Turf Shoes vs Cleats for Softball – Which One Should You Choose?

Softball games are often decided by the slightest of margins.

Especially at the higher level leagues where the players are more evenly matched and most of them already have a fully developed set of softball skills.

That’s why players always look for any edge they can find and that can help them win a game.

Feeling good on the field and having equipment that suits perfectly can often make all the difference when it comes to winning.

And, comfort on the field starts with shoes. As softball is played on various surfaces, the selection of shoes is very important.

A proper choice for a certain surface will provide better grip and traction and, ultimately, help player gives their best performance.

Like many things in the sport, shoe choice is often a subject of heated debates with turf shoes vs cleats for softball being one of the most frequent topics.

In this article I will get to the bottom of the topic, so let’s dive in!

Turf Shoes vs Cleats – Which is Better for Softball?

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How effective a certain type of footwear will be when playing softball mostly depends on the type of surface the game is played on.

In general, cleats provide more traction and are preferred by more serious players as they help them optimize their performance.

The solid grip provided by the cleats also means that you can run faster and get to the base quicker.

Still, when the game is played on the artificial field, the turf shoes give players extra stability and decrease the injury risk.

Also, they’re generally lighter and more comfortable than cleats which is very important for some players, especially those at a young age who are still developing.

The best recommendation is to use turf shoes for artificial surfaces and cleats on natural grass and dirt.

Still, the choice also depends on personal preference.

A lot of players are willing to sacrifice some of the speed and traction provided by the cleats for the comfort of turf shoes.

Turf Shoes vs Softball Cleats – What’s the Difference?

Softball cleats lie on the green.

Many players or their parents when shopping for new softball shoes face the dilemma of whether they should purchase turf shoes or cleats?

There’s no doubt that both types of shoes can be great and improve a player’s performance.

And, while their main purpose is the same, to help players play better and be safer on the field, there are some significant differences between the two.

These differences make each of them suitable only for certain situations and playing surfaces.

I’ll take a look at each of these two types of softball footwear, so you can better understand how they’re different from each other and when each of them should be used.

Turf Shoes

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Many people think that turf shoes are the same thing as regular indoor shoes.

However, that’s not the case.

Unlike indoor footwear which features a flat outsole, the turf shoes feature small studs organized in various patterns.

However, instead of classic spikes, we can say that they have a tread pattern or rubber nub on the outsole which may make them look a lot like classic sneakers.

They’re intended for use on artificial grass and similar synthetic surfaces. Turf cleats are also frequently used for practice.

No products found. are often considered to be just another category of cleat shoes.

The minimal size of the spikes ensures that the surface wouldn’t be damaged, as it would be with metal or molded cleat shoes.

The traditional spikes basically puncture the surface to provide grip and traction.

Unlike natural grass or dirt, artificial surfaces can’t withstand that sort of impact and successfully recover.

Softball Cleats

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Softball cleats have several long spikes on the bottom side of the shoe, arranged in different patterns.

Their purpose is to dig into the ground, helping players achieve a better grip and more traction,

The two main types of these shoes are metal and molded cleats.

No products found. are mostly used by adult players and feature metal spuds that are attached to the shoe outsole.

They’re very thin and easily penetrate both the dirt and natural grass surfaces.

As they dig hard into the ground, they allow players to easily start running, stop, or change direction.

However, they can be very damaging to artificial surfaces.

Molded cleats also have long spikes, but they’re non-removable and molded into the outsole of the shoe.

These spuds are usually made of rubber or plastic.

They don’t dig in too deep but are lighter, more comfortable, and more suitable for different types of fields.

Can you Wear Softball Turf Shoes on Dirt Infield?

There’s nothing stopping you from wearing turf shoes on whatever surface you want.

Still, playing infield requires a lot of sudden movements and changes of direction, so good grip and solid traction come more than handy.

Short nubs on turf shoes will provide some traction, but nowhere near the traditional spiked cleats.

If a field is wet or mudded, the advantage of classic cleats is even bigger.

Nevertheless, there are players who prefer the comfort of turf shoes to the maximum possible traction and speed and opt for wearing those while playing on the dirt infield.

Can you Wear Softball Cleats on Turf?

Female softball player running with cleats on grass field.

If you try wearing softball cleats on the artificial turf, you may often find out that it’s prohibited.

This is because long and thin spikes can often cause unrepairable damage to synthetic surfaces.

Besides, on these types of surfaces, classic softball cleats won’t help you reach optimal performance.

The artificial turf is much shallower than the traditional grass and dirt fields.

This renders longer studs on cleats practically useless as they don’t have enough field depth to dig in.

Plus, the grass blades on the synthetic turf are much tougher than with than natural grass and the mat the artificial turf is laid on is impenetrable.


As you can see, the turf shoes vs cleats for softball debate has no definitive answer.

Which shoes you will use and which will provide the best performance depends on a lot of factors.

The main one is, of course, the type of surface you’re going to play on.

Apart from that the most important thing is that you feel good on the softball field and protect yourself from injuries as much as possible.

Paul Hall
Paul Hall

Hello, I’m Paul, a 45 year old passionate baseball fan and the owner of this website. I hope my article could help to answer your questions.

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