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What Cleats Do Pro Baseball Players Wear? Here’s Your 2023 MLB Cleats Report

Since 2017, we’ve tracked the cleats worn by MLB starters, and the 2023 numbers are in. This Franklin sponsored report (like our glove report) focuses on starting position players. These players are noted on Baseball-Reference.com’s 2023 team pages, along with a few select players. Focusing on the most active players, starters, allows for the efficiency of data to be improved. Spoiler: Nike hasn’t gone anywhere.

Ronald Acuña Jr.’s Nike Alpha Huarache Elite 3 cleats for Jackie Robinson Day.

Read on to see what brands were worn by baseball starters in 2023, but first, let’s look back at the data for the 2022 season.

2022 Cleats Worn by MLB Starters

In 2022, the top four remained in place: Nike, New Balance, Adidas, and Under Armour. Mizuno and Jordan Brand were tied to round out the first five.

What Cleats Do You Wear?

What Cleats Do MLB Players Wear?

2023 Cleats Worn by MLB Starters

Since 2017, Nike has extended their lead each year. Beginning with 38% of the league, Nike is now worn by 48% of Major League Baseball’s best.

There are just eight baseball cleat companies competing in the MLB: Nike (-2% from 2022), New Balance (-2% from 2022), Adidas (-1% from 2022), Under Armour (+2%), Jordan, Mizuno, Asics, and Boombah.

Here are the top 8 cleats among MLB starters:

Nike | 48% of Cleats Worn by MLB Starters (-2% from 2022)

Best Nike Baseball Cleats w/ Links to Purchase from Retailer with Best Inventory

  1. Force Zoom Trout 9 Elite | Shop at Dick’s Sporting Goods
  2. Alpha Huarache Elite 4 | Shop at Dick’s Sporting Goods
  3. Alpha Huarache Elite 4 Mid | Shop at Dick’s Sporting Goods
  4. Alpha Huarache NXT | Shop at Nike

See all our featured Nike cleats here.

Paul Goldschmidt’s Nike Alpha Huarache Elite 4 Low cleats.

For the third year running, the top cleat for both Nike and the MLB was the Alpha Huarache Elite 4 (shop at Dick’s Sporting Goods). The Alpha Huarache line has been the dominant cleat in baseball since its release, though it initially appeared in 2020!

Jonathan India had a very cool Alpha Huarache Elite 4 Mid PE with his number six on each heel.

Here are a few stars who rocked the Alpha Huarache Elite 4 (available at Dick’s Sporting Goods):

Josh Palacios took WPW on a journey through some of his Alpha Huarache Elite 3 customs via Stadium Custom Kicks.
Mike Trout wearing his signature Trout 8 cleats.

Also in Nike’s rotation was the Trout 8 Elite cleat, which I personally thought turned out great. The ghost lacing, double stacked Air Zoom in the forefoot, and Zoom Air pod in the heel came together super nicely.

New Balance | 20% of Cleats Worn by MLB Starters (-2% from 2022)

Best New Balance Baseball Cleats w/ Links to Purchase from Retailer with Best Inventory

  1. FuelCell Lindor 2 | Shop at New Balance
  2. FuelCell 4040v7 Mid | Shop at New Balance
  3. FuelCell Comp v3 | Shop at New Balance
  4. Fresh Foam X 3000 v6 | Shop at New Balance
Shohei Ohtani in the SO1.

New Balance hung on to the second spot in the league in 2023 with usage just a couple ticks less than 2022. New Balance sees a wide variety of usage across their lines in the MLB, including the 4040v7, 3000v6, COMPV3, and the Lindor 2. Unicorn Shohei Ohtani came over to the brand from Asics.

Ha-Seong Kim in the Fresh Foam 3000 v6.

Jean Segura anchored the Marlins’ hot corner in the FuelCell 4040 v6 (and Manny Machado’s glove).

The Marlins 3B at Citi Field.

Spencer Torkelson was a horse out there for the Tigers, submitting a 31-homer, 94-RBI season over the course of 159 games; wearing the Fresh Foam 3000 v6 along the way.

Here’s a list of the MLB’s best wearing New Balance cleats:

Francisco Lindor in his second signature cleat with New Balance.

