The chest protectors are the most vital protective gear for a baseball player as it protects the most vulnerable area of the body; the chest, shoulder, back and neck. It is quite important to make the right choice as the right gear boosts your confidence and keeps you comfortable to excel in the field.
In this article, we have tried to enlist some of the best baseball chest protectors available in the market and have tried to offer you with all the positive and negative impacts of the product.
Best Catcher’s Chest Protector
Wilson Pro Stock Chest Protector
If you’re looking for the best baseball chest protector to purchase this 2021, then look no further than the Wilson Pro Stock Chest Protector. It has loads of features to provide full protection for the catchers when catching the team’s pitches or blocking wild pitches and foul balls.
The overall shell of this baseball chest protector is made with high-quality memory foam which is efficient in reducing the rebound and keeping the ball close so it doesn’t bounce off far. It reduces the amount of force and pressure that the catcher will receive since the memory foam memorizes the natural contours of the catcher’s body thereby delivering tough protection to avoid injuries.
It has perforated foam that delivers maximum breathability to dissipate body heat and encourage airflow throughout the chest protector. It also helps in absorbing shocks from catching pitches and provides light cushioning for a more comfortable catching.
It has angled pads placed down to the stomach to help the catchers block the ball in a straight position. Along with it are the internal PE plates in the throat, collarbone, and sternum for added protection in case the ball hits these areas. It also has molded removable shoulder caps that you can wear for extra protection or remove for more mobility.
The Wilson Pro Stock Chest Protector measures 16.5 inches and features an attractive gunmetal finish metal hardware available in three colors.
Evoshield Adult PRO-SRZ Chest Protector
The Adult PRO-SRZ catcher’s chest protector by Evoshield highlights its perfect fitting and solid security against the catcher’s body to deliver full performance. It has Fidlock Buckle which is a self-securing magnetic fastener that easily slides for easy on and off while making sure the chest protector is secured and doesn’t snap off while moving. To give the catcher a perfect fit, this chest protector features a moldable abdominal wire that can be easily adjusted accordingly by pressing it down and smoothening it against your abdomen to conform your body better and can be remolded any time you need to.
The Evoshield Adult PRO-SRZ meets the new NOCSAE standard, an athletic safety regulation that ensures improved protector performance thus reducing the risk of commotion cordis – a lethal disruption of heart rhythm caused by an impactful blow in the heart area. Hence, it is one of the safest chest protectors for youth league players to guarantee a safe game. It has a built-in/removable pocket NOCSAE protective chest guard that must be worn with the catcher’s chest protector to adhere to NOCSAE standards and regulations.
It has Sas-Tec Guard to protect the chest area by absorbing shocks when catching pitches. It is also extremely lightweight and durable to give maximum comfort and durability. It measures 16 inches and is available in five different colors.
Easton GAMETIME Baseball Catcher’s Chest Protector
The Easton GAMETIME chest protector for baseball is packed with an integrated impact-absorbing foam in the abdomen area to improve the rebound control by absorbing the force and reducing the speed so blocked balls stay close to the catcher and don’t get away far from him. The foam padding also helps in providing protection when catching pitches.
This chest protector is NOCSAE ND200 Chest Protectors for Commotio Cordis certified guaranteeing improved gear safety and efficient protection against heart-related injuries.
The adjustable shoulder cap offers additional protection on the shoulders to avoid injuries in case the ball hits your shoulders and is also removable if you want more freedom in your movements.
This chest protector is constructed with a one-sided heavy-duty steel inset waist clip that allows you to wrap it tightly across your body for a personalized fit. It also has a four-point webbing strap system that you can easily adjust to conform to your body better. However, others pointed out that the straps tend to fold down since they are not flexible enough making it uncomfortable as it doesn’t lay flat against the body.
The Easton GAMETIME chest protector is available in adult, intermediate, and youth sizes to cater to every catcher’s need. You can also choose from the four available color options on the GAMETIME chest protector.
Rawlings Pro Preferred Series Chest Protector
The Pro Preferred Series chest protector by Rawlings features TRI-TECH padding in the ribs and shoulder areas which is not only helpful in providing protection and shock absorbing properties when catching pitches but is also efficient in keeping the catcher cool while behind the plate by allowing cool air to circulate throughout your body and releasing hot air.
The ab wedges in the middle of the chest protector remain flat to help in controlling the rebound of the ball for missed or blocked pitches. It also has extended shoulder pads for extra protection without sacrificing mobility and has a lightweight feel.
Rawlings installed C-shape channels on the side of this chest protector that acts as a pad break to create form-fitting wrapping around your body for a custom fit. This design gives the catcher maximum mobility as it allows the chest protector to move with the body’s natural movements. It also has Rawling’s trademarked dynamic fit system on the shoulders that enables the chest protector to adjust to the correct positioning as the catcher moves. You can also find an adjustable back harness that contributes to the overall perfect fitting of the chest protector.
The Rawlings Pro Preferred Series Chest Protector is available in sizes 15 inches for youth, 15.5 for CVELI, 16 inches for intermediate, and 17 inches for an adult, CVEL, and CPRO and comes in eight different colors. However, others mentioned that it can be a little too light and the padding can be thicker.
All-Star System7 Axis Chest Protector
All-Star has developed the System7 Axis Chest Protector to meet the new NOCSAE standard for protection against commotio cordis which is an injury that can be lethal and can cause cardiac arrest for baseball players due to the blunt force to the chest area that the catchers are constantly exposed to. This chest protector has been certified to reduce the occurrence of this risk for safer gameplay.
It features their patent-pending chest panel that is constructed to provide improved protection by utilizing more firmness and structure to the panel to absorb shock from catching pitches without the extra weight to avoid any restriction on your movements.
