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Are Metal Cleats Allowed in Softball? (Solved!)

Softball is known as a very dynamic sport that demands players to be always active and prepared to make a big play at any given moment.

During a game, softball players are often required to sprint, slide, and react in a split second.

Of course, all this is not possible if a player doesn’t feel comfortable on the field.

While all the gear matters, cleats are probably the most important piece of equipment when it comes to movement on the field.

They provide players with the necessary grip and traction.

The player’s performance may also depend on the type of cleats. In some other sports, metal cleats have proven to be more effective.

However, many people are unsure whether you can use them in softball games.

Below, you’ll find the answer to the question are metal cleats allowed in softball and other useful information on this part of the equipment.

Are Metal Cleats Allowed in Softball?

New Balance Women's Fresh Foam Velo V2 Metal Softball Shoe, White/White, 5
345 Reviews
New Balance Women's Fresh Foam Velo V2 Metal Softball Shoe, White/White, 5
  • FRESH FOAM midsole cushioning is precision engineered to deliver an ultra-cushioned, lightweight ride
  • Perforated synthetic nubuck upper
  • Metal studded outsole provides enhanced traction on the diamond and the outfield
  • Lace cage lets you tuck away your laces for a clean, game-ready look
  • Designed in team colors for a bold athletic aesthetic

Last update on 2021-12-02 at 23:17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Softball has many rules when it comes to the equipment players can use.

Most of them concern bats and balls and have a great influence on how the game is played and how the players perform.

On the other hand, the main reasoning behind the cleat rules is the safety of players on the field.

Most of the restrictions on wearing metal cleats have to do with the age of players involved in a certain league.

There’s no overall rule that regulates which cleats are allowed.

Rather, the governing bodies at each level of competition are responsible for making the rules for specific leagues.

Which Competitions Allow Metal Cleats

Right now, most pro and adult softball leagues allow players to wear metal cleats.

Also, players can wear metal cleats in competitions under the jurisdiction of the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics), and NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations).

When it comes to youth leagues, metal cleats are legal only in certain age groups.

USSSA, USA Softball, and NSA Softball allow the use of metal cleats for the kids in 14U leagues and older.

In the Little League, metal cleats are allowed in the divisions above the Majors.

Besides the age of players, some organizations have other rules concerning cleats, such as the use of pitching toes.

In general, most governing bodies prescribe that the soles must be smooth and if the cleats are metal, they need to have rectangular spikes.

Also, studs exceed the length of 3/4 of an inch.

When were Metal Cleats Allowed in Softball?

While they’re a standard in most of the leagues today, metal cleats weren’t always allowed in softball, particularly in competitions involving younger players.

For example, metal cleats were not legal in high school leagues before 2008.

That was the year that the NFHS Softball Rules Committee altered the rules to allow their use.

The reasoning for their decision was that they provide better traction on most surfaces, including wet or poorly-maintained fields.

The rule change was met with a lot of resistance, mainly due to concerns for the players’ safety.

In fact, a couple of states didn’t go along with the rule modification and still don’t allow metal cleats.

Most of the opponents cited cases where players were injured as a result of getting “spiked” by the metal cleats of the sliding runners.

However, NFHS claimed that when the sliding is performed correctly, metal cleats actually contribute to players’ safety.

Metal vs Molded Cleats in Softball – Which are Better?

The two most used types of cleats in softball are metal and molded cleats.

Both of these cleats have their advantages and drawbacks.

Which one a player should use depends on the age, playing surface, level of competition, position, and finally personal preference.

Below, I’ll compare the two and explain the main characteristic of each type of cleats.

Metal Cleats

New Balance Women's Fresh Foam Velo V2 Metal Softball Shoe, White/White, 5
345 Reviews
New Balance Women's Fresh Foam Velo V2 Metal Softball Shoe, White/White, 5
  • FRESH FOAM midsole cushioning is precision engineered to deliver an ultra-cushioned, lightweight ride
  • Perforated synthetic nubuck upper
  • Metal studded outsole provides enhanced traction on the diamond and the outfield
  • Lace cage lets you tuck away your laces for a clean, game-ready look
  • Designed in team colors for a bold athletic aesthetic

Last update on 2021-12-02 at 23:17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Metal cleats  are usually the cleat of choice for pro and adult players and generally anyone who plays softball at a more serious level.

Their biggest advantage is the great traction they provide on both grass and dirt surfaces.

The thin design of the spikes allows them to easily penetrate both grass and dirt which optimizes the player’s speed and performance.

Due to the traction, players can get a solid grip when attempting to jump for a fly ball, making a quick turn, or a sudden stop after a sprint.

However, they are unusable on some of the other surfaces such as turf as they can easily damage it.

In addition, they’re stiffer and heavier than molded cleats which makes them unsuitable for younger players who are still physically developing.

Plus, they carry more injury risk, especially if during reckless sliding.

Molded Cleats

Under Armour Women's Glyde RM Softball Shoe, Black (002)/Cerise, 10.5
2,257 Reviews
Under Armour Women's Glyde RM Softball Shoe, Black (002)/Cerise, 10.5
  • Durable synthetic upper & lightweight textile toe provide sneaker-like comfort
  • Padded ankle collar & tongue construction for increased comfort
  • Durable overlay on toe cap for added protection
  • Full-length EVA midsole provides ultimate cushion, shock absorption & cleat dispersion
  • Rubber molded cleats provide aggressive traction on all surfaces with a lightweight, comfortable feel

Last update on 2021-12-02 at 20:06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Molded cleats  are more popular among younger players. They’re lighter than metal cleats, but also cheaper and bring less risk of an injury.

Their design features non-removable molded plastic or rubber spikes.

Molded cleats usually have more studs along the sole which makes them more comfortable.

They’re usable on both artificial and natural surfaces. In addition, they work perfectly even on the muddied or wet fields.

As they’re lighter, they don’t dig too deep and players’ feet won’t get stuck so often.

However, on a dry surface, this may be a bit of a disadvantage as the traction and grip won’t be as good as with metal cleats.

This is particularly a problem for infielders who usually play on softer dirt.

Conclusion

Softball players have to constantly slow down, speed up, and change direction. To be able to do all that, they need to be fast, agile, and adaptable.

And, nothing helps them more to achieve that than proper cleats.

Metal cleats are the best for those looking to maximize their performance on the field as they provide the most traction and the best grip.

However, this doesn’t mean that they’re perfect for everyone.

There are plenty of factors to take into consideration when deciding on the type of cleats for you or your kid.

A badly chosen cleat is not only uncomfortable but also can pose a serious injury risk. Of course, before shopping for cleats, make sure to check the league rules.

The last thing you want is to end up with the cleats you’re not allowed to use in a competitive play.

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