Both soccer and baseball cleats give players stability and traction on the playing field. However, a soccer field is mostly grass, while the majority of a baseball infield is hard clay. The playing surfaces dictate differences in the cleats construction, as do the athletic demands of each game.
Soccer cleats feature thick nubs made from plastic or rubber. This prevents injuries when players are in close contact, while still allowing the spike to sink into sod. There's less chance of contact and injury on a baseball field, so stability is the main concern for baseball cleats. As a result, spikes can be metal, thin and sharp. Even plastic baseball spikes are edged and jagged so they can grip into hard clay.
Soccer requires speed and agility, with players running great distances on a field for long periods of time. Soccer cleats are low profile, made of light-weight synthetic material, and tight to accommodate foot control and ball feel. In baseball, pitchers, power hitters and hard-throwing fielders want a heavier, more stable cleat to anchor the lower body. Baseball cleats may feature thick materials like leather, heavy ankle support, high tops and reinforced toes. But a few ballplayers covet speed and use low-profile, light-weight cleats made from synthetic materials with rubber spikes.