14 Best Fastpitch Softball Cleats (2024 Buyer’s Guide)

When you think of softball equipment you tend to think of the bats, gloves, and uniforms a player will need.

When you are young, sneakers will do just fine for softball. But as you progress you’ll need more of an edge, and that is where cleats fit in.

Like other equipment – finding the best fastpitch softball cleats – is quite overwhelming! There are numerous brands, features that hardly make sense, and price points that make you scream.

Our goal of this page is to simplify the process, and make it somewhat enjoyable (as enjoyable as footwear can be). We look at the top choices, and answer some of the more common questions you may have.

Best Overall Softball Cleats

The best fastpitch softball cleats available right now are the Mizuno Swift 6. When you combine how well they perform, and how durable they are – you expect to pay top dollar. Thankfully, comparing the Swift 6 cleats to others, these are quite inexpensive and will make many softball players very happy!

best fastpitch softball cleats

The Swift 6 cleats feature Mizuno’s popular 9-Spike technology. As you can probably guess, this means that 9 spikes have been placed on the bottom of each cleats in specific spots to provide better traction and speed. In addition to this enhanced traction, the Swift 6 has been made for female players and has been maximized to benefit specific softball movements like moving quickly in the outfield, and being able to pivot with ease.

The bottom of the Shift 6 features a Mizuno Wave plate. Although this sounds a bit rigid and the worst thing to add to a set of cleats – it actually shifts energy on impact with the ground to a larger area. This allows for more of a soft feel while running which day after day can make a large impact!

Runner Up – New Balance Velo V3

best softball cleats

Like the Mizuno Swift 6 mentioned earlier, the New Balance Velo V3 cleats make a great choice for softball players. The main reason for being the “runner up” is that they are slightly more expensive. However – you can’t go wrong with either pair as both are made specially for softball play.

One advantage that the Velo V3 cleats may have over the Mizuno Swift 6 is that they feature a new Fresh Foam X midsole. This provides a couple of advantages as they provide more cushioning and provide more comfort as they will provide more of a form fit. These cleats also pack another advantage that many don’t like to discuss – the ability to reduce smelly feet! The mesh mixed with synthetic leather on the upper side helps provide more breathability and reduces odor (and making people sick!).

Best Youth Softball Cleats – Mizuno Finch Lightrevo

best softball cleats 2024

What better way for a young player to get into the game than with a show named after the most famous softball player of all time? Just about everyone has heard of Jennie Finch. And now your young player can wear the Mizuno Finch Lightrevo cleats with that famous name attached.

One of the main reasons that these are so great for youth players is due to their lightweight design. As you can imagine – the last thing a younger player needs is a heavy pair of footwear that they can barely run in! These cleats are also molded as children this age really shouldn’t be wearing metal spikes and doing damage to their knees and feet. Although they are molded, they do still provide a great amount of traction so players can fly around the bases and run through dirt with ease.

Top Budget Cleats – Nike Lunar Hyperdiamond 3

Most metal fastpitch cleats will cost you at least $75 – especially if they are durable and provide comfort. The keyword here is most as I think the Nike Lunar Hyperdiamond 3 cleats might be the exception. Costing less than $70 in popular sizes, there are many things to like about this model.

Like the Mizuno Swift cleats we looked at earlier, the Nike Lunar Hyperdiamond’s also feature a flexible plate below the foot area which allows you to cut, stop, and be able to switch direction with ease. Within the plate, 9 metal spikes are placed in strategic angles to provide you with even greater traction.

As you might be able to tell from the picture above, the exterior is made with a sleek mesh material. This mesh material helps make the cleats light and provide better air circulation keeping your feet cooler. Think of those hot days and sweaty feet – and you’ll quickly realize how helpful this will be!

Cleats for Foot Conditions

According to the Orthopedic Associates, 75% of Americans will experience foot pain at some point. To me – that number is crazy and was a surprise! Although this isn’t split into general population and those that are more athletic – it isn’t shocking that many softball players also experience a variety of foot conditions.

Let’s take a look at the top choices for cleats for the more common foot conditions.

