Proper sports shoes are some of the essentials for success in almost every sport. Field sports like baseball and softball include a lot of movement and playing on various surfaces. This makes wearing the right footwear even more important and sometimes crucial. Shoe choice not only impacts performance but also provides you with the support and protection you need on a game day and for training.
Whether you’re a pitcher, a base runner or an aggressive fielder, how can wearing turf shoes improve your performance on the diamond? How do they compare to regular sneakers, indoor shoes and baseball cleats? And, how can you choose the best pair for you?
What Is a Turf Shoe?
Turf shoes are shoes specially engineered to provide baseball and softball players with maximum comfort and traction for both indoor and outdoor diamonds. They have a rubber nub or tread pattern that gives them a more sneaker look than the moulded baseball cleats with spikes.
No matter the position you have in your baseball team, extra traction is always welcome and appreciated and wearing cleats isn’t always possible, and it can be even forbidden on some artificial turf playgrounds. A pair of high-quality turf shoes can give you the traction of a moulded cleat combined with the comfort of your favourite sneakers. This was the original idea behind the design of turf shoes that gets clearer with every new model coming out on the market.
Why Wear Turf Shoes?
While you don’t wear your glove and use your bat for the full nine innings, you wear your baseball shoes for the whole time. This means that shoes are much more important to your success than any other piece of equipment. These are some of the reasons why you should consider wearing turf shoes instead of regular sneakers or indoor shoes. And, in some cases, they are an even better solution than baseball cleats. Let’s dive in.
If you had the opportunity to ask baseball players who wear turf shoes and regular sneakers, you would be surprised by their answers. You’ll find that players who wear turf shoes claim to be happier with their performance and footwear than those who don’t. Considering that turf shoes are designed and engineered with baseball in mind, this isn’t surprising.
Foot traction is essential for a successful game on the diamond, whether you are running the bases, swinging the lumber, pitching or fielding. Without traction, you can end up slipping, which can cost your team the game. A pair of shoes that lack traction is useless and can also be dangerous. This is the reason number one why you should consider wearing turf shoes instead of regular sneakers or indoor shoes.
But don’t cleats offer better traction than turf shoes? Why not wear cleats instead?
Sometimes wearing turf shoes versus cleats comes down to personal preference. And other times, it’s implied by the nature of the field. If you’re an outdoor player that often gets to play on wet grass and muddy terrain, your preferred choice would probably be the baseball cleat. It offers the perfect traction and stability for playing on natural grass.
On the other hand, cleats might not be the best option if you usually play on artificial turf surfaces or indoors. And metal cleats can be even forbidden. This is because the spikes of metal or moulded cleats can be detrimental to artificial turf. Traditional spikes work in a way that punctures the ground for traction, and therefore they’re better for playing on natural grass. Artificial turf is shallower than natural grass that can absorb impacts and recover. This means there is less surface to dig into with your spikes. The shorter nubs and tread pattern of turf cleats make them the ideal fit, as they don’t require much depth for optimum traction.
The less thing you need is a serious injury that can change your life and prevent you from further playing. Both baseball and softball are games where such injuries are possible when not wearing the right pair of shoes. Turf shoes provide better cushioning, support and retention than regular sneakers. These qualities make them the safest option for uneven playing surfaces in indoor and outdoor environments. They’re more comfortable than moulded cleats, which makes them the best for training and practising. Turf shoes help you play at your highest levels.
What to Look for When Choosing Turf Shoes?
Look for a pair of turf shoes that offers a snug fit with a little toe room to prevent blisters. Don’t stop searching for turf cleats until you find a pair that will fit nice and snug as your favourite sneakers. Such shoes should provide the perfect balance between squeezing your toes and having too much space between them and the turf sneakers. They should be comfortable performing various baseball activities, such as hitting, fielding, pitching and running the bases. The perfect turf shoe should stay firmly attached to your feet, which will allow you to go all out on the diamond without slightly hesitating about your possibilities.
Proper Ankle Support
The height of the shoes is essential for preventing twisted or broken ankles. The perfect fit should balance pinching your ankles and giving them too much room. There are various turf shoe height levels, as everyone feels and moves differently. Opt for the height that will provide the best support for your ankles.
It’s evident that turf shoes have a lot to do with your performance levels and offer great support, comfort and protection. But don’t forget that style also matters. The chances to perform better are way larger when you look and feel good. So, look for a shoe that’s an optimal mix of function and form. Don’t settle until you find your perfect turf shoes. And once you find a pair that is comfortable, durable and aesthetically pleasing, buy enough of it so you can have the best turf shoes for every game on the diamond.