The mask has reinforced plating and a liner that is designed to absorb impact as much as possible. Chest protector evolves over time to provide a custom fit. Leg guards are breathable yet offer great protection.
The toe guards can limit mobility during play.
Leg and thigh protectors work in conjunction to provide a good amount of mobility. Chest protector has shoulder pads for both sides of your body. Knee pad has added durability. Straps are easy to adjust.
Is not a complete set as it does not come with a helmet.
Kit ships with everything you need, including a carrying bag. The included knee-saver pads are great for practice. The chest protector and the helmet are both designed to maximize protection.
The leg guards can come undone during play.
Leg guards have protective foam near the knees and shins, allowing for more durability. The helmet cage is designed to give a full view range while remaining protective where needed. Comes with a throat guard.
The mask can be a little slim compared to others.
Like all but the Under Armour brand, this catcher's set comes with a chest protector, leg guards, and a helmet. The gear is lighter weight than other manufactures, which increases a player's mobility and comfort.
It is possible for the metal fasteners that hold the leg guards on to come undone if they are sufficiently twisted during play.
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For baseball and softball players, most defensive positions simply require a glove. But the catcher requires far more than a mitt to play this position, including quite a bit of protective gear to play safely. Squatting behind home plate waiting for the pitch, the catcher can be hit almost anywhere on the body by a bounced pitch or batted foul ball. If you’re playing catcher, you need the right set of gear.
The catcher has almost no time to react to unexpected changes in the direction of the ball, but to play the position well, the player needs to keep the ball from bouncing away to be able to prevent runners from taking extra bases. The protective gear — helmet, mask, chest protector, and shin guards — helps the catcher block the ball without getting injured. The impact might still hurt, but the gear should reduce the pain quite a bit!
A good catcher’s gear set contains all the items necessary to play the position safely. Our buying guide includes information on what to look for as you shop, and we’ve included some of our top recommended sets too.
Helmet and mask: The helmet and mask protect the catcher’s head and face from foul balls or tossed bats. In some designs, the helmet and mask are separate pieces; in others, they’re connected into one piece.
In a two-piece design, the mask’s straps slide over the top of the helmet (which looks like a batting helmet). It offers less protection for the side of the head than the one-piece helmet and mask, but it’s easier to take off quickly when tracking a pop fly.
The popular one-piece hockey-style mask consists of a connected mask and helmet, with plastic covering the jaw. It provides a little less peripheral vision than the two-piece style, but it offers far greater protection.
Chest protector: A chest protector consists of thick fabric over a thin foam layer that’s designed to absorb the blow of a softball or baseball on the torso. The protector covers the shoulders, upper chest, and abdomen. Straps go over the player’s back to keep the chest protector in place.
Shin guards: These have a hard plastic outer shell and padding on the inside for comfort. The shin guards completely cover the knees, extend over the shins, and provide a bit of protection for the ankles and feet. The straps wrap around the calf and the back of the knee to hold the guards in place.
Knee savers: Some catcher’s gear sets contain knee savers, pads that connect to the shin guards and sit behind the knees to provide support when the catcher squats.
Bag: A large bag to carry all the gear is convenient, and some sets come with a bag. Others don’t, requiring you to buy one separately. Some catcher’s gear bags also have room for bats, cleats, and batting helmets.
The catcher is the only defensive position on the field who can see all their teammates, which is why the catcher often gives defensive strategy signals to their team.
Typically, catcher’s gear sets made for adults fit teenagers and older, while youth sets fit players 12 years and younger. In a set, all of the items have the same sizing. That means if the helmet fits a 12-year-old, the other items also fit a 12-year-old. You can slightly adjust the fit of each piece of equipment using the adjustable straps, so the items don’t have to fit perfectly right out of the box.
For shin guards that fit correctly, measure the length of the player’s shin from ankle to mid-knee in inches. Then look for a size that matches that measurement (a 14-inch shin equals a size 14 shin guard).
One of the benefits of purchasing a catcher’s gear set is that all the items match. If you’re looking for catcher’s gear that complements your team’s colors, you can find sets in red, royal blue, navy blue, black, and gray. If you shop around, you can find some other colors too.
Catcher’s glove: Mizuno Prospect GXC105 Youth Catcher’s Glove
Catcher’s gear sets don’t include a glove, which is understandable because players are more particular about the type of glove they use. This Mizuno glove is more flexible than a typical catcher’s glove, which is great for young players.
Catcher’s helmet: Mizuno G4 Youth Samurai Catcher’s Helmet
Although most catcher’s gear sets include a helmet, some players want to bring their own, especially if they share the other gear with teammates. This Mizuno helmet is very comfortable, with plenty of options for adjusting the fit.
Catcher’s knee savers: Easton Catcher’s Knee Savers
If your catcher’s gear set doesn’t include knee savers, you can purchase them separately because they fit onto any shin guards. These Easton knee savers are very durable, providing a good value.
Baseball cleats: New Balance 3000 V4 TPU Molded Baseball Shoes
Catchers put a lot of pressure on their feet when squatting behind the plate, so high-quality shoes are important. These New Balance cleats are lightweight and comfortable while delivering the desired level of support.
Inexpensive: A basic catcher’s gear set costs $75 to $150. Most of these are beginner-level gear for younger players. These sets may not include all the items you can find in more expensive kits, such as knee savers or a storage bag.
Mid-range: For intermediate players, expect to pay $150 to $350 for a set. It should include all the gear you need plus a high-quality carrying bag.
Expensive: For a catcher’s gear set that includes the highest-quality gear for older players, expect to pay $350 to $1,000. Some of these sets give you the ability to select precise sizes for the helmet and shin guards for the perfect fit. They may also offer multiple color choices if you want a set that matches team colors.
The catcher’s gear is heavy, causing the player to sweat a lot in hot weather. It’s important for the catcher to stay properly hydrated.
A. The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) is a nonprofit group that sets safety performance standards for athletic equipment. Many youth sports leagues require catcher’s gear to match NOCSAE standards.
A. Yes. The helmets, knee savers, and shin guards for softball and baseball are nearly identical. A chest protector made for a female softball player has a slightly different fit than a chest protector made for a male baseball player. And a softball catcher’s glove may be shaped a little differently than the baseball catcher’s glove to account for the larger ball.
A. Most youth leagues require players to wear a mask and helmet, chest protector, and shin guards. Knee savers are optional. A catcher at any level who is playing fast-pitch softball or baseball will want to wear all the required gear for safety. Adult slow-pitch softball players likely don’t have to wear as much gear, depending on the league rules.
A. Especially in youth games, catchers may struggle to put on the catcher’s gear quickly, holding up the game. You can have the players practice putting it on so they can do it more quickly during games. Coaches can help with buckles and straps. Shin guards usually take the most time to fasten, so a catcher who won’t be batting in an inning can put on the shin guards in the dugout while their teammates are batting.