All cleats are not created equal.
In fact, a good pair of catcher's cleats should have certain features that help to maximize performance while minimizing discomfort behind the plate.
This post discusses those features and highlights our top picks of both metal and molded cleats for Baseball and Fastpitch Softball catchers.
Keep scrolling to learn more...
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Best Catchers Cleats on the Market
Cleats are something that can be easy to overlook when evaluating gear to use as a catcher.
Yet ask any catcher that has had a bad pair of cleats and they'll probably tell you that those cleats drove them crazy and inhibited their performance behind the plate.
Which is why you shouldn't just settle on any old pair of cleats.
As a catcher, you have the hardest (and I would argue, most important) job on the field, and you need to play at the highest level that you are capable of.
Rocking a great pair of cleats will help you perform at that high level you expect of yourself.
Features of a Good Pair of Catchers Cleats
Like we mentioned above, not all cleats are created equal. Obviously, things like comfort and good quality are universally important features for any ballplayer.
But catching is unique.
Due to the nature of the position, there are a couple of key factors that you need to consider in cleats before making a buying decision. They include:
- Low top. Most catchers consider a low top as preferable over mid and high top cleats. This is because low tops allow for better ankle mobility.
- Insoles. Cleats with comfortable insoles are super important, or else you can quickly be in pain when crouching behind the plate. If your cleats do not have comfortable insoles, consider replacing them with a new pair of insoles.
- Reinforced toe. Catchers are on their toes a lot, meaning that cleats having a strong, durable, or even reinforced toe are beneficial. (No reinforced toe on your cleats? Then try adding Tuff Toe to them. It's a great product.)
- Flexible. Quick movement is essential for performing at your peak behind the dish. Cleats that flex well - rather than feeling like some kind of a wood box around your feet - are a key component to quicker movement.
- Long lasting. Catchers work hard and play hard, and as a result, their gear can take a beating. Having high quality, durable cleats is important so that what you wear actually lasts through the season.
Metal or Molded?
The decision on whether to wear metal or molded cleats depends on a number of factors. For example, some leagues (especially leagues with younger players) specifically prohibit wearing metal spikes.
Always confirm the rules of your league before buying cleats.
It could also depend on the type of surface you will be playing on.
Generally speaking, if you are a young ballplayer, you would wear molded cleats while those playing at more competitive levels would wear metal spikes. Keep in mind that this is not a hard and fast rule, as even some MLB players wear molded cleats.
If, however, you have the option to use any type of cleat, we would recommend using metal cleats as they tend to provide a better grip than molded cleats do, particularly on softer playing fields.
Regardless of whether you go the metal or molded route, having a pair of good quality cleats - like those we highlight below - will give you a better edge behind the plate.
Our Top Picks for Baseball and Softball Catchers
The following sections will highlight our top metal and molded cleat picks for Baseball and Fastpitch Softball catchers.
The list of best catchers cleats are:
- Under Armour Glyde ST Metal (Fastpitch Softball)
- New Balance Fresh Foam 3000 v5 Metal (Baseball)
- Mizuno 9 Spike Advanced Finch Elite Molded (Fastpitch Softball)
- New Balance FuelCell 4040 v6 Molded (Baseball)
Without further ado, let's dive in and look at each of our top picks!
Softball (Metal) Pick: Women's Under Armour (UA) Glyde ST
Our top metal cleats pick for Fastpitch Softball catchers
Our top pick in this category goes to Under Armour with their women’s Glyde ST metal cleats.
These cleats are incredibly lightweight and feel similar to running shoes. They also stand out for being breathable.
Under Armour worked hard to ensure these cleats are as comfortable as possible as the Glyde ST are built with "Charged Cushioning®". This is a comfortable midsole padding that supports quickness and helps absorb impact.
They have a simple yet attractive design, they’re low profile, and they come in various colors.
Glyde ST cleats also incorporate a toe cap on each cleat, which is important for catchers for reasons of safety and durability.
