What Is the Difference Between Soccer & Softball Cleats?

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A common misconception is that all cleats are the same, but different sports have different rules when it comes to the type and size of cleats the athletes must wear. Soccer and baseball cleats have some similarities, but there are noticeable and important differences between the two.

Soccer Cleats

Soccer cleats are only available as low-top shoes. Soccer cleats, unlike softball cleats, do not have a cleat in the front of the shoe. Soccer cleats have different formations meant to prevent injuries in the foot and Achilles regions. Soccer cleats usually are plastic, but a few brands offer metal cleats, which are allowed in some indoor leagues.

Softball Cleats

Softball cleats are available in low- and high-top forms and have a cleat in the front of the shoe. The cleat in the front of the shoe helps players dig into the field and push off the dirt, helping to prevent slippage while running. Softball cleats are available in metal or plastic; use depends on individuals leagues' rules and regulations.


It is illegal to use softball cleats while playing soccer because of the dangers of the front cleat. Soccer players use the front part of their foot more than softball or baseball players because of the nature of ball control. By not having a front cleat, soccer cleats help prevent injury to other players during tackling or errant kicks.


There are two main types of cleat in both soccer and softball and baseball: detachable and molded cleats. Detachable cleats can be screwed off and on; these come in both rubber and metal. Detachable cleats are useful if you play in multiple leagues with different cleat regulations; this will save you from having to buy multiple pairs of cleats. Molded cleats are individual cleats molded onto the shoe. They are more durable, and you do not have to worry about losing the individual cleats.


Most soccer leagues require players to have soccer cleats and do not allow participants to wear softball or baseball cleats because of the front cleat. However, it is okay in most softball leagues for a player to wear soccer cleats, though it is not necessarily advisable. Softball leagues do, however, have rules and regulations about wearing metal cleats, so check with your local softball league before buying cleats. Cleats always should fit snugly and be tied tight to help prevent injury.