Perfect Umpiring: The Best Umpire Gear of 2024

April 5, 2024
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Baseball can be a dangerous sport, with pitches that can reach speeds of 100 mph. Umpires stand in the line of fire and are susceptible to injury from fastballs or mishits. Whether you’re umpiring for your weekend warriors or professionally, the right gear is essential to prevent injuries.

What gear does an umpire need?

  1. Head and Face:

There are two kinds of head and face protection for umpires. The face mask type is commonly seen on the field and doesn’t fully wrap around the head. The other version is like a hockey helmet and covers the whole head. 

  1. Chest:

The chest holds vital organs and must be protected adequately. Chest protectors are made of hard plastic materials that act as shields for the front of the body and can even have softer padding underneath for added protection.

  1. Legs:

The umpire’s stance makes their legs vulnerable to injury. Leg guards above the knee offer the most protection, but some opt for guards that only cover the shin. 

  1. Shoes:

Umpires often wear low-top shoes for better mobility. Umpires who stand at the plate also wear shoes with steel toes for added durability and protection in case of sliding players. 

  1. Clothing:

Umpires have to follow certain clothing rules when on the field. Umpire pants are usually gray and must completely cover the ankle and back of the foot. Umpires can wear pleated or non-pleated pants and pair them with a matte or shiny leather black belt.

Umpires have a little more freedom when it comes to shirts. There are many colors of umpire shirts, but the most common are black and blue. Often, the league decides what colors the umpires must wear.

Umpires are also encouraged to wear hats with 2-inch brims that always face forward. 

The Best Umpire Gear of 2024

If you want to kickstart your umpiring journey this 2024, you’ve come to the right place. We rounded up the best equipment for umpires who need the proper protection below:

1. Champion Sports Lightweight Umpire Face Mask

The Lightweight Umpire Face Mask from Champion Sports is an excellent option for veteran and first-time umpires. It’s relatively affordable but offers durability and a classic look that lasts multiple seasons. Thanks to its added guards, the reinforced steel cage with hollow wire construction provides excellent protection, especially in the throat, ear, and forehead areas.

Comfort is key when it comes to umpiring gear, and the Champion Sports Lightweight Umpire Face Mask delivers. This mask, weighing only 18 ounces, is designed for extended wear, ensuring you can focus on the game. The padding, covered with black leather and equipped with black DryTek EverClean pads, effectively wicks away sweat and resists odors. This mask offers high visibility, is crucial for umpires making quick decisions, and is particularly suitable for warm days.

The Champion Sports Lightweight Umpire Face Mask is a premier choice for all umpires. It is suitable for most weather conditions and offers great protection at a great price.

2. Champion Sports Pro Model Umpire Chest Protector

The Champion Sports Pro Model Umpire Chest Protector is a must-have for any umpire. This lightweight yet sturdy protector, made with durable plastic, measures 17 inches for full coverage. The extra-wide sides and raised shoulder caps provide increased protection, especially in the event of wild pitches. Designed for total mobility, the lightweight, soft foam padding with a closed-cell mesh cover allows you to move freely on the field.

The lightweight soft foam padding with a closed-cell mesh cover allows total mobility. The inner padding is breathable and wicks away sweat, but as with any chest protector, it can still feel warm on hotter days. 

The Champion Sports Umpire Chest Protector has an interlocking plate design for a full range of motion and natural movements. This is an excellent option for umpires of players of all ages and skill levels, as it offers next-level protection at a great price range.

3. CHAMPRO Compact Pro Plus Umpire Leg Guard

The CHAMPRO Compact Pro Plus Umpire Leg Guards deliver ample protection to a part of the upper leg, providing more coverage than a simple shin guard. This comes in various lengths to fit your shin well.

The CHAMPRO Pro-Plus Leg Guards epitomize the premium protective gear essential for umpires during game calls. Featuring an elongated triple knee design, these leg guards offer enhanced safeguarding for the upper leg region just above the knee, ensuring extensive coverage surpassing conventional shin guards. The contour-molded shin caps ensure a snug fit, promoting comfort throughout wear. Its integrated ventilation apertures reduce heat accumulation, ensuring umpires stay cool even during prolonged matches in sweltering conditions.

Complete with full calf and ankle wings, these guards provide comprehensive protection for vulnerable areas of the legs. The CHAMPRO-exclusive extended hinged instep/foot cap is crucial for umpires opting out of protective footwear. The cap can be effortlessly detached using a screwdriver, making customization easy. The CHAMPRO Pro-Plus Leg Guards offer unparalleled protection and comfort, making them indispensable for umpires seeking top-tier equipment to enhance their on-field performance and safety.

4. Murray Sporting Goods Short Sleeve Polo

The Murray Sporting Goods Short Sleeve Polo is an umpire must-have for baseball or softball officiating. It offers the perfect blend of fit, style, and comfort. Crafted from lightweight, breathable fabric, it ensures you stay cool and comfortable on game day. The short-sleeved polo design features a 3-button closure and knitted sleeve cuffs and comes in Light Blue, Navy Blue, and Black.

Specifically tailored for use with a chest protector, these shirts boast extra tuck-in length at the back and a left-chest pocket stitched to match the top seamlessly. The material, made of 100% micro-polyester performance fabric, incorporates mesh vents for enhanced breathability and sweat-wicking properties, keeping you dry and focused throughout the game.

Suitable for umpires of all ages, from high school to youth leagues, this shirt is built to endure the demands of the game. Whether officiating under the scorching sun or in milder weather conditions, the Murray Sporting Goods Short Sleeve Polo ensures durability and performance, making it an essential addition to your officiating gear.

5. CHAMPRO The Field Polyester Baseball Umpire Pant

The Champro, The Field Polyester Baseball Umpire Pant, is a versatile choice for plate and field umpires. Its unique “combo” design fits effortlessly over umpire leg guards, ensuring comfort and functionality on the field. The stretch elastic waistband provides a snug yet comfortable fit around the waist, enhancing mobility during game time.

These pants feature unfinished, open-hem leg openings, providing customization options that let umpires tailor the length to their preference. The construction includes a double-panel fabric seat, making them exceptionally durable and capable of withstanding prolonged umpire stances without wearing out quickly.

Made from 100% water-resistant woven polyester, they keep umpires dry and comfortable in various weather conditions, offering reliable protection and comfort on scorching sunny days and damp playing fields.

The Champro The Field Polyester Baseball Umpire Pant combines durability, comfort, and functionality, making it an essential addition to any umpire’s gear collection.

Umpiring can be challenging, mainly because of their stance during the game. Umpires must be cautious of injuries and can only do their essential job of judging with the best umpire gear. We hope you enjoy these picks for 2024. Check out our other reviews for the latest baseball and softball equipment.