In short, Glyde ST cleats check the box for all the key factors Fastpitch Softball catchers should look for in a pair of cleats, which is why they earned our top vote.
Low cut, lightweight, and well ventilated
Very comfortable with lots of cushioning for your soles
Allows your foot to flex well and to move freely
Comes with toe caps
Nothing that we can see!
Close up Images of the Under Armour Women's Glyde ST Cleats
Baseball (Metal) Pick: New Balance Men's Fresh Foam 3000 v5
Our vote for best metal cleats for Baseball catchers
We believe New Balance's 3000 v5 metal cleats are the best metal spikes on the market for Baseball catchers.
These cleats incorporate much of New Balance's latest footwear technology, resulting in a solid pair of cleats that stay comfortable along all major points of the foot.
The 3000 v5 cleats look and feel like a normal pair of New Balance running shoes.
These cleats are incredibly lightweight and comfortable. Special "FRESH FOAM" is inserted in the midsole to help comfort the foot, and it has a synthetic-mesh upper component that provides good support.
3000 v5 cleats come with an 8 spike metal plate at the bottom of the shoe. It has a soft "collar" around the top part of the shoe, allowing your ankle to flex well and helping you to sprint, crouch, block and pivot more comfortably.
Lastly, there are a number of color patterns you can choose from, which obviously is an important factor to keep in mind when shopping for new cleats.
Has New Balance's signature sneaker look and comfortable feel
Built with lots of cushioning and breathable materials
Supports ankle mobility and quick movement
A large number of colors are available
A few customers have had complaints about their longer term durability
Close up Images of the New Balance Metal 3000 v5 Cleats
Softball (Molded) Pick: Mizuno 9 Spike Advanced Finch Elite
A solid choice for Fastpitch Softball catchers needing molded cleats
Our choice for the best molded cleats for Fastpitch Softball catchers is Mizuno’s 9 Spike Advanced Finch Elite.
Named for Fastpitch Softball legend Jennie Finch, this low profile cleat has a 9 spike pattern and works great for either artificial turf or real grass and dirt fields.
It comes with "Mizuno Wave (R)" technology, which is a shoe design that spreads the force of impact across a broad area. This helps to increase cushioning and stabilization for the person wearing the cleats.
Last but not least, the 9 Spike Advanced cleats look really good and they are available in multiple colors.
Scores high for both comfort and breathability
The 9 spike cleat layout allows for really good grip and power generation
They're priced competitively
Various color combinations are available
These cleats can run a bit small
Close up Picture of the Mizuno 9 Spike Advanced Finch Elite Cleats
Baseball (Molded) Pick: New Balance FuelCell 4040 v6
It's hard to beat the quality you get in this molded cleat
If you need a pair of molded Baseball cleats, then we think you should take a very close look at the New Balance FuelCell 4040 v6 - our choice for the top molded cleats for Baseball catchers.
These are low profile cleats with a 10 spike molded plate, providing a really good grip. One of the things you will notice right out of the box is that they are noticeably light.
These cleats have solid cushioning and they contain a type of foam called "FuelCell" which New Balance says gives a "propulsive feel" to help you be faster on the field.
Also, the synthetic based upper section allows for flexibility between the foot and the cleat. As we all know, the ability to be quick and flexible behind the plate is critically important.
All in all, the New Balance FuelCell 4040 v6 are durable, good quality molded Baseball cleats that are offered at a reasonable price point.
Upper area of the cleats provides for good flexibility
For cleats, they are very comfortable
Lightweight with good ventilation
Available in regular and wide sizes
Comes in multiple colors (as of publication date)
Made by New Balance, a leading brand
Some reports of them running on the small side
Close up Images of the New Balance FuelCell 4040 v6 Molded Cleats
Thank You for Reading!
We hope this review was helpful to you.
If you have any questions for us - whether about cleats or catching in general - then don't hesitate to reach out by heading over to the Contact Us page or by sending an email to scott [at] catchershome [dot] com.
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