Baseball may be a sport that’s steeped in American history, but athletic footwear designers are looking to the future for inspiration when it comes to the top baseball cleats for 2012. Cleats have come a long way over the last couple of decades and newer versions feature pared-down construction, state-of-the-art materials, and performance-oriented design details to ensure your shoes help rather than hinder your game. Every detail of these new baseball cleats is bent on achieving optimum results in not just your running, but in your batting and throwing as well. Look for features that offer both stability for your foot and ankle and lightweight, durable construction, but for features that don’t sacrifice comfort and cushioning in exchange for support or longevity. Here are a few new cleats that are worth giving a test run.
Perhaps best known for their golf gear, Mizuno has also made a name for itself in baseball equipment and apparel. Check out their 9-Spike Mizuno Pro KL 6, a brand new addition to their metal cleat offerings for 2012. This cleat features Mizuno’s groundbreaking Infinity Wave technology, an impact-management system inspired by things like tidal and sound waves. This technology disperses energy away from your foot immediately upon impact for a comfortable stride while still keeping your foot centered and stable. Mizuno doesn’t just use one cookie-cutter midsole for every sport, however; they have specialized designs for each, including baseball. Their 9-spike configuration is also sport-specific, designed especially to aid traction whether you’re up at bat, running for home, or trying to make an out. Add to that the premium kangaroo leather upper, the molded EVA foot bed, and the Pro Flex multi-zone flex points for stable movement that’s never stiff and there’s not too much more you could ask for in a baseball cleat.
The “zigs” in Reebok’s ZigTech technology created big waves when it hit the scene for running shoes, but now this shock-absorbing style has made its way into baseball cleats as well. The key to the design of the Cooperstown Zig baseball cleat is the increased surface area the “zigs” and “zags” of the sole offer, not only cushioning the impact with each step but also offering a bit of bounce as well. These soles are extremely flexible too, and the lightweight metal cleats are positioned for top-level traction. Made of a mix of durable synthetic leather for easy clean up and comfortable, breathable mesh, they’re also reinforced on the toe to help them last through game after game. A PlatDry lining in the collar wicks away moisture and an antimicrobial foot bed keeps your cleats free of any odor.
Though not traditionally known for their baseball gear, New Balance is quickly gaining ground in the cleat department. Check out the new 4040, a super lightweight shoe that’s had every ounce of excess material taken away for what might be the fastest cleat on the diamond. The eight-spike cleat is modeled on a running shoe for rapid base-to-base runs, and baseball mitts were the inspiration for the form-fitting neoprene tongue. ABZORB cushioning provides solid mid-foot support and the synthetic materials used for the upper make this shoe yet still lighter and exceptionally comfortable. A rubber reinforcement on the toe guards against excess wear and tear from toe drag.