Softball Cleats vs Soccer Cleats (9 Interesting Differences)


difference between softball and soccer cleats

Soccer and softball are 2 sports that require respectively specific cleats to be played properly on the field! Cleats of both sports might look similar in the most part …

… However, there are many differences that you should be aware of, especially, if you are a practitioner of one of them, or better yet, both of them!

In this short article, I breakdown the main differences and similarities of those cleats.

Let’s Go!

Soccer Cleats vs. Softball Cleats – General Differences

Soccer Cleats Softball Cleats
Size Smaller Larger & Heavier
Protection Good Protection More Protection around the ankle
Comfort No noticeable difference No noticeable difference
Weight Lighter Heavier
Running friendly Better for Straight line Running Better for Changing Direction
Cost Slightly more expensive Slightly cheaper
Durability Lasts slightly longer Lasts slightly shorter

1) Size

Softball cleats are both bulkier and heavier than soccer cleats. In part this is due to design – whilst softball cleats can be both high top and low top, soccer cleats are exclusively low top.

In addition, softball cleats offer more protection around the ankle area.  That means that there is more shoe to cover the foot, therefore, softball cleats are larger.

2) Comfort

Neither cleat is more comfortable than the other; however, that is not to say that comfort should be ignored when considering which cleat to choose.

On the contrary, cleats should be comfortable, should fit well, and neither pinch the foot nor have too much excess room. In general, softball cleats with a high cut design offer greater support to the ankle, whilst a lower cut provides greater flexibility and movement.

Soccer boots only come in low cut design, because too much protection in the upper area would impede movement and control of the ball.

3) Weight

Softball shoes weigh more than soccer cleats because they are bulkier, have more protection in the ankle, and typically have an upper top to them. Soccer boots have become lighter over the years, with protection in some cases sacrificed for speed. In part this has been afforded by soccer balls now being lighter than they used to be.

4) Adapted for Running?

Both soccer and softball cleats are adapted for running, but in different ways. Soccer is a game where there is a lot of running in straight lines, so cleats for that game are designed to help sprinting.

Softball, on the other hand, requires frequent changes of direction, so players need something that will provide grip and traction. That is why software cleats have an extra spike.

5) Cost

There is a wide range of prices which you can expect to pay for both types of cleats, with those produced by well-known brands the most expensive.

In addition, it depends on the type of material used in the construction, with genuine leather being the most expensive.

However, advances in design and manufacture mean that there are synthetic materials now available which offer almost the same performance as leather at a much more affordable price.

Typically, softball cleats are slightly less expensive.

6) Durability

How long a cleat in either sport last depends on how much wear they get, although soccer cleats tend to last longer of the two.

A soccer cleat can last several years, although some people will want to change them if they feel they are losing traction, or the ability to perform to their best on the pitch.

The weight of the soccer cleat can also make a big difference. Whilst lightweight cleats are the preference of most players, they are also the fastest to wear out.

The type of soccer pitch can also make a difference. Playing regularly on rough or uneven surfaces means that you should expect them to last as long as if most of your games are played on lawn-like conditions.

Softball cleats typically do not last longer than one season because of the wear and tear involved. At a pinch, a pair may last a year or two – it depends how often somebody plays, and how rough they are in their approach.

As always, in part how long a cleat last is also a function of how much they cost in the first place. Cleats can be expensive and, to try and save money, people can be tempted to opt for some of the lower cost models on the market.

The problem is that often these are made with inferior materials and have to be replaced more frequently.

7) Safety

Soccer and softball cleats are designed specifically to suit the individual sport, meaning that not only are factors like the demands and needs of the game are considered in their design, but consideration given to factors like player comfort and safety.

That is why it is recommended only to play soccer with soccer cleats and likewise for softball.

Attempting to play the games with cleats from another sport will not only mean sub-optimal performance, but you can also be putting yourself, and other people on the pitch at risk of injury.

This is particularly true of softball cleats which have a spike in the toe area.

8) Material

Traditionally soccer cleats were made of leather, but their design has evolved over time and now they are constructed from a combination of synthetic fibres, which may, or may not, contains leather elements.

Softball cleats are generally made out of one of three materials – real leather, synthetic leather, and mesh. Real leather is the most supple and durable and costs the most.

9) Design

One difference in their design is that softball cleats often have an upper cut to provide protection to the ankle and upper part of the foot, something that is missing in soccer cleats.

The arrangement of the cleats also varies between the two shoes. On softball shoes the cleats arranged in horizontal patterns around the toe, heel, and middle of the shoe.

By contrast, the cleats on a soccer boot tend to be arranged more around the perimeter of the boot.

Best Cleats for soccer …

One of the best current soccer cleats on the market is the Adidas Men’s Predator Firm Ground (Check it Here on Amazon)

They have been specially designed to mould round the foot, and shaped with soft textile and synthetic uppers, the shoe offers both comfort and support, and offers superior grip, even on the firmest surfaces, yet it is flexible to handle softer ground as well.

They are manufactured in such a way that the promote ball control and touch, and, even in the tightest game situations, enables the wearer to deliver the ball with accuracy.

Best Cleats for softball …

A highly recommended softball cleat is the New Balance T4040 (Check it Here on Amazon)

New Balance shoes are designed to fit straight out of the box, and this model is no exception. They have a reinforced mesh upper which offers support and ventilation and a specially designed midsole which offers both comfort and cushioning.

For extra durability, the toe area has a Thermoplastic Polyurethane TPU) film overlay whilst the outsole is made of rubber with traction nubs to provide stability to a player.

In addition, this cleat comes with a nylon mesh lining, and has a thin, elasticated foam tongue designed to stretch around the foot.

Can you wear soccer cleats for softball?

Although you could wear soccer cleats for softball it is not advisable. That is because soccer cleats are lighter and offer less support to the upper foot and ankle than normal softball cleats.

Softball as a game involves frequent changes of direction, and twisting and turning, and wearing soccer cleats would increase the risk of injury.

Soccer cleats do not have the spike in the toe area, so it would be difficult to stop and grip the turf wearing them.

Can you wear softball cleats for soccer?

Softball cleats cannot be worn for soccer because the studs are at the front of the shoe.

This poses not only a potential risk to opponents but would make it difficult to control the ball with the toes or the front of the foot.

Wearing boots with cleats at the front is against the rules of soccer because of the danger than it poses.

Final Thoughts …

I really hope this article has answered your question about the main differences between both cleats!

Even myself I wasn’t aware of some differences!

I had to do my research to understand and share some of the details I’ve shared in this Post.

Hope you’ve liked it.

Claressa Cormier

Claressa Cormier has over 15 years of soccer experience between playing the sport at a semi-professional level, following the biggest soccer teams & leagues out there as well as helping beginners to get started on the right foot.

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