New Balance Velo V2 – for Wide Feet

Players with wide feet are in a difficult situation. Many standard shoe (and cleat) sizes just don’t work and end up fitting too tight. This leads to blisters, bunions, and many other problematic issues. Even with all of these problems – it’s just not comfortable to wear cleats that are too tight. The last thing any player wants to worry about during a game is how bad they want to remove their footwear.

For those with wide feet – I believe the New Balance Velo V2 cleats would eliminate these concerns. New Balance has always been in the forefront when it comes to innovation for athletes – especially for those with specific foot conditions. The Velo V2 cleats come in a variety of sizes including specific wide versions.

These cleats include a full size Fresh Foam midsole which acts as a cushion under the middle and heel portions of your feet. This is a nice feature for any player – let alone those with wide feet. Performance wise the New Balance Velo V2’s provide cleats that promise to provide the player with exception traction whether you need more speed in the infield or outfield.

Mizuno Sweep 4 – For Ankle Support

Weak or injured ankles can really hamper how much speed and power you can rely on. If you already have injured ankles, you probably own your own brace already. However if you are looking to prevent ankle and foot issues and are looking for a bit more support, you may find that mid or high top cleats help more than the low cut versions. For that reason we have chosen the Mizuno Sweep 4 cleats for ankle support.

The Sweep 4’s come with a full length midsole to provide players with more cushioning support in the heel and toe areas. This will help quite a bit in keeping your ankles in place while keeping you comfortable. They also include Mizuno patented Parallel Outside Wave technology which provides more stability and additional cushioning. This keeps your feet protected from impact sent to your ankle area, and eliminates some of the pressure you’d feel when planting your feet in throws.

Top Option for Plantar Fasciitis (Flat Feet)

As someone with flat feet – let me tell you – it hurts! Any sort of new shoe ends up making me feel like I am being stabbed in the bottom of my non-existent arch area. Some problems for those with flat feet include overpronation which means your feet will lean inwards while moving. Although I have never had plantar fasciitis, it is my understanding that people with flat feet are prone to this condition and end up in immense pain. It’s one thing to have pain on the field, but it’s another to have it all of the time!

Although we’ve looked at specific cleats so far in this article, I wanted to switch things up a bit for this section. Unless you are looking for incredibly expensive specialized footwear, there aren’t any cleats that will solve the flat foot problem on their own. Instead I believe the better option is the Superfeet Insoles as a compliment to which pair of cleats you choose.

These insoles would insert right into your cleats allowing your feet to feel a bit of relief! One thing I always wondered before my first set of insoles in how they actually stayed in place. These insoles in particular have a heel stabilizer system which almost lock into place in the back of your shoe. This keep the extra cushion padding in place even if you are running in many different direction like in softball.

Position Specific Cleats

Just like we described on our best softball gloves page, the position you play could influence the choice of cleats you make as well.

As we described in our softball vs baseball fields post, most infields in softball are all dirt. Therefore someone on the infield tends to require a cleat that can pierce hard dirt from hot & dry weather, and that is able to grip wet and muddy surfaces in the event of rainfall.

Outfielders on the other hand have grass surface to worry about.

While pitchers and catchers are a whole different issue! Let’s take a look.

New Balance Fuse v3 – Best Softball Cleats for Pitchers

Footwear for pitchers can be a bit tricky. Some prefer metal cleats but some leagues and age group prohibit their use until an older age. We will cover our top molded choice later in this article but for now we will assume that you can use metal cleats. Our top choice for pitchers are the New Balance Fuse v3 cleats.

The Fuse V3’s are a bit on the expensive side, but are made entirely with leather to ensure they keep their shape for many games. This leather construction also provides the pitcher with a more comfortable, form fit to keep them fresh as long as possible.

One thing you might notice from the image above is the toe-guard that has been added to the front of these cleats. More commonly known as a pitching toe, this addition provides more longevity to the cleats. One thing pitchers do in softball that is slightly different from baseball is the amount of dragging of the toes during the pitch. In fact, if you don’t drag your toes, a pitcher may get called for an illegal pitch (crow hopping). As you can imagine dragging your toes pitch after pitch can cause some serious wear so having a pitching toe applied is a big help.

