The catcher plays a vital role in a softball game, and it is probably the most important position in the sport. Despite having all the essential skills and enough talent you can still not succeed as a player or as a team without the right gear.
The catcher's gear is vital as it offers you protection and also ensures that you are free to play the game to your best level without any fears of getting injuries. Almost all companies that manufacture and produce softball equipment have catchers gear in their catalogue, and so it is not always easy to choose the best.
However, it is also not as complicated as it might appear as you only need to know what a good set should include and the important factors to consider when choosing the best catchers gear.
Top 5 Best Catchers Gear Reviews 2018
#1. Easton Black Magic Catcher Box Set
Features and Design
- Helmet: The helmet on this fantastic set has a hockey style design to ensure maximum protection for young players. It has an extra durable ABS shell that will provide superior protection. The helmet is smaller than most other helmets, and this is because it is for youth players. Other features that make the helmet stand out include the strong and very protective steel cage and the soft vinyl padding on the chin area.
- Chest Protector: The chest protector is essential for a catcher, and the design of the one on this set makes it one of the best catchers gear on the market. It has some Velcro straps that make it easy to use, and they also ensure that you get a custom fit. The chest protector also has an adjustment mechanism at the back that improves the fit, and its overall design makes it perfect for beginners.
- Leg Guards: Although the leg guards on the Easton Black Magic look very basic they will still offer you enough protection. They have double-knee caps, PE shin plates that are very protective and unique closure attachment (Lock-Down).
- Models: It comes it two models with one being for kids between 9-12 years and the other for those that are 6-8 years.
- Everything on the set has an excellent and professional artistry.
- All the straps are easy to adjust to ensure a comfortable and custom fit.
- This set is cheaper than most others that offer the same quality.
- The helmet is top notch quality, and it has a breathable design.
- Players feel well protected when wearing this catchers gear.
- It is lightweight, and so it will not interfere with a catcher’s movement.
- The chest protector is very comfortable, and a catcher will enjoy wearing it.
- ABS shell is durable and offers effective protection.
- Everything from the helmet to the leg guards is simple to wear, and young players can do it without any assistance.
- Leg guards have some D-rings that appear to be defective.
- The chin pad on the mask is not very comfortable, and you might need to replace it.
- It is not available in a variety of colors, and this is a significant demerit for young players.
- Youth players with a big body size might have some issues with the fit.
- Shin guard may be a little longer for some players.
#2. Mizuno Youth Samurai Box Set
Features and Design
- Chest Protector: The chest protector uses Low Rebound Technology, and this ensures that the balls that you block fall close to you. It has an impressive Drylite Inner lining that helps to cool down the body and detachable shoulder pads for a comfortable and custom fit. This chest protector also has some detachable wings for personalized fit and a removable name plate pad.
- Helmet: The strategic placement of the ventilation on the helmet is one of its most outstanding features as it gives you maximum comfort and breathability. It also has a robust steel frame for impressive durability and protection. This helmet also has an adjustable jaw pad that will give players a soft feel and moisture control.
- Leg Guards: The detachable leg guards have a patented design that ensures that the knee gets critical protection and that they have a superior fit. Each of the two leg guards also has a triple knee cup and metal buckles that are from stainless steel. With these guards, you also get some additional protection for the shin.
- Colors: This set is only available in a black and gray color combination. Although it still looks very stylish, it is always good for players to get an opportunity to choose from several color combinations.
- Extras: You also get a stylish gear bag when you buy this catchers set.
- The helmet has afantastic ventilated design that ensures perfect breathability.
- Chest protector and the helmet have three layers of foam for impressive comfort.
- It has a jaw pad that is adjustable for extra comfort.
- The robust steel construction of the helmet makes it very durable.
- Super adjustability of the chest protector means that it can fit most players comfortably.
- Mizuno focuses a lot on giving the set maximum comfort, durability and ensuring it is lightweight for players.
- The chest protector has Drylite fabric that is very effective in cooling down the body.
- The bag that comes with the set is too small, and you might want to replace it.
- It is quite an expensive catchers set.
- This set does not include a mitt or a ball, and so you still have to spend some more cash.
- You do not get to choose from different colors as it is only available in black/grey.
- The inner shin of the leg guards would be better with some extra padding.
