Professional Approved: Best Baseball Cleats For Pitchers

best baseball cleats for pitchers

Why do Specific Baseball Cleats Matter?

When selecting baseball cleats for pitchers there are important standards that need to be evaluated: traction, stability, comfort, and mobility. Pitchers need to use baseball cleats that they can trust, not because they look the “coolest.” Every action we do in baseball begins from the ground up, therefore having the proper baseball cleats can be crucial for your performance.

Here is an analogy to help make sense, choosing the right baseball cleats for a pitcher is like selecting the right pencil for an artist. Just as an artist needs to feel comfortable with their tools to create their masterpiece, a pitcher needs to feel comfortable with their cleats to perform at their best. Like how different artists have their preferred pencils for their specific style, pitchers have their own preferences for cleats based on their unique foot shape, size, and movement patterns. A pitcher needs to find the right cleat that works best for their body, as it can make all the difference in their performance on the mound.

Pitchers need to remember that they are throwing down on a slope (the pitcher’s mound) with adrenaline, intensity, and gravity all playing a factor in your move. This can make stabilization difficult for baseball pitchers. A pitcher that is not stable, will not be as accurate or effective with their velocity. That is why I stress the importance of finding the right pair of cleats that allow your body to move as efficient as possible during your delivery.

In professional baseball, pitchers are frequently tested by strength and conditioning coaches for their ankle range of motion. This is a simple evaluation that can be used to determine a lack of ankle mobility. During my time in professional baseball, I did not think much of these tests. Yes, there were some tests that I did not pass, but why does this matter? After all, isn’t our arm the most important piece in throwing the baseball efficiently?

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Why is Ankle Range of Motion Important for Pitchers?

Adequate ankle range of motion is crucial for physical activities such as walking, running, jumping, and throwing, and is a measure of the degree of movement possible at the ankle joint. It signifies the degree to which the foot can move up, down, and sideways in relation to the leg, and helps in achieving proper positioning of the foot and leg, thereby reducing the risk of injury. In baseball, the significance of ankle range of motion is magnified for pitchers, who require a considerable range of motion in their ankles during the pitching motion to generate power and torque.

The back leg in the pitching delivery plays a critical role in generating power and force, and having an adequate ankle range of motion is crucial for this process. During the wind-up and stride phases of the pitching motion, the back foot remains in contact with the ground, and as the pitcher approaches release, the back foot begins to rotate inward and upward to help drive the body forward and generate power.

In order for this rotation and upward movement to occur smoothly, the ankle joint must have a sufficient range of motion. If the ankle is stiff or lacks mobility, the back foot may not be able to rotate properly, which can limit the amount of force that can be generated.

Additionally, proper ankle range of motion helps to maintain balance and stability throughout the pitching motion. As the back foot rotates, the weight of the body shifts forward, and without adequate ankle mobility, the foot may roll or twist, leading to instability and an increased risk of ankle and knee injuries.

If a pitcher lacks ankle mobility in their back leg, they may compensate by trying to pull mobility from other areas of the body to help complete the throwing motion. One common compensation pattern is over-rotating the hips, which can lead to decreased velocity and control. Over-rotating the hips can also cause the front leg to open up too early, leading to a loss of power and stability during the follow-through.

Another compensation pattern is excessive trunk tilt or lean, which can place additional stress on the shoulder and elbow and increase the risk of injury.

Ultimately, lacking ankle mobility in the back leg can have a significant impact on a pitcher’s mechanics and overall performance, highlighting the importance of addressing any mobility limitations and developing a well-rounded strength and conditioning program. I also recommend adding any form of ankle mobility into your baseball routine.

Low Top vs Mid/High Top Cleats

When it comes to choosing between low-top and mid/high-top cleats for baseball pitchers, ankle mobility becomes a crucial factor to consider. Low-top cleats can be advantageous for pitchers with limited ankle range of motion, allowing for better weight transfer and rotational force to generate more velocity. However, low-top cleats provide less ankle support and stability, which can increase the risk of ankle injuries or sprains.

On the other hand, mid/high-top cleats provide more ankle support and stability, which can be helpful for pitchers with weaker ankles or a history of ankle injuries. However, they may limit ankle mobility and hinder the ability to generate optimal power and torque during the pitching motion.

Ultimately, the choice between low-top and mid/high-top cleats will depend on individual preferences and needs. Pitchers should try on different types of cleats to determine which ones provide the optimal balance between mobility and support for their particular situation.

In professional baseball, I can attest to this through my own observations. I have seen plenty of upper 90’s pitchers wearing high-top cleats, just as I have also seen hard pitchers wearing low-top cleats. There is no right or wrong answer because this is preference based. I want pitchers to be aware of this, however, and consider this when buying their next pair of cleats.

Plastic vs Metal Cleats

Rubber or hard plastic are the materials used to make plastic cleats. These are favored by younger players and are ideal for use on turf baseball fields. Plastic cleats are light in weight and offer decent traction, but may not be as stable as metal cleats. The price of plastic cleats is typically more affordable, which is a plus point.