New Balance Fuse 2 – Top Cleats For Catchers

Catcher is without a doubt the most demanding position when it comes to the lower body. Not only is it difficult on the knee’s and quad area in the crouch, but you are constantly putting all of your weight into your foot area. Therefore in order to be as comfortable as possible, we believe the New Balance Fuse 2 cleats deserve consideration for catchers.

Similar to a pitcher, catcher cleats normally feature a bit more protection in the toe area. Although for catchers – this is more for pain management in the case of foul balls or wild pitches that land directly on the toe area. The Fuse 2 cleats feature a protective toe area that has been fused onto the shoe. This is much better than having it added on top of the cleat after the fact – especially when you are looking for durability.

The Fuse 2 cleats also feature a Revlite midsole which promise to provide more flexibility, impact control and less weight. If you think of the catcher position having cleats that have those features are a huge benefit!

New Balance Fuse V3 – for Outfielders

Outfielders tend to prefer metal cleats over molded ones as they pick up less grass while you run. As you can imagine – picking up a large patch of grass will affect your speed and ability to track down fly balls. Metal cleats are also more advantageous for outfielders as they tend to plant their toes harder into the ground. For these reasons, we believe the New Balance Fuse 3 cleats will help you in the outfield.

The Fuse V3 cleats feature 8 strategically placed metal spikes on the bottom that provide an outfielder with a great amount of traction and piercing ability. Tracking down fly balls is one of the biggest jobs of an outfielder which can mean lots of running and quick turning. Having spikes that provide better grip in the grass is a huge advantage.

Under Armour Glyde – for Infielders

Infielders are bit trickier when it comes to picking out cleats largely because it often can depend on the surface they play on. If the surface tends to be hard then metal is the way to go. If however the ground you play on is soft or muddy then molded cleats would be best for obtaining a better grip. Infielders tend to also prefer a low cut cleat as they provide more speed so you can react to split-second decisions.

For these reasons, we believe the Under Armour Glyde cleats would be an ideal choice for infielders. One thing that Under Armour does with all of their equipment is not skip out on any details. The Glyde cleats in particular feature extra padding around the heel and tongue area to provide more support and comfort. They also feature a synthetic upper side with a textile mesh toe area making them feel just like a regular pair of sneakers.

Although they won’t drag their toes as much as pitchers do, infielders still may end dragging their fair amount especially when planting their feet. The Glyde cleats also feature a plastic like film on top of the toe cap to keep them in tip-top shape.

Types of Cleats

You may have noticed a bit of a theme so far in this article with respect to different types of cleats that are available. Although we have focused predominantly on those with metal spikes, there are also molded/TPU and turf variations when it comes to cleats. Here is a brief overview for each:

  • Metal cleats: As you can probably guess, metals cleats are the most common as they provide the best traction on the field due to their ability to pierce through the ground. Performance wise – they can’t be beat. That being said – they are more expensive, don’t last as long, and aren’t as comfortable. They are normally reserved for players at the high school level and above.
  • Molded cleats: These cleats are perfect at all levels. Sometimes called TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) as well, these cleats are more durable than metal cleats but do not grip nearly as well. At non-competitive and younger levels, these are the ideal choice as they offer much more versatility.
  • Turf shoes: Turf shoes (or sometimes known as trainers) are used on artificial turf fields or in practice/training. They are most like sneakers and only provide a little bit of extra grip. Think of them as a more specialized shoe for outside of game days.

Let’s take a look at our top choices for each category.

Mizuno Swift 7 – Best Metal Cleats for Softball

Many of the categories covered above include a pair of metal cleats. That makes choosing the best metal softball cleats a bit of a challenge as it could depend on many different situations. With careful consideration, we decided to select the Mizuno Swift 7’s as the ideal metal cleats as they are one of the most popular models year after year.

So what makes these cleats so great? For one they are made specifically for softball players. These aren’t baseball cleats being advertised in the softball category. They have been constructed for softball specific movements which tends to mean more speed and quicker footwork. Additionally, more cushioning support and comfort is provided including extra padding in the tongue area.