#3. Louisville Slugger Intermediate PG Series 5 Catchers Set
Features and Design
- Helmet: The helmet on this set is ideal for head sizes that are between 6 3/8 to 7 inches big. It has a moisture-wicking pad on the chin that will give the wearer some extra comfort and high strength steel cage that has a unique design to ensure that it does not hinder vision. This helmet also has a glossy finish and some vents to help air circulate for extra comfort.
- Chest Protector: This set comes with a chest protector that is 14 inches in size, and it has high-density foam to offer players minimal rebound and effective protection. It has over the shoulder harness that makes sure that players get an excellent fit and precision design to ensure that it moves with your body.
- Leg Guards: The leg guards in this set guarantee players maximum protection and durability because they have Double Kneecap Production and some durable straps to keep them in place at all times.
- Colors: This set comes in various colors, and so you can be confident of finding something that matches your teams look.
- The stylish dual color design is very aesthetically appealing.
- Chest protector has minimal rebound, and it also provides excellent protection.
- It comes in many colors to ensure that you get something that matches your team.
- The chest pad has plenty of room for the kid to grow.
- The guards, helmet and chest pad, adjust very well to ensure that players always get a custom fit.
- It also has an affordable prices tag.
- Crotch and Shoulder extensions are a great addition.
- It does not come with a gear bag like other catchers sets.
- This set does not have a throat guard, and this is a huge shortcoming.
- The elastic on the lower part of the helmet seems to be too short.
- Some buyers complain that the product description is not very accurate.
- The helmet needs a lot of adjustments to come off.
#4. Wilson Youth EZ Gear Catcher's Kit
Features and Design
- Helmet: The mask and helmet combination help to protect both the face and head of a young player. It is a breathable headgear that has a sturdy frame, and it has two layers of foam padding that makes it very comfortable. The design of this helmet makes it easy to wear and remove, and the youth catcher will not even need any extra help.
- Chest Protector: The padding on the chest protector that comes with this set is one of its most outstanding features because it has an extra foam padding to give the young players some extra protection. It has some heavy duty hook and loops Velcro straps that make it easy for young players to hold it in place. The non-tangle straps also mean that young catchers do not need any extra help to wear or remove it.
- Leg Guards: A catcher does not have to worry about the legs because this set comes with some leg guards with adjustable straps for a secure and comfortable fit. They also have a hard material on the chin area to protect the feet against ball impact, but the inside section of the guards is soft and comfortable.
- Extras: You will also get a free training CD when you buy this set. The CD is informative and interactive, and it will give a catcher some valuable points that will help him improve his game.
- Everything in the set is well made to ensure youth players can use it for many years.
- Helmet and chest gear have an excellent padding for maximum protection.
- This set allows for impressive adjustability to ensure players always get a custom fit.
- The design of the gear makes it easy for kids to wear and take everything off without help.
- Velcro straps are safer than metals clips and hence making this set perfect for youth catchers.
- The price is fantastic, and it is hard to find anything better than it at the same price.
- Young players will have an easy time with this set because the straps will not tangle.
- Velcro is easy and safe to use, but it is also not very durable.
- It is only available in one color.
- There are not many size options with this set.
- Youth players with big body size will find the chest protector to be too tight.
- Some catchers complain that the leg guards do not fit very well.
- The Velcro straps are also not as useful as clips.
#5. Easton M10 Adult Custom Catchers Set
Features and Design
- Helmet: The streamlined design of the catcher’s helmet in this set ensures that adult players always get a snug and comfortable fit. It has a rear cap design that includes a smooth radius for quick and easy removal. This helmet has a durable ABS plastic shell that also includes a strategic venting system to cool the catcher. And to top it all up the face mask is of sturdy steel for maximum durability and protection.
- Chest Protector: Perfect Padding and comfort are the two words that best describe this chest protector. It has a multi-layer perforation that ensures that it can dissipate heat fast and Zero Shock memory foam around the abdomen area to give a catcher excellent control of blocks and to reduce rebounds. The ergonomic and adjustable shoulder cap is the other thing that most players will love about the chest pad.
- Leg Guards: These leg guards come with an asymmetric design to ensure that they fit both the left and right legs perfectly. They use TRUBLOCK which is a system that ensures the catcher remains stable in and out of blocking positions. The guards also use Zero Shock to protect the inner knee, and their kneecaps are adjustable to give the player a custom fit.
- It has a perfect fit, and it also feels lightweight.
- The padding on the chest and helmet is fantastic, and you will not feel any impact from wild shots.
- This set has some nice and very attractive colors.
- Apart from the colors being attractive you also get the opportunity to choose from several color combinations.
