To be able to give his best and produce an optimal performance on the baseball field, a player has to, first and foremost, feel comfortable.
This, among other things, means that the equipment should be in order and properly fitting.
Considering the importance of precise footwork in baseball, this is particularly essential when it comes to baseball shoes or cleats.
The better they feel on their feet, the more focused and successful players can be.
However, in most cases, you can’t just buy shoes in the store and wear them at the game.
Before being put to full use, cleats need to be broken in so they can correctly support your feet.
Learning how to break in baseball cleats may prevent injury, improve your performance, and help you feel better while on the field.
How to Break in Baseball Cleats
If you try wearing and playing in cleats while they’re still stiff, you may develop painful blisters on your toes or heels.
This may not only hinder your performance but cause you to not play at all.
Certainly, putting some effort into making your shoes cozier will pay off considering it may save you from missing a game.
The good news is that the process isn’t at all complicated and you can do all the work by yourself.
There are a couple of methods you can use. Choose the one that you feel suits you the most.
Below, I’ll list these methods and provide some useful advice on how to break in baseball cleats.
Wear Your Cleats
The easiest, but also the most efficient, way to break in your cleats is to simply wear them.
They would normally break in after a few practices or games but this would likely come along with blisters.
So, you should first wear them for a bit around your own home. Walking in baseball cleats around the house or backyard will likely do the trick.
This way, while walking, you’ll slowly and gently break them in without the risk of an injury.
You can also go for a walk in a park or enjoy some more relaxed sports activities such as golf or catch.
Occasionally, do some jumps, squats, or even sprints as it will speed things up.
Basically, the point is to move but not too intensively as you would at the game or practice.
While breaking your cleats this way, try not to tighten your laces too much. It will provide your foot more freedom and loosen the cleat where it matters the most.
Also, if you’re particularly susceptible to blisters, you can try wearing two pairs of socks.
This way, you’ll protect your foot better while, at the same time, applying extra pressure to the cleat and speeding up the break-in process.
Break Your Cleats In Manually – The Old-School Way
If for whatever reason, you can’t wear your cleats around the house or during a walk, there are other ways to break them in.
One of them, the good old flexing, requires some strength, but not too much.
Depending on the material and how often you do it, you can break in your cleats this way in a week or two.
The way to do this is to take the shoe by toe and heel with each hand and flex or bend it as hard as you can.
Try to bend it in as many directions as you can.
Twist it, squeeze it, and turn it both longitudinally & latitudinally.
If you find this too difficult to do, you can try softening the leather first with a conditioner or shaving cream.
You can even try to tie up your cleats in a V shape by pulling the toes towards the laces and tying them up what a string or a rope.
Once you do this, leave the cleats in this position for a day or two.
The great thing about this method is that it doesn’t take much of your time. You can flex your cleats while watching TV or reading a book.
Or any time your hands are free. On the other hand, it’s a slow method and may not produce perfect results.
However, you can still use it to soften up the cleats before walking in them.
Soak Your Cleats
Another thing that can help with breaking in your cleats is soaking them in the hot water.
This is the least popular approach, as many people are afraid of ruining their expensive cleats if they get thoroughly wet.
To soak your cleats, first, fill up a bucket full of water. The water should be hot, but not boiling hot.
Put on your socks and cleats and place the feet into the bucket. Socks are important as you want the cleats to conform to the form of your feet in a game situation.
Keep the feet underwater for about 20 minutes. Then, dry them out with a dry cloth and rub them with vaseline or a similar substance.
Once you’re done with this, put the cleats back on and walk for a while.
Continue throughout the day until your feet feel dry. Finally, apply a leather conditioner and store shoes in a dry place.
How Tight Should Baseball Cleats Fit?
In general, baseball cleats should fit rather tightly.
When trying on the baseball shoe, the heel should feel snugly and the toe should leave no more than 1/inch from the top of the cleat. If you’re between sizes, it’s better to go smaller.
Don’t worry, they’ll break in over time. A lot of players intentionally choose cleats half a size smaller.
Tight fit prevents sliding or slipping movement of the feet as you accelerate towards the base. This movement is also what causes blisters.
Still, make sure that your shoes feel comfortable.
You’ll likely be wearing them for a couple of hours straight and you don’t want your feet hurting during the game.
The most important thing to remember about breaking in baseball cleats is that it takes time. So, don’t rush it.
The ultimate goal is to have a pair of cleats that will properly support your feet and withstand the strain of the game.
Note, that even after you break them in, you still have to take care of your baseball shoes.
Clean them regularly and apply a leather conditioner to keep them in good shape throughout the season. Properly fitted cleats are your best friend on the field.
They will make you feel more comfortable, prevent painful health issues, and help you focus on your performance.