You can definitely play a softball game in sneakers, as it’s not against the rules. But if you want to play the well and perform optimally, it is highly recommended that you go with the right shoe gear. In this case, this refers to softball cleats.
During the softball game, you spend a rigorous time running about. To top it, the softball field is not the most even of places, and when you run across the dirt and grass patches, you really need a pair of shoes that let you sprint with stability.
At the same time, you want these shoes to be comfortable as you will be spending quite some time in it.
These are some of the key reasons why it is important to wear proper softball cleats. The right pair of cleats has many advantages.
For a start, cleats can keep your feet comfortable and let you run about the field during the game without getting tired too soon. It also lets you play the game with greater control. These advantages are probably why most professional softball players wear cleats.
Best Way to maintain Softball Cleats
Proper maintenance is essential if you want your cleats to perform optimally during a softball game. It is also essential to make sure your cleats do not get damaged easily. During a softball game, the cleats may get mud or dirt on them.
If you don’t routinely and timely clear these away, they may accumulate over time and cause damage to the cleats. Here are some key tips and guidelines to keeping your softball cleats clean.
1. Use them right
This goes without saying but many players overlook the fact that softball cleats are meant for use on a softball field. If you are going to use them on harder surfaces, they may wear out and not perform as well.
So make sure that you use the softball cleats on the field and once the game is over, you switch to another pair. This will also make sure that your cleats last you longer and stay in a better shape.
2. Keep the right gear handy
If you clean the softball cleats routinely, you are going to need only some basic gear. This includes a putty knife and a paper towel.
Some softball fields can be muddy and by the time you are done, your shoes have a dried and caked layer of mud all over them. If you use anything sharper to take off the dried mud, it may damage your shoes at the same time.
Using a putty knife, on the other hand, is a lot safer. You can use is to gently scrape the dried mud and do it thoroughly since the putty knife is not sharp enough to directly damage the shoes.
However, a putty knife will not be enough to entirely remove the dried mud. If the mud is not dry, do not try to get it off. Instead, let the mud dry up before you try to remove it. This is important because dried mud comes off far more easily.
3. Use dry cleaning methods
By dry clean, we don’t meant you take the shoes to the cleaners. Instead, use dry objects and methods to get as much mud, dirt and debris off of shoes as possible.
An excellent tool to accomplish this is a firm toothbrush. Use the toothbrush to scrape off the mud and dirt from the shoes. Focus especially on the bottom and the sides where mud most often accumulates.
4. Wash the cleats
Once you have use dry tools and methods to clean the shoes, it is time to get them wet. Hose the shoes with high-pressure water to give them a rigorous rinse. But make sure that you don’t use too much pressure or it may damage the shoes.
While you are hosing the shoes, keep a wet piece of cloth handy. Use this piece of cloth to wipe the spikes and the sides of the shoes thoroughly. You can give the cloth a dip in soaped water for an even better job.
Once you are done with leathering the shoes, it is time to give the another rinse and make them all the soap and loosened debris is removed from them.
5. Use air dry
If you put your washed cleats directly in sunlight, it may damage them. You may even end up with a shriveled pair of cleats that you may not even recognize. So go with air drying them.
If you want to speed up the process, stuff the cleats with pieces of newspaper. Newspaper quickly absorbs the excess moisture and speeds up the drying process. You may even use a dehumidifier.
Even when you are not thoroughly washing your cleats, make sure you air dry them after each game. This way, you make sure that the moisture build-up in the shoes does not lead to humidity and bacterial growth. Regular air drying also means that you don’t have to wash and rinse your cleats as often.
6. Keep two pairs
This is not a key essential but it is very helpful in keeping your softball cleats clean and in good shape. When you have two pairs, you can wash up and let dry one pair without rushing through it, while you can use the other pair in the games.
This way, you can keep both pairs in perfect shape and well-cleaned. You can, of course, manage this with a single pair as well but you have to be really diligent and make sure you are able to wash and dry the cleats between the games.
7. Attend to the spikes
The spikes at the bottom of your softball cleats are where the mud, dirt and other kind of debris accumulate most readily. So pay particular attention to this part of your cleats. Also, if you are using cleats with metal spikes, be sure to check the spikes periodically to see if any of them is damaged by rust.