It has wedged abs that help in improving breakpoints and in giving you increased rebound control when blocking the ball. It also has internal and moldable PE plates located in the shoulders and throat for added protection on these areas.
There are diamond vented lines placed in the backside of the chest protector that delivers breathability by allowing air to circulate throughout your body to keep you cool while playing behind the plates. These back sidelines also help in reducing the weight on your back by evenly distributing it across the protector.
You can find a thin, form-fitting DeltaFlex harness together with a stainless steel matte black hardware on the back that contributes to delivering an overall comfortable and custom snug fit.
The All-Star System7 Axis Chest Protector measures 16.5 inches and is available in 12 different colors.
Mizuno Youth Samurai Chest Protector
Mizuno tailored the Youth Samurai Chest Protector for youth players utilizing the same specs as their adult Samurai gear line. It provides the same protection but better fit for the youth.
This baseball chest protector is made with Low Rebound Foam with a specially designed adherent surface to help keep the balls in front of you and prevent it from bouncing too far from you when blocking the balls. It also stays flat to keep the balls fall and go in a straight direction thus providing you with better rebound control.
Inside the chest protector is an added layer of AirMesh that delivers extra protection as well as offers improved breathability to keep you cool as it allows air to flow throughout your body and keeps the chest protector from pressing and constricting your body. It also has detachable shoulder pads for increased coverage and protection in case the ball strikes your shoulders.
The Mizuno Youth Samurai chest protector is NOCSAE certified to guarantee a safe game and significantly reduced the risk of injuries for the active youth behind the plate. It measures 14 inches perfect for younger athletes and is available in 11 attractive colors and designs.
Under Armour PTH Victory Series Chest Protector
The PTH Victory Series Chest Protector by Under Armour is designed to be lightweight enough for youth players yet delivers the strength to hold up against different levels of impacts. It is developed to provide ample coverage and protection by utilizing a complete over-the-shoulder protection design.
It features moldable plastic inserts in the throat, sternum, and shoulders that work in a way to dissipate impactful blows when catching pitches and to reduce the risk of injuries when the ball hits these areas. It also has a fully-adjustable shoulder cap for added protection and coverage.
Ventilation ports are strategically placed to keep players cool and dry by encouraging airflow throughout the body. It also has AEGIS Microbe Shield technology that kills unwanted bacteria and odor that can accumulate because of sweat buildup.
The Under Armour PTH Victory Series Chest Protector is certified by SEI to meet the NOCSAE standard for protection against commotio cordis. It guarantees an improved and higher quality gear protector for safer gameplay for the youths behind the plate.
A four-point adjustable harness is placed on the back to provide a customizable and secured fit to make sure you are comfortable and the chest protector stays in place. This chest protector measures 15.5 inches and is available in four different colors.
How to Choose Catcher’s Chest Protector
Protection and Safety
Protection is the main reason why catchers need to wear a chest protector in the first place thereby it needs to be on top of your priority when choosing a chest protector. Safety is an important factor to consider in every position in baseball or softball but especially for catchers since they are prone to impactful blows from receiving pitches and blocking the balls.
Chest protector serves as the catcher’s central source of protection so look for a product that has great coverage and ample padding that can protect the ribcage, stomach, and heart. The material of the padding should have the ability to absorb and disperse the impact throughout the gear to protect you and minimize the risk of injuries on these key areas. Extra padding on the throat, collarbones, and shoulders is also an advantageous feature to look out for to give you extra coverage and protection on these areas that are exposed to potential injuries.
Chest protectors that are certified and regulated by NOCSAE also assure the catcher so definitely look for this certification. It guarantees that the product has passed the standards and evaluation tests provided by the committee to assure the superior quality of the equipment and its ability to reduce the risk of commotio cordis which is a fatal injury in the heart caused by an impactful blow in the heart area that the catchers are at risk.
Size and Fit
Choosing the right size of chest protector for your body is very important but can also be tricky. You can purchase the best chest protector in the world but if it is not the right size for you, it becomes useless and can even be cumbersome to wear.
As a general rule, the length of the chest protector, which is the measurement from the base of the neck down to the baseline should correlate to the measurement of your torso, which is the measurement from the base of your neck down to your navel to find your perfect size. However, if your measurement falls in between sizes, it is recommended that you round the number up and go for the longer size.
Manufacturers provide sizing charts and guides that also include the range of ages suitable for each size which is useful if you need more help in determining your size so definitely take a look at these charts and guides as well.
Another feature to look out for when choosing a chest protector is if it has an adjustable strap or fit systems placed at the back, sides, or waist that will allow you to fine-tune the fit of the protector according to your preferences to give you a more customized fit.
Material and Comfort
The material of the padding helps in the efficacy of the catcher’s catches and blocks. Many chest protectors utilize foams that have a little more adherence on the surface and have better shock-absorbing properties which not only protect the catcher from the impacts but also help him gain increased rebound control when blocking the ball so pay attention to the material of the padding as well.
Catchers need as much mobility as they can get when playing behind the plate. Make sure that the chest protector won’t cause restriction and uneasiness to your movement by checking the design and material. Designs that mimic the natural placement of abdominal muscles like angled positioning of pads, wedged designed abs, and pad breaks will likely provide the best mobility and flexibility since it will naturally follow your movements and won’t go against your motions.
For comfort, chest protectors that have ventilation ports or mesh layers are nice touches to look for. Since catchers spend their time behind the plate and baseball or softball games really bring out the heat, having that extra ventilation can go a long way in keeping the catchers cool, dry, and comfortable.
To prevent major injury or accidents in the game the player as well as the parent needs to research more on the subject to provide their kid with the finest quality chest protection as it is one of the most vulnerable areas in your body.
We hope this article helps you find your perfect fit.