total of five under the toe and ball of the foot. Like soccer cleats, studs are positioned so as not to endanger other players during the game given the high-contact nature of the sport. Studs are longer and sharper than in other sports to allow the for the traction necessary to pick up speed and change directions easily. Studs are available with many different lengths and properties in order to accommodate the different jobs of the various positions. Some shoes have replaceable studs, allowing players to customize them with the type that works best for them.

Football cleats vary a great deal according to the wearer’s position. Linemen need the increased ankle support that comes with wearing a higher-top boot. Quarterbacks often prefer a mid-cut boot, while players who need the greatest speed and range of movement choose a lighter, lower-cut boot.

Lacrosse Cleats

types of cleats

Like football cleats, lacrosse cleats are made to withstand multiple field conditions, which may vary from wet and slippery to hard. Placement of individual cleats and materials used are similar to football cleats. Lacrosse boots are manufactured to offer increased breathability and often are constructed with mesh vents to allow moisture to escape. Lacrosse cleats come in varied ankle heights so that players can opt for greater support or flexibility depending on their position and their preference.

Typically, there are four studs around the heel and six to eight in the upper region of the sole. Lacrosse cleats, like baseball cleats, do have a toe cleat. Baseball cleats could do double duty as lacrosse cleats, particularly for beginners who are choosing between the two sports.

Wayne Sporting Goods—Every Cleat for Every Sport!

Don’t let your child get stuck with the wrong type of cleat for his or her chosen sport—visit us at Wayne Sporting Goods for expert advice and a perfect fit! Our experts will ensure that you choose the right type of cleat and then will help you to understand all your options based on your child’s skill level, field position, fit preferences, and more. Our friendly staff members understand the team sports that require cleats and know how to advise you in choosing the best one from the overwhelming number of options. Buy local for the ideal fit—stop into Wayne Sporting Goods today!

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