Metal cleats, on the other hand, have spikes made of metal that provide better durability and traction while playing on natural grass or dirt fields. Metal cleats offer better support and steadiness, making them essential for pitchers who need to maintain balance and proper foot placement during the pitching motion. However, there are some potential downsides to wearing metal cleats, such as feeling heavy or uncomfortable.

While it may be true that some Major League Baseball players wear plastic cleats, I have yet to come across any pitchers who do. Position players usually wear plastic cleats because they are lightweight and comfortable to play/train in. For a firm foot-to-ground connection that is essential for pitching, metal cleats are the best option.

Ultimately, the decision between plastic and metal cleats is dependent on individual needs and preferences, as well as the field type. However, if you’re allowed to wear metal cleats and want to improve your pitching performance, consider the advantages of metal cleats for superior traction, durability, and stability.

Best Baseball Cleats For Pitchers

It’s important to note that while these cleats are great for pitchers, they are not limited to just one position on the field. These cleats listed can be used by any position in baseball!

1. Nike (Metal Cleats)

Nike is by far the most common brand worn by professional baseball players. This does not mean that you have to wear them. Always make your choices based on what is most comfortable for your preferences. Nike produces very quality cleats that are durable and overall the most stylish in my opinion. Some Major League pitchers that wear Nike cleats are Gerrit Cole, Jacob DeGrom, and Walker Buehler.

Nike Alpha Huarache Elite 3 Metal (Low-Top)

Nike Alpha Huarache Elite 3 Adult Low Metal Baseball Cleats,

The Nike Men’s Alpha Huarache Elite 3 Metal Baseball Cleats are made to provide players with the most traction and durability possible on the field. These cleats include a lightweight construction and a permeable top that enhance comfort and agility while playing. Pitchers and other baseball players use the metal cleats because they are reliable, have superior grip, and provide outstanding support.

Nike Force Zoom Trout 7 Pro Metal (Low-Top)

Nike Force Zoom Trout 7 Pro Metal Baseball Cleats White

The Nike Men’s Force Zoom Trout 7 Pro Metal Baseball Cleats are designed for the performance needs of baseball players. The cleats are built with a responsive cushioning and stability system, featuring Zoom Air technology in the heel for comfortable support. A durable plate outsole with metal spikes ensures reliable traction on the field.

Nike Force Zoom Trout 7 Pro Metal (Mid-Top)

Nike Men's Force Zoom Trout 7 Pro Metal Baseball Cleats

The Nike Men’s Force Zoom Trout 7 Pro Metal Baseball Cleats provide players with comfort and stability throughout games. The Zoom Air unit provides responsive cushioning, while the upper is lightweight and breathable for a comfortable fit. Metal cleats on the outsole give good grip on the field, making these cleats a fantastic alternative for baseball players, particularly pitchers looking for more ankle stability.

Nike (Plastic Cleats)

Nike Force Trout 8 Pro MCS Baseball Cleats (Low-Top)

Nike Force Trout 8 Pro MCS Men's Baseball Cleats (Black-White,

The Nike Force Trout 8 Pro MCS Men’s Baseball Cleats provide maximum comfort and support. The cleats have a breathable upper and a cushioned foam midsole, and the outsole is designed for grip and durability. These cleats will have you looking and feeling fantastic on the mound, thanks to their elegant design and many color options.

2. New Balance (Metal Cleats)

New Balance is a popular brand among professional baseball pitchers because their cleats are lightweight, which is an important feature for pitchers. Pitchers need cleats that are durable, but not too heavy that they feel sluggish and unathletic. New Balance cleats offer a simple, yet sleek design that looks great on the field without being “too much.” Each model offers a variety of different color patterns to choose from. One of the biggest names in baseball, Shohei Ohtani, has signed a multi-year deal with New Balance.

New Balance FuelCell 4040 V6 Metal (Low-Top)

New Balance Men's FuelCell 4040 V6 Metal Baseball Shoe, White/Black,

The New Balance Men’s FuelCell 4040 V6 Metal Baseball Shoe is a high-performance, comfortable cleat. Its FuelCell technology provides greater cushioning and energy return, and the metal spikes provide excellent field traction. Professional baseball players love it because of its lightweight construction and snug fit.

New Balance Fresh Foam X 3000 V6 Metal (Low-Top)

New Balance Men's Fresh Foam X 3000 V6 Metal Baseball

The New Balance Men’s Fresh Foam X 3000 V6 Metal Baseball Shoe is engineered to offer superior comfort, support, and traction on the diamond. It boasts a cushioned Fresh Foam midsole, a sturdy synthetic upper, and a metal cleat plate for top-notch traction. Additionally, the shoe’s lightweight construction and streamlined design make it an excellent choice for baseball players seeking peak performance.

