What Is the Difference Between Softball and Baseball Cleats?
America's first baseball players wore straw hats, wool pantaloons and, most likely, high-top, leather-soled athletic shoes typical of the mid-1800s. Softball began in the late 1800s as an indoor sport and many softball players also played in soft-sole shoes. As both sports evolved, the soft soled shoes were abandoned for the cleats we see today. Although both sports are very similar, the cleats used in both sports carry some key differences.
What is the difference in size between softball and baseball cleats?
There are significant size differences in baseball and softball cleats. The most notable one being the Toe Box. The Toe Box is the space in the front of the cleats for your toes. Baseball cleats have much more toe space whereas softball cleats have narrower Toe Boxes. This is because baseball cleats were originally designed for men, and softball cleats for women. The gendered design carries into the overall shape of the shoe with baseball cleats being long and narrow and softball cleats being round and blunt. Softball cleats are also lighter than baseball cleats
What is the difference in spikes between softball and baseball cleats?
The ASA historically has not allowed metal spikes to be worn by slowpitch softball players but permitted players at all levels to wear synthetic spikes. In recent years, the ASA has changed their rules regarding metal spikes for fastpitch softball as has the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). However, these spikes are much different from the ones seen on baseball cleats. In softball, the metal spikes are required to be rectangular, which is different from baseball which has no such requirement.
What is the difference in functionality between softball and baseball cleats?
While both cleats are designed to play the game that they are designated to, they do feature a key difference in functionality. Softball cleats are foremostly designed to provide comfort to the player wearing the shoes. In baseball, the cleats are designed first with running and sliding in mind. This design philosophy is why we see some of the major differences in the sports cleats.
- National Baseball Hall of Fame: Dressed to The Nines: A History of the Baseball Uniform
- The Dickson Baseball Dictionary; Paul Dickson
- MLB.com: Official Info
- LittleLeague.org: Tournament Rules and Guidelines for Little League Baseball
- NCAAPublications.com: Softball 2010 and 2011 Rules and Interpretations
- National Fastpitch Coaches Association: NFHS Approves Metal Cleats Among Rules Revisions
Laura Leddy Turner began her writing career in 1976. She has worked in the newspaper industry as an illustrator, columnist, staff writer and copy editor, including with Gannett and the Asbury Park Press. Turner holds a B.A. in literature and English from Ramapo College of New Jersey, with postgraduate coursework in business law.