Adidas | 17% of Cleats Worn by MLB Starters (+1% from 2022)

Best Adidas Baseball Cleats w/ Links to Purchase from Retailer with Best Inventory

  1. Afterburner 9 | Shop at Dick’s Sporting Goods (New)
  2. Icon 8 | Shop at Dick’s Sporting Goods
  3. Ultra Boost | Shop at Academy
JP Crawford in a custom Adidas Afterburner 9 cleat.

Adidas stands firm in the #3 spot, being worn by 17% of all major league starters (See all our featured Adidas cleats here). Adidas is known for letting their athletes across the league have free range with customization, as long as they do not block off the logos.

Anthony Volpe in the Ultra Boost cleat during the Subway Series.

The Icon and Afterburner cleat lines continue to be Adidas’ bread and butter, with the Icon 8 (Shop at Dick’s Sporting Goods) and Afterburner 9 (Shop at Dick’s Sporting Goods) being the most common around the league. Adidas also added the Ultra Boost to their line, taking one of the most iconic and comfortable sneakers of all time and making it suitable for battle on the diamond.

Here’s a list of some of adidas’ best:

Under Armour | 10% of Cleats Worn by MLB Starters (+2%)

Best Under Armour Baseball Cleats w/ Links to Purchase from Retailer with Best Inventory

  1. Harper 8 | Shop at Under Armour
  2. Yard | Shop at Dick’s Sporting Goods
Gunnar Henderson in the UA Yard Low.

Under Armour’s presence saw a 2% increase in their usage across the bigs, with their UA Yard having a lot to do with it.

Similar to Mike Trout’s signature cleat, few besides Bryce Harper wore his signature shoe, but it’s one of the sharpest cleats in baseball every year.

Bryce Harper wearing his eighth signature cleat with Under Armour.

Here’s a list of some of Under Armour’s biggest stars:

Jordan | 2% of MLB Starters (-4%)

Vladdy Jr. in a pair of Jordan V PE’s.

Official Jordan Brand members Aaron Judge, Jazz Chisholm, Manny Machado, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Mookie Betts lead the way for Jumpman, though there are many more who rock Jumpman cleats without a contract. Ketel Marte rocked some Travis Scott-inspired AJ1s throughout the year, as did Fernando Tatis Jr. in a myriad of custom colorways.

Mookie kept these gray Jordan 10 “Snakeskin” cleats in the rotation from 2022. The season saw a bunch of 1s on non-Jordan athletes, but the Jumpman kept its official members laced in various colorways of the 4 and 5 silhouettes.

Mookie Betts’ snakeskin Air Jordan 10 cleats.

Perhaps different Jordan retro models are to come in 2024.

The remaining brands were as follows:

Mizuno5
Asics2
Boombah1
Yasmani Grandal in Boombah.

Like Force 3 catcher’s gear (chest protector and shin guards), Yasmani Grandal is the lone wolf in the league rocking Boombah.

Plastic (Molded) Cleats vs Metal | Why Do Pros Wear Plastic Cleats?

11-year veteran and 4x Gold Glove Award winner Brandon Crawford wears molded Nike cleats.

Molded (plastic) cleats are known for relieving stress on the joints of major leaguers, but even still, we witnessed 85% of starters wearing exclusively metal cleats. The group that was exclusively molded, however, is some of the league’s best (and biggest). To no surprise, many of these players are league veterans, including players like Paul Goldschmidt, Brandon Crawford, and Giancarlo Stanton.

There is a common misconception that molded cleats are just for young players getting their start in the game, but molded cleats can be very useful for players that need to relieve some of the strain on their feet. I would recommend at least looking into molded for practicing if you plan to play a heavy schedule during your 2024 season.

Platinum Glove Award winner Kevin Kiermaier in molded cleats.

What do you think about our 2022 MLB cleat report? Please comment below.

2 comments

  1. Judge has been gaming nike cleats as of last season.

  2. Judge officially signed a Jordan Brand deal, so while the 1s he wore a ton does have the Swoosh on them, he would fall in the Jumpman bucket. He also wore some Thunder 4s and a very cool Jackie Robinson AJ5 color way this season

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