New Balance FuelCell 4040 V6 Metal (Mid-Top)

New Balance Men's FuelCell 4040 V6 Mid-Metal Baseball Shoe, Black/White,

The New Balance Men’s FuelCell 4040 V6 Mid-Metal Baseball Shoe provides excellent comfort and support on the diamond. Its FuelCell midsole technology ensures a responsive ride while the synthetic upper offers a secure and breathable fit. The mid-cut design provides additional ankle support and the durable metal cleats deliver reliable traction on all field types.

New Balance (Plastic Cleats)

New Balance FuelCell 4040 V6 Molded (Low-Top)

New Balance Men's FuelCell 4040 V6 Molded Baseball Shoe

The New Balance Men’s FuelCell 4040 V6 Molded Baseball Shoe is designed to provide exceptional comfort and performance during your outing. This shoe features the innovative FuelCell technology that offers a responsive ride for swift movements, and the molded rubber outsole provides reliable traction and durability. Moreover, the synthetic and mesh upper ensures breathability and a comfortable fit, making it an excellent choice for baseball pitchers seeking both style and support.

New Balance Fresh Foam 3000 V6 Molded (Low-Top)

New Balance Men's Fresh Foam 3000 V6 Molded Baseball Shoe

The New Balance Men’s Fresh Foam 3000 V6 Molded Baseball Shoe is a dependable option for baseball players that prioritizes comfort and performance. The shoe’s synthetic upper and cushioned Fresh Foam midsole deliver a secure fit, while its durable molded rubber outsole ensures reliable traction on any type of field.

New Balance FuelCell 4040 V6 Molded (Mid-Top)

New Balance mens Fuelcell 4040 V6 Mid-molded Baseball Shoe, Black/White,

Designed for high-performance on the field, the New Balance Men’s FuelCell 4040 V6 Mid-Molded Baseball Shoe combines comfort, style, and functionality. The FuelCell midsole provides superior cushioning and responsiveness, while the molded rubber outsole ensures traction and stability on all field surfaces. The mid-cut design offers added ankle support for quick lateral movements.

3. Adidas (Metal Cleats)

Adidas has recently entered the baseball cleat market and has been gaining popularity among professional pitchers. They provide a variety of cleats equipped with advanced technologies to enhance on-field performance. Pitchers choose Adidas for the combination of style and innovation that gives them an edge while looking sharp. I am personally a big fan of Adidas baseball cleats because of their durable design to withstand many innings during a long season.

Adidas Icon 7 Boost (Low-Top)

adidas Men's Icon 7 Boost Baseball Shoe, White/Silver Metallic/Silver Metallic,

Designed to provide the best performance and comfort on the field, the Adidas Icon 7 Boost is a multipurpose baseball shoe. The synthetic upper adds durability, and the Boost midsole provides responsive cushioning. Any position would be a wonderful fit for this shoe because of the metal cleat plate’s dependable grip.

Adidas Adizero Afterburner 8 (Low-Top)

adidas Men's Adizero Afterburner 8 Baseball Shoe, White/Core Black/White, 9.5

The Adidas Adizero Afterburner 8 is a baseball cleat with a high level of performance. This cleat’s lightweight construction enables for fast movements on the field. The top is comprised of a synthetic material that is both durable and supportive, and the outsole has metal cleats for exceptional grip.

Adidas Plastic Cleats

Adidas Icon V Bounce TPU Cleats (Low-Top)

adidas Men's Icon V Bounce Mid Baseball Shoe

Experience maximum comfort and performance with the Adidas Icon V Bounce TPU Cleats. These cleats feature a Bounce midsole for exceptional cushioning and a durable synthetic upper for long-lasting wear. The TPU outsole and molded cleats provide reliable traction and stability on any surface. Step up your game with these sleek and stylish cleats.

4. Under Armour

Under Armour is one of the least popular cleat brands in Major League Baseball. I personally like their cleats and have used a couple of pairs to pitch in. I did not find them to be as durable as other cleat brands, but every athlete moves differently so don’t let that steer you away from them. They have great designs and are fairly priced compared to competitors. The only issue is that they are very limited in the selection of cleats. A couple of big-name pitchers that come to mind in the MLB who wear Under Armour are Justin Verlander and Julio Urias.

Under Armour (Metal Cleats)

Under Armour Yard Low Metal (Low-Top)

Under Armour Men's Yard Low MT Baseball Cleat, (001) Black/Black/White,

Baseball players will appreciate the versatility of the Under Armour Men’s Yard Low Mt Baseball Cleat. Its low-top design and synthetic upper give a comfortable and secure fit, while the durable rubber outsole with metal spikes provides exceptional field grip. The basic yet attractive shape of the cleat makes it an excellent alternative for pitchers.

Under Armour (Plastic Cleats)

Under Armour Yard Low Mt TPU (Low-Top)

Under Armour Men's Yard Low MT TPU Baseball Cleat, (100)

Step onto the field in style with the Under Armour Men’s Yard Low Mt TPU Baseball Cleat Shoe. Featuring durable molded cleats, this shoe provides superior traction on any playing surface. Its breathable upper and lightweight design ensure all-day comfort, while the sleek design adds an element of style to your game.

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