What is the Main Difference Between Metal and Rubber Cleats?

Baseball gear is essential in order to play the sport safely, and one of the pieces of gear that you should have whenever you are playing baseball is a pair of cleats. With baseball cleats, your feet will be able to grip the grass on the field well so that you can have better traction whenever you are moving. In addition, the cleats would also give you ample support so that your feet will stay protected against wounds and injuries.

There are two main types of baseball cleats that are used by amateur and professional players, and these types are metal cleats and rubber cleats. Each of these types offers something that the other does not, and in this article, we will find out what those unique features are so that you will know which one is more suitable for you. Here are the main differences between metal and rubber cleats.


sliding to a base

The main difference between metal cleats and rubber cleats can be found in their outsoles. For metal cleats, the spikes and most of the outsole are made of sturdy and rigid metal, which is a great material to have for baseball cleats since it grips the field really well. However, metal is very rigid, so flexibility may be limited in the cleats. If you want a sports shoe that will give you the best flexibility and range of motion on the baseball field, the metal cleats may not be suitable for you.

On the other hand, the rubber cleats have an outsole that is made primarily from rubber and pieces of plastic. The rubber outsole provides the flexibility that you wouldn’t find in metal cleats, although some players would say that rubber cleats can be quite soft to the feet and that it can cause excessive movements. The spikes of rubber cleats are also softer and more flexible than the ones found in metal cleats, so they may not be able to grip the soil well on the baseball field.


In terms of the upper, the metal and rubber cleats don’t really have much of a difference, as many companies use the same technology for the upper of both types of cleats. In the past, baseball cleats were primarily made of leather, which is a soft and flexible material that will form on your feet over time. However, in today’s era, metal and rubber cleats have uppers that are made of synthetic materials that are supposed to be more durable and form-fitting compared to leather.

Some of the materials used to make modern baseball cleats are textile and plastic. There are some cleats that have a knitted upper, but some areas of the upper are reinforced with a plastic coating to give it durability, especially in high-wear sections of the cleats. The knitted upper would give you the much-needed flexibility while still providing support for your feet.


a batter wearing rubber cleats

In terms of durability, rubber cleats are considered to be much more durable than metal cleats, although some would still debate that metal cleats would last much longer on the baseball field. Because metal cleats have steel spikes, they are incredibly durable, and the spikes wouldn’t lose the sharpness of their grip for months. However, rubber cleats, despite having spikes made of rubber or plastic, are still quite durable in their own right, and a lot of people can even testify that their rubber cleats had lasted months before the spikes were worn out.

Depending on the materials used, the rubber cleats can really be a lot more durable than metal cleats. However, we would say that metal and rubber cleats are equal in terms of durability, as there will also be some rubber cleats that can get damaged easily. If you want to know which models of cleats would last you for dozens of games, you should check out reviews online, which will tell you all about the durability of the newest and most popular baseball cleats today.


In terms of price, metal cleats are often more expensive than rubber cleats, mainly because molding metal into outsoles and spikes can be a difficult process compared to molding rubber for the outsoles of baseball cleats. Metal as a material is already quite expensive already, so it is understandable if metal cleats can be quite pricey.

Rubber cleats are generally known to be more affordable, but there are some high-tier rubber cleats that are typically more expensive than metal cleats, and those ones are packed with plenty of features that are beneficial to players. The affordable rubber cleats may not be as durable as the pricier ones, but they still do the job of allowing you to have better movement and traction on the baseball field. If you don’t have the budget to buy expensive cleats, or you just play baseball for fun, you can just get the affordable rubber cleats so that you won’t break the bank with your purchase.


Rubber cleats are universal in terms of where they can be used, as they can be worn for amateur leagues, youth baseball, and even professional leagues. Metal cleats, on the other hand, are banned in some amateur leagues and in almost all youth baseball leagues in different countries around the world. 

The reason why metal cleats are banned in those leagues or games is that they can cause injuries. Whenever a player slides to a base, there is a high chance that the arms or legs of a fielder will be on the base as well, and in that situation, the spikes of the slider’s cleats will graze on the fielder’s exposed legs or arms, thus causing wounds. The very same thing may also happen to the sliding player, as he or she may slide hand first to the base while the fielder’s cleats are near it.

So, to prevent these unfortunate accidents, metal cleats are not allowed to be worn by players on the baseball field for youth and amateur leagues. However, metal cleats are legal to use in professional leagues and some college baseball leagues.

Those are the key differences between metal cleats and rubber cleats. Now that you know about these differences, we hope that you now have a much easier time figuring out which type of baseball cleats to use for the league you will be playing in or on the baseball field where you can enjoy playing the sport with friends or family members.