By Steven Ellis, former Chicago Cubs pitching pro
An important part of a pitcher’s wardrobe is his baseball cleats. They take a beating during the course of the year, especially the “push-off” cleat due to a pitcher's toe drag. When a pitcher sticks his toe after his finish, a lot of wear and tear can result from this. After several outings, a pitcher might notice his throwing hand shoe is starting to wear out in the toe, and eventually will tear a hole. To prevent this, I recommend getting some sort of pitching toe protection.
The product that I personally use is called Tuff Toe. It can be purchased in either a gel-like form, or a plastic molded form. I have used the gel type in the past, and it works great. However, it does look a bit ugly on your cleat.
The gel form called Tuff Toe Pro, comes in different colors: white, black, blue and red. I use the black product and when you mix it, the result looks a lot like tar. However once applied and given a chance to dry, it produces a shiny and rubber like coating over your toe. It will easily last all season and will protect your cleat’s toe from abuse. This product costs $20 and can be found here.
An alternate product from Tuff Toe is the molded toe. This is a bit cheaper at $12 and comes in white, black, blue and red. It is a plastic cup that is glued to the toe of your cleat with a permanent adhesive.
The advantage of this product over the gel is obviously the cost, as well as the ease of application. However, since it is a premade cup, it might not fit as well as a custom applied gel would. The molded toe product can be found here.
Tuff Toe also offers a factory dip, where you send in your shoe to be dipped in the same gel as Tuff Toe Pro, yet will save you the mess and ensures that it is applied correctly. This may be a good option if you are apprehensive about applying the product yourself.
There are other pitching toe products on the market, but it seems that Tuff Toe is the best in the business. It is up to you whether you want to go with the gel or the cup, but some sort of toe protection is a must for a pitcher.