Which pair of cleats will be the best for you? Metal or molded baseball cleats? – it’s one of those things that can be debated amongst baseball players. Therefore, the topic of “metal vs molded baseball cleats” can become confusing when trying to decide which one to go with.
We cannot advise which would work best for you but can make sure that this article provides you with as much detail so that you can make an informed decision when choosing metal vs. molded baseball cleats.
Hopefully we cover all aspects of this topic to help make your decision easier.
Related: The Most Comfortable Baseball Cleats
3 Excellent Metal, Molded, and TPU Cleats from Amazon (Quick List)
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Table Of Contents
The Difference Between Metal and Molded Cleats
To make it clearer, here are some more details on different types of baseball cleats.
Baseball cleats are mainly made of genuine or synthetic leather and have either metal or molded plastic/rubber studs.
In the case of metal cleats, the studs are made of high-quality metals. In some cases, there are rubber caps for metal cleats.
When you have molded cleats, the studs can be either plastic or rubber.
Metal cleats are comparatively better in providing traction as the metal spikes dig into the ground more easily.
Due to the better traction, metal baseball cleats are quite popular among older experienced players.
Conversely, molded cleats don’t have sharp studs and therefore don’t provide as much traction.
For specific players:
On the field, both infielder and pitcher baseball cleats are usually made of metal due to the increased traction and maneuverability they provide. Since infielders and pitchers are positioned on the dirt, the extra traction is helpful.
On the other hand, outfielder baseball cleats usually feature molded materials because they are positioned on the grass and molded plastic/rubber provides adequate traction on the grass surface.
Safety and approval:
Metal cleats are restricted in most (if not all) youth baseball leagues due to safety concerns. Therefore, in youth baseball, you likely always see that molded cleats are being used by the players.
Use off the field:
In the cases where players are off the field, the molded cleats may provide better stability as the metal cleats can be quite slippery on certain surfaces.
There may not be much difference with regards to durability. Depending on the brand, both metal and molded cleats can be quite durable.
Molded cleats are usually more affordable and thankfully so since molded cleats are used for youth baseball where kids are still growing quickly and require new cleat sizes frequently.
Most popular brands like Nike, Adidas, and Reebok have their own designs and models in both molded and metal cleats.
In some cases, you can have the best of both worlds by going with interchangeable cleats.
Interchangeable cleats allow the studs to be removed and replaced. This means you can replace the studs with either metal or rubber/plastic. The studs are screwed and can easily be removed/replaced.
One thing to note is that these interchangeable cleats are more likely to be pricier than the other options.
Excellent Metal Cleat from New Balance
New Balance Men’s Fresh Foam 3000 V5 Metal Baseball Shoe
Brand: New Balance
Type: Metal Baseball Cleats
If you are looking for a pair of metal cleats without breaking the bank, then the New Balance 3000 V5 Baseball Shoe is an excellent choice for you. This metal baseball cleat features a 100% synthetic sole and imported materials, providing decent performance while keeping its cost down.
Furthermore, the 3000 V5 incorporates a Fresh Foam midsole cushioning, providing unparalleled comfort and a lightweight feel when worn. In addition, the low-cut design and TPU/poly combo mesh reaction-diffusion design help the ankles of its users to freely move in any direction.
New Balance provides its users with 8 strategically placed metal spikes under the 3000 V5, allowing the cleats to easily dig in the dirt for better traction and maneuverability. Lastly, the lace cage of the 3000 V5 secures the laces, preventing accidental tripping when running.
- 100% synthetic sole
- Fresh Foam midsole cushioning
- Low-cut design
- TPU/Pol Combo Mesh
- 8 metal spike outsole
- Provides excellent traction and maneuverability thanks to its metal spikes.
- Offers youth baseball cleats for wide feet sizes.
- The materials of the shoes provide a comfortable and lightweight feel.
- The sizes of the 3000 V5 are true to size.
- We do not advise this baseball cleat for beginners as it features sharp materials.
The Best Molded Baseball Cleat from New Balance
New Balance Men’s 4040 V5 TPU Molded Baseball Shoe
Brand: New Balance
Type: Molded Baseball Cleats
The New Balance 4040 V5 TPU Molded Baseball Shoe is undeniably an excellent value for its price. Featuring innovative technologies such as Kinetic stitchings and REVlite midsoles, the 4040 V5 TPU is a molded cleat to be reckoned with.
The New Balance 4040 V5 TPU features a synthetic-nubuck base paired with a rubber sole, resulting in a lightweight feel when used. In addition, the innovative Kinetic stitchings enable the 4040 V5 TPU to possess off-the-charts durability and flexibility. Plus New Balance incorporated a TPU film overlay to protect the Kinetic stitching from abrasions.