We’ve discussed this in another section earlier, but the Mizuno Swift 7’s also include 9-spikes on the bottom. These spikes have been placed with thought in mind so a softball player can get the best grip and traction as possible. Many reviewers have indicated how well these cleats fit and feel – so I think they would make a great choice for many players!

Top Molded Cleats – Mizuno 9-Spike Finch Elite 4

As we explained earlier, molded cleats won’t provide you as much traction as metal. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t any options that can perform well for most players (especially when metal spikes can’t be used). We feel the Mizuno 9-Spike Finch Elite 4 cleats meet that criteria, and will help you a lot on the softball field.

Arguably one of the most famous softball players of all time – Jennie Finch – had input in the design process for these cleats. Knowing the game so well, you know that her input is incredibly valuable when it comes to how your feet should feel. Many reviews have mentioned how much comfort they provide which is key in those long games and double header tournaments!

Even though these are molded cleats, they still feature the same 9-spike outsole that you’ll find in the metal version. We discussed this a bit in other cleat reviews, but the 9 plastic spikes have been placed strategically to provide softball players with the best traction and performance.

Best Softball Turf Shoes – New Balance Velo V2

The last pair of cleats we look at are the New Balance Velo V2 turf shoes. I shouldn’t really call these cleats as they don’t offer any sort of plastic or metal spike on the outsole. But since we have covered thousands of words on footwear already – what’s a few more!

These turf shoes are perfect for training as they offer a bit of traction/grip despite feeling just like a comfortable pair of sneakers. These come in handy as you probably want to avoid using your cleats at every single practice (unless you have an unlimited supply of cleats). Although rare, you may end up playing on artificial turf surfaces as well. In that case you’ll need turf shoes as cleats (metal and molded) will not be permitted.

One of the main benefits of the Velo 2 turf shoes are the FRESH FOAM midsole construction. This midsole cushioning has been carefully tested and designed to provide the player with extra support and more speed due to its lightweight. Although there are no spikes in these shoes, if you look at the picture above you’ll notice a very detailed pattern on the outsole. This will provide players with as much agility and traction as possible in the absence of spikes.

Buyer’s Guide and FAQ

We’ve spent the majority of this article looking at different models of cleats that will help players at different positions, those dealing with foot conditions, and those are certain age levels. This section is a bit different where I wanted to answer some of the more common questions that arise around cleats.

best softball cleats

What features are most important?

Cleats are athletic shoes that protect the foot with good resistance and grip to ensure stability and good performance. When it comes to choosing the right cleat, the athlete’s position on the field is a key item to consider.

Types of Cleats

Athletes purchasing their first pair of cleats should take into account not only the amount of traction offered, but also the fit and type.

Metal Cleats

The first type is metal. Metal cleats are considered a controversial issue, as they are usually prohibited due to the potential damage they could cause if coming into contact with other players. Metal studs are located around the outer edge of the cleat and offer easy traction due to their thinness.

Molded cleats

Molded cleats are the second type. The studs of molded cleats are composed of non-removable rubber and are lighter than metal. There are more studs located around the outsole, making them easier on a player’s feet. Softball athletes just starting out are encouraged to buy molded cleats due to their comfortability and wear.


The last type of cleats are called training/turf cleats. The name turf alludes to the fact that they are gentler on turf and will not damage it. They still offer good traction and are best for playing on artificial surfaces.

Wear and Tear

Like any other athletic boot, cleats shouldn’t be too tight, nor too loose. Trying cleats on with socks will give a player a realistic impression of how tight it will be during a game.

If allowed to wear metal cleats, they do have a longer lifespan, but can be worn down over time when coming into contact with pavement and concrete. They allow the player to feel more balanced due to the widespread distribution of the studs.

Molded cleats are susceptible to damage when worn often on surfaces like pavement, but have removable studs that are easily replaceable. Harsh weather conditions also play a role in the wearing down of molded cleats, which regular players are no strangers to.

best fastpitch cleats 2024

Do you have to wear cleats in softball?

Cleats are a must when playing softball. With all the running, sliding, and touching base, players need some form of traction to keep them safe and help their performance.

Cleats differ from regular athletic shoes because they are designed to uphold themselves and the player against different surfaces, whether that be a natural or artificial playing ground.

