When are Rubber Cleats Appropriate?

A pair of cleats is arguably one of the most important pieces of gear that you need to play baseball, as it would offer your feet traction and support on the baseball field that no other types of shoes can provide. There are different kinds of cleats that you can use for baseball, but one of the most popular types is rubber cleats.

The rubber cleats have an outsole and spikes that are made of strong and durable rubber. Unlike metal cleats, the spikes of rubber cleats are flexible, which makes them suitable for players that want to move faster without being restricted by the rigidity of the shoes they are wearing. While rubber cleats are quite popular, there are certain leagues and games where they are not recommended. Here are games and situations when rubber cleats are appropriate to wear for playing baseball.

Youth Baseball

The type of baseball where rubber cleats are popular and are highly recommended is youth baseball, which is played by kids and teenagers aged 4 to 16. The reason why rubber cleats are recommended for youth baseball is that they reduce the number of injuries that occur during games. 

Because of how soft and flexible the spikes are in rubber cleats, it wouldn’t cause injuries to other players that may get their hands underneath the cleats. This situation commonly occurs in baseball, as a player would sometimes have to slide to a base in order to get there faster, and the fielders of the opposing team would often get their hands or feet on the base. So, the hands or feet of the fielders would come in contact with the spikes of the sliding player’s cleat, and if the spikes are made of metal, those spikes will cause wounds and other injuries.

With rubber cleats, these unfortunate accidents and injuries could be prevented at a much higher rate compared to metal cleats. Due to how dangerous metal cleats are, especially for kids, they are illegal in all youth baseball leagues, including Little League Baseball, one of the most popular youth baseball leagues in the United States.

Amateur Baseball

a minor or amateur baseball league

The next step to youth baseball for many players in the United States and other countries is amateur baseball, which is the type of baseball that is played by people that are either not paid for playing the sport or those that receive only a small bonus for winning games. There are many amateur baseball leagues in the world, and most of them ban the use of metal cleats because of their unfortunate ability to cause injuries in a lot of games.

So, these amateur leagues recommend that players should only wear rubber cleats for safety reasons. In addition, most amateur league teams don’t really have insurance or coverage for their players in case they get injured. Because of having little to no insurance policies in amateur leagues, many teams and organizers would want to minimize or lessen the chances of players getting injured, and one of the ways they can do that is by banning the use of metal cleats.

However, injuries are sometimes part of the game, and if you want teams to be responsible if ever you get injured, you should only join amateur leagues that have insurance or injury coverage for their players. If you don’t want to injure others, then it is also best to just wear rubber cleats since most of the players in amateur leagues don’t have the money to spend for healing specific injuries.

Recreation Baseball

Nike baseball cleats worn by a player

Recreation baseball is the type of baseball that is organized by the city or town’s recreation department and is primarily run to provide children and teenagers with a league where they can play proper baseball. There are also recreational baseball leagues that are organized for adults that didn’t have the chance to play in amateur leagues and professional leagues and want to showcase their skills in baseball.

Similar to amateur baseball, rubber cleats are often recommended by organizers and teams since these cleats cause fewer injuries for the player wearing them and for the players around him or her on the field. However, there are some recreation baseball leagues that don’t ban metal cleats, so you are free to wear those if you are more comfortable in having metal spikes on your cleats as opposed to rubber ones.

Baseball Training

If you are frequently training to improve your skills in baseball, then you should wear rubber cleats instead of metal cleats, as the hours of training can sometimes be cruel for your feet, especially if you wear rigid shoes like metal cleats that don’t really offer the same flexibility as its rubber counterpart. 

For grueling training, rubber cleats would be much more comfortable for you to wear, and they would also last a little bit longer since rubber cleats are surprisingly known to be much more durable than metal cleats. However, you should read reviews of different models of rubber cleats to know which ones are really durable.

In addition to being durable, rubber cleats can also be easily replaced since a lot of them are inexpensive, while metal cleats can be quite pricey. So, if your rubber cleats get damaged during training, you wouldn’t really need to worry about replacing them since getting a new pair won’t break the bank. 

But, if you plan on not wearing anything else besides your cleats from heading to training camp and going home, then you should get a pair of interchangeable cleats, as you can change the outsole of the cleats from having rubber spikes to having treads or traction patterns made for walking or running. Take note that interchangeable cleats can typically be expensive, so if you don’t have the budget, we recommend just buying a pair of comfortable slides you can wear before and after training.

And those are the situations, games, and leagues where rubber cleats are appropriate or recommended. As evident in this article, safety is the number one reason why rubber cleats are worn in most baseball leagues in the world. Wear rubber cleats if you want yourself and other players to be safe while playing amateur or recreation baseball.