Best Baseball Cleats For Youth

Best Baseball Cleats For Youth

January 6, 2022

If you can name a more delightful experience than watching a child’s face as he or she confidently rounds bases after scoring a hit, you need to spend more time at youth baseball games! This all-American sport got a big boost when Paul Butler came up with the brilliant idea of fastening soccer-style cleats to the soles of baseball shoes in 1862, a clever addition that parents, players, and coaches appreciate because kids tend to feel more confident at bat knowing that the cleats will help ground their feet when they fly with abandon over bases.

🠲 They’ve Been Around Forever

Leather shoes with spikes were worn by ancient Greek and Roman warriors and in 1526 England, King Henry VIII found time to order studded football boots from artisans in-between his many marriages. Traditional steel cleats have been around for hundreds of years without modification until Major League Baseball outlawed metal golf-style spikes in 1976 to protect sprinters from sliding into players. Plastic cleats were born.

🠲 Do Cleats Keep Players Safer?

This essential gear reduces half a million serious baseball injuries annually, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (https://phoenixbats.com/blog/the-baseball-shoe-how-the-invention-of-cleats-changed-the-game/), but your interest is likely to be the confidence your child feels knowing that those studs help anchor feet to turf so artfully, little ones feel fearless enough to fly down baselines.

#1. Under Armour Unisex-Child Leadoff Low Rm Jr. Baseball Shoe

Under Armour Unisex-Child Leadoff Low Rm Jr. Baseball Shoe

Can one pair of cleats be all things to all people? According to several thousand parents, the answer is yes if that shoe happens to be this Under Armour junior baseball shoe. It’s affordable, designed to be worn by boys or girls and you can count on comfort, too.

Stylish, lightweight, and durable, the toe box is engineered with perforations, so kiddo’s feet stay cool even in the hottest temperatures. Since this product is 100% synthetic, you get plenty of bang for your buck, too.

PROS

  • Padded collar and heel construction.
  • Toe cap overlay adds extra protection.
  • Full length EVA midsole distributes cleat pressure.
  • Rubber molded cleats deliver optimal traction on all surfaces.

CONS

  • Large number of complaints about sizing issues.
  • May be hard to get on the child’s feet.

#2. Under Armour Unisex-Child Leadoff Mid Rm Jr. Baseball Shoe

Under Armour Unisex-Child Leadoff Mid Rm Jr. Baseball Shoe

Equally affordable, this shoe gives kids several color choices, comes in a variety of size choices and the mid-height feature adds ankle protection when kids fly around bases. The sole is rubber, and 100% synthetic construction means your child could outgrow this pair of shoes before they fall apart.

Constructed with Under Armour’s signature durable cap overlay to safeguard toes, the full length EVA midsole is designed for even distribution of cleat pressure. The padded heel and collar get rave reviews for maximum comfort and you can buy them for either your son or daughter since these equal opportunity shoes perform on all surfaces.

PROS

  • Toe box perforations offer little feet enhanced ventilation.
  • Rubber molded cleats for optimal traction.
  • Available in many sizes withing toddler, little kid, and big kid categories.
  • Even kids rave about this shoe’s comfort.

CONS

  • May not be true to size.
  • Child may not like wearing the mid-height style.

#3. New Balance Kid’s 3000 V5 Molded Baseball Shoe

New Balance Kid’s 3000 V5 Molded Baseball Shoe

Parents favorably impressed by the New Balance brand won’t mind spending just a few dollars more on these Under Armour kicks, especially if their baseball dynamo is a girl. These cleats aren’t just great unisex products but they appear on multiple best seller lists when reviewers compare girl’s baseball and softball footwear, too.

Shoppers choose between little kid and big kid sizing and for fashionistas, a choice of 5 color combinations is a big draw. Fabricated of 50% synthetic and 50% mesh, the 3000 V5 is available in extended width sizes and the mid-cut silhouette boosts foot support. The durable rubber-molded outsole with cleats offers exceptional traction and enhanced durability.

PROS

  • True to size for an accurate fit.
  • Full-length EVA foam midsole cushioning is top of the line.
  • Exceptional support and comfort.
  • Great choice for kids who have heel pain issues.

CONS

  • Individual cleats could detach from sole.
  • Some sizes may be unavailable.

#4. New Balance Kid’s 4040 V6 Molded Baseball Shoe

New Balance Kid’s 4040 V6 Molded Baseball Shoe

If 5 color choices don’t do it for your mini slugger, this molded baseball shoe with thick synthetic cleats offers 6 options. Choose from Big Kid and Little Kid sizing and expect the usual New Balance attention to detail at around the same price as the 3000 V5.

Prized for unisex styling and synthetic upper construction for comfort and durability, this shoe’s cleated rubber outsole is an exceptional pick for kids running on conventional turf. How does it differ from competitor cleats?

The lace closure enhances a secure fit and the proprietary REVlite midsole reduces cleat weight so kids who refuse to wear baseball shoes that are too heavy will find this product to be comfy in all the right places.

PROS

  • “Wide foot friendly” according to multiple buyers.
  • Most number of colors.
  • Unisex styling.
  • Affordable price tag.