Overall, as players move up leagues they need to be aware of the state of their cleats and available traction.

The following leagues have certain rules and regulations when wearing cleats.

Tee Ball

This league specializes in teaching girls from the ages of 4-7 the rules of the game and encourages teamwork. It is described as a ‘class for beginners’ to get them interested in the real deal, with parents allowed to coach.

They play in a 60 foot diamond and pitching is prohibited.

Minor League

Composed of kids from the ages of 5-11, Minor League focuses on the age group and experience. Instead of being an extracurricular class, it can be competitive and offer different divisions itself, with 35 feet as the pitching distance.

Little League

This league is for kids between the ages of 9-12. The 60 foot diamond is still used, and the pitching distance is 45 feet.

Kids from a Tournament or All Stars team can be chosen to compete in the International Tournament and eventually move on to the World Series.

Junior Division

From the ages of 12-14, kids in this division are given a max of 43 foot pitching distance and can also choose others from a Tournament team and enter into the International Tournament.

Senior Division

Girls, ages 13-16, also have the 43 foot pitching distance and can enter the International Tournament.

With each increasing league, kids are given the opportunity to be chosen from divisions to play and compete against other teams worldwide. The necessity for cleats rises as well as players become more competitive and serious.

What age can you wear metal cleats?

In the American world of soccer, metal cleats are allowed due to the statement issued by the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), claiming that it is up to the referee to decide if they are allowed to be worn. High school and college level soccer permit the use, unless the referee makes a different call.

Metal cleats in the baseball and softball world face a harsher discipline. They are not often allowed in younger-aged leagues due to the potential harm they could cause other players, from bruising to tearing skin.

In 2008, the NFHS Softball Rules Committee altered the metal cleats rule to allow players to wear metal cleats, due to the better traction they offered. There were many disputes over this decision, especially between states, about the concern over player safety.

Today, metal cleats are mainly used by pro players instead of people who play recreational softball.

Little League states that Little League Majors must have no metal cleats, whereas Intermediate 50/70, Junior, and Senior Leagues can use metal cleats.

The Little League has their own Rulebook App that can be accessed through the Apple Store and Google Play, giving insight into their updated rules and regulations.

do softball cleats sizes run small

Do softball cleats run small?

Softball cleats’ sizing is similar to any athletic shoe. The goal is to ensure that the cleat isn’t too loose, but tight enough that it will stay on without squeezing the foot.

Balance is essential when choosing a boot, allowing the player to stay on their toes and be even with the ground. Players can purchase orthotics to be worn with cleats.

Players should get their feet measured beforehand. If in between sizes, choosing the tighter fit will ensure that the player won’t slip and injure themselves during the game.

Girl’s cleats are known to run small, so in certain situations it is acceptable to buy half a size larger. If a player is choosing from the boy’s cleat section and the sizing is too large, trying girl cleat sizes is an option.

When choosing the right cleat, players can also differentiate between Low-Cut and High-Cut cleats.

Low-Cut relieves pressure from the ankle due to its lighter build, increasing agility. A main drawback of Low-Cut is that there is less weight support and it is easier to experience ankle injuries.

High-Cut have better ankle support and are heavier due to the excess material in them.

Are softball and baseball/soccer cleats the same?

Although softball and baseball/soccer cleats are created with the same design and build in mind, softball cleats are made to deliver better traction and soccer cleats to aid with mobility.

Softball studs are distributed directly around the boot and are longer around the perimeter to allow for certain techniques, like a hip torque, to sustain the player.

The front of the softball cleat should be able to pivot correctly in order for the player to ensure best performance while hitting and throwing.

Soccer cleats are usually molded with studs located around the exterior so they offer better traction, long-term usage, and elevation compared to softball cleats. The placement of the studs is due to the constant stopping and starting of soccer players with traction being key.

One downside to having too much traction in a cleat is the constant applied force, which can cause long term knee problems for soccer players.

Another factor to note is that the type of cleats can affect both traction and mobility. Metal cleats tend to sink lower into the ground and can slow down a player, whereas plastic ones are better in inclement weather.