Moreover, the 4040 V5 TPU features the REVlite midsole that provides increased comfort and responsiveness from the cleats. Plus, the elastic tongue offers a comfortable fit on the top side of its user’s foot. Lastly, the Nylon Combat Mesh lining paired with its molded foam heel improves the overall comfort and durability of the 4040 V5 TPU.
- Kinetic Stitching
- TPU outsole design
- Nylon Combat Mesh lining
- Synthetic-nubuck base
- REVlite midsole
- Offers a selection of sizes for both wide and narrow feet.
- Provides decent comfort and fit.
- Features a traditional lace-up system for a more secure fit.
- The low-cut design allows users to have unrestricted ankle motion.
- The molded cleats of this shoe provide less traction compared to metal cleats.
The Ultimate Balance Between Molded and Metal Baseball Cleats
Adidas Afterburner 6 Men’s Metal Baseball Cleats
Type: TPU Baseball Cleats
Premium doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive with the adidas Afterburner 6 Metal Baseball Cleats. Featuring various innovative adidas technologies, the Afterburner 6 sits at the top of our list when it comes to excellent metal baseball cleats.
The adidas Afterburner 6 features the SprintSkin material that provides the shoes with improved stability and support. In addition, the LIGHTSTRIKE midsole offers excellent cushioning, especially when running and jumping as players execute intricate plays. Moreover, the SPRINTFRAME plate of the Afterburner 6 features TPU studs that provide the durability and traction of metal cleats while sharing a lightweight property comparable to molded cleats.
Furthermore, the Afterburner 6 provides a customized fit thanks to its widened lacing system. Plus, the tongue-less construction of the Afterburner 6 provides a sock-like compressive fit similar to the ultralightweight soccer cleats.
- Adidas SprintSkin
- LIGHTSTRIKE midsole cushioning
- TPU studs and overlayed toe cap
- Widened lacing system
- Tongue-less construction
- Provides an excellent balance between metal vs molded baseball cleats.
- Boasts a premium feel.
- Great value for its price.
- The placements of the TPU toe caps prevent users from contracting foot abrasions.
- The white and gold colorway of the Afterburner 6 requires meticulous maintenance and cleaning.
Now, the choice is yours. You are the one who has to make the final decision. But before making the final decision, I want to take a few minutes to give you some suggestions.
Consider the different factors such as your age, the league rules, and your budget for cleats. Also, the type of cleats might depend on the baseball position you’ll be playing. With these in mind and the details provided above, you should be able to make an informed decision on the best cleats for you.
Frequently Asked Questions about Molded and Metal Cleats
Q: Are molded cleats better than metal?
In general, molded cleats are lighter compared to metal cleats; therefore, coaches typically recommend beginners to wear molded cleats. In addition, molded cleats are decently robust and versatile. Still, metal cleats provide excellent maneuverability and durability compared to molded cleats, which makes them the go-to for experienced baseball players. The answer to this question is more of a preference. For instance, if you prefer a lighter pair of shoes, you should go for molded cleats. Conversely, if you require enhanced maneuverability and durability, you should pick metal cleats. Lastly, we only recommend metal cleats for experienced players who know how to slide properly with the help of baseball sliding shorts. For beginners, we recommend them to wear molded cleats for safety reasons.
Q: Do baseball cleats make a difference?
Yes, metal baseball cleats comparatively perform better compared to molded cleats due to their more durable construction. In addition, metal cleats can dig into dirt better than molded cleats, resulting in improved traction and maneuverability during games. However, the heavier nature of metal baseball cleats may cause discomfort to beginners; therefore, we highly recommend young players and beginners stick to molded baseball cleats as they learn to move comfortably around the playing area.
Q: Are metal or plastic cleats better for baseball?
As stated, the debate between metal vs molded baseball cleats boils down to preference. However, if we were to put this debate from an objective point of view, metal cleats provide excellent durability and maneuverability compared to plastic cleats; therefore, metal cleats are better than plastic. Still, metal cleats are more dangerous compared to plastic cleats due to their sharp design, risking beginners from cutting themselves or others, especially when sliding on bases. As a result, we only recommend metal cleats for experienced baseball players or beginners who are ready to make the jump from plastic cleats to metal cleats.
Q: Do MLB players wear metal cleats?
Yes, MLB players wear metal cleats due to the advantages it provides compared to molded cleats such as improved maneuverability and traction. In addition, metal cleats provide better durability in comparison with molded cleats, making them an excellent choice for the intense level of play in professional leagues. Still, there are some professional players that sport molded baseball cleats because of their lighter weight, allowing professionals to run faster without constraint.
Q: How long do metal baseball cleats last?
Typically, metal baseball cleats can last from a full year up to a couple of seasons due to their highly durable build. However, these figures may change depending on how frequently you use your metal cleats and the type of ground you play in. For instance, the quality of metal cleats will degrade faster when you use them to train on rocky fields compared to artificial grass.