- The knee pad is adjustable to ensure that you always get a customized fit.
- The set has a fantastic ventilation system that is very effective keeping a catcher fresh.
- It looks stylish, and it is perfect for any catcher that wants to stand out on the field.
- A few customers complain that it is too expensive because you can find a complete set at half the price.
- Leg guards feel cheap and short of material.
- There are some few complaints about the helmet breaking after a couple of weeks of use.
- The chest protector might be a little tight for adults with a big body size.
What Is In A Catchers Gear Set?
Most manufacturers will present their catchers gear set as sophisticated equipment with various components, but in essence, they only consist of three essential things. The three key things that every good set should contain are the helmet, chest protector, leg guards and the best softball cleats. Some might have a few extras such as a mitt and ball but these are not an essential element of the set. Each of the three serves an important part, and you should not accept a set that does not have even one of them.
The helmet is mandatory for youth catchers, and you cannot play any game without one. It is vital because it protects the head from hits which can be very dangerous. The youth catchers helmet come in varying designs and with some attractive graphics as manufacturers try to compete for the market share, but you should always concentrate more on the protection that it offers than on appearance. In general, you can choose between the one piece hockey style (this is mandatory for young league players) or the skull cap.
Protecting the head alone is not enough as you still need to protect your vital organs and for this, a catchers set will also include the chest protector. The chest protector has an exclusive design and multiple layers of foam to protect your stomach, heart, ribs, and collarbone.
A good chest protector should be adjustable so that it can give a player a comfortable and custom fit. Some will also include a removable groin protector to give youth catchers some extra protection.
Most people will not pay as much attention to the leg guards as they will to the helmet and chest protector, but this does not make them least important. In fact, protecting your feet is as important as keeping any other body part safe, and so any set that you buy should always include high-quality leg guards. The guards will protect your shins, feet, and knees and it is important to choose ones with a proper adjustment so that you can get an excellent fit.
What Should You Consider When Buying The Best Youth Catchers Gear?
One cannot stress enough the importance of having a high-quality catchers gear set when on the field. Unfortunately, choosing the best youth catchers gear is not always easy for most parents and players. But, to ensure that you only buy the best you should always consider the following important things. We also have buying guide about Best Baseball Bags if you want to take a look.
It is very obvious that the main reason for the purchase of a catcher's gear set is for protection and so this should be the first thing that you consider. Make sure that the helmet has a sturdy design that will protect your head from any impact.
A steel face mask on the helmet is the best option because it can withstand any impact. The chest protector should be from a hard material such as leather with enough padding on the inside to protect your vital organs. Leg guards should also be able to absorb the impact of balls.
Everything from the helmet to the leg guards should give you maximum comfort. A comfortable helmet should have some soft materials on the inside section and also have excellent ventilation for maximum breathability. The chest protector and leg guards should be adjustable so that you can always get a customized and comfortable fit. Also look for any additional features on the set that will give you extra comfort.
High-quality catchers gear sets are not cheap, and you will have to part with several hundreds of dollars to buy them. It is because of this fact that you should ensure that what you buy is durable and will be of service for you for a long time. Nothing is more annoying than to buy an expensive set only for the helmet or chest protector to start breaking down after a couple of months. You can tell whether the set is durable or not from its appearance and the materials.
One of the most important aspects of buying catchers gear is the fit. Most come with adjustable straps to customize the fit, but the golden rule is to ensure that you do not buy something that is too big or tight. The biggest mistake that most parents tend to make is to buy something that is spacious with the hope that their kids will grow into the extra space. But, this is a terrible mistake because something that is too big will tend to move around and hence expose the player.
Some catchers gear tends to be too heavy, and this is more so when it comes to the chest protector. It is important to know that the extra weight does not always translate to extra protection because it is as a result of a wrong choice of materials by the manufacturer in most cases. If the gear is too heavy, it will slow down the catcher when throwing or making a play.
As mentioned earlier on catchers gear can be quite pricey, and so you cannot overlook the price tag when shopping for one. Consider whether you intend to play as a catcher for long or whether it is just a short-term stint. If you are not in it for the long run, you should not buy very expensive ones as this will only amount to a waste of money. But also keep in mind that the expensive gears are the most comfortable and durable in most instances.
Buying the best youth catchers gear should not be a problem with the important things above in mind. However, you should also consider other things such as the brand because reputable brands always produce quality ones. Also, consider the age of the player ando the level that they are playing at so that you can get something that is perfect for their game.