CONS

  • Size you seek may not be available.
  • Could be out of stock.

#5. adidas Unisex-Child Fx4070 Baseball Shoe

adidas Unisex-Child Fx4070 Baseball Shoe

Stop reading now if your child has already outgrown sizes that are in the “Little Kid” category, because this particular cleat is designed exclusively for the littlest kids on the block. Within this category, you’ll have 13 sizes from which to choose if you decide that the Fx4070 is your best bet.

Four color options, unisex styling and a comparable price tag make this adidas footwear an excellent pick. The rubber “no frills” sole with chunky cleats is clean, substantive and bears the adidas brand name, criteria some shoppers find compelling since scientific testing backs every pair.

Kids with wide feet won’t feel cramped in these roomy shoes and it’s hard to find complaints about sizing issues so if you order on line, you may wish to give these shoes a try.

PROS

  • 4 color options.
  • Ideal for wide feet.
  • Affordable price.
  • Well-reviewed by parents and coaches.

CONS

  • These cleats could wear out relatively quickly.
  • May develop holes in the ankle cuff area.

Buying Guide

Choosing cleats for your youngsters requires you to make decisions if a specific cleat hasn’t been specified by a coach, team sponsor or venue. Your job is select a material, height and shoe type that provides stability and security with each footfall and the wearer should experience a snug fit with a bit of toe room once you make three decisions about the cleats you are considering: Material, cleat type and cleat height.

Material

Choose mesh or synthetic leather if durability and breathability are priorities. If the cleats you are considering also offer some degree of water resistance, that’s a bonus, especially if your intrepid batter intends to play on rainy or muddy game days.

Type

There are 4 basic spike types on today’s market, and each offers unique benefits as well as downsides.

  • Molded cleats are best described as non-removable rubber studs. They perform on any surface, distribute weight evenly but they may add weight to the shoe.
  • TPU/MCS cleats look like molded spikes, but they’re made with harder plastic material on the market, thus they excel at resisting abrasion and mediate impact while weighing less than rubber.
  • Metal cleats. No other spikes offer as much traction, ground penetration and grip but due to the dangers they present, they’re not recommended for young children. In some instances, metal cleats are banned by clubs and facilities.
  • Turf cleats and trainers deliver more grip than normal soles on artificial turf. They’re more comfortable for off-field activities.

Cleat Height

When you shop, you’ll encounter two options: low- and mid/high-tops. Low tops are lighter, shorter and tend to enhance speed and agility, but they don’t offer as much ankle support as do the other two. Mid/high tops excel at stability, security, and ankle support but in return, these cleats tend to weigh more.

Benefits of Each Cleat Type

  • Molded plastic cleats with rubber studs are tough, resilient and offer excellent sliding and base running protection.
  • Metal cleats can be dangerous for little ones despite providing more traction and being lighter than synthetics.
  • Turf cleats. As the name implies, these cleats perform best on grass. They are more comfortable, but they don’t deliver as much grip as other options. Coaches recommend them for practicing and slow pitch softball players prefer them.
  • Interchangeable cleats. Not as reliable as the first three, these cleats allow players to switch from metal to molded cleats. For myriad reasons, they’re not recommended for youngsters.

Insights on Cleat Numbers

Three researchers decided to undertake a scholarly study to determine whether the number of cleats on soles impact traction and performance and their conclusions may be of interest to you. Volunteers wore three different baseball cleats sporting 3, 5, or 6 spikes and ran several field drills on dirt and grass that emulated the pace of base runners. Results were conclusive: the number of cleats didn’t impact performance in any way, so for parents who are tempted to use cleat numbers as buying criteria, experts suggest worrying more about fit and features rather than this design element.

Just for Parents of Mini-sluggers

It takes time for kids to gain confidence when they are first introduced to cleats, so they should be gradually introduced, say experts at the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine (http://www.aapsm.org/baseball.html). Here are more tips from resources that include the AAPSM.

  • Discourage your little ones from wearing cleats off the playing field
  • Specialists say that age best determines cleat height. For kids under 13, cleats shouldn’t surpass half an inch.
  • Understand that while cleats can aid play, they also have the potential to cause ankle twists and turns.
  • If your child suffers from ankle or foot problems, check with your pediatrician before you shop.
  • Buying a larger size anticipating growth spurts could lead to black or ingrown toenails.
  • While you may be tempted to take advantage of hand-me-down cleats, this is never a good idea say doctors.
  • Routinely check your kiddo’s feet for redness, irritations, and blisters.
  • Don’t dismiss pain complaints as they could indicate physiological or fit problems.
  • Cleat concentration is important. Kids fare better when their athletic shoe has lots of cleats!

Additional Resources

  1. https://protips.dickssportinggoods.com/sports-and-activities/baseball/choosing-the-right-baseball-cleats
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/262818245_Does_the_number_of_metal_spikes_in_the_baseball_cleat_forefoot_impact_performance_or_perception_of_traction
  3. https://www.tanglewoodfootspecialists.com/library/fitting-cleats-for-kids-soccer-shoes-baseball-shoes-kids-sports.cfm
  4. https://www.activekids.com/baseball/articles/baseball-and-softball-cleat-buying-guide