Under Armour, the company who is very well known for the excellent and innovative athletic apparel and workout gear that they produce, also produces a few different lines of gear for baseball and softball catchers. The reason for Under Armour’s surge in popularity is mainly due to the fact that they produce high quality equipment for the athletes that wear them. Since Under Armour tests their products extensively with athletes, they learn the pro & cons of the equipment and create innovative features to help the athletes day in and day out. The gear itself is also worn by many top level professional catchers currently in the big leagues like Buster Posey, Brian McCann and Yasmani Grandal.
Of note: most companies use Youth, Intermediate and Adult to differentiate their sizing. Under Armour instead uses Youth, Junior and Senior designations.
Under Armour offers a few different complete sets for catchers. These sets include all of the necessities to get behind the plate (i.e. chest protector, leg guards, and mask).
From the “Protect this house” line of gear, Under Armour has created Victory Series catchers gear for all levels from youth to adult. This series is perfect for beginning to intermediate level players as it has all of the major necessities required to station yourself behind home plate. It may not have all of the same features that are included in some of the $400 sets, but there is still quite a bit to like about this series. I feel like when I read the feature list that they have really considered what a catcher could need. For example, the chest protector has 3 additional plastic inserts placed into the chest, shoulders and throat area for better protection in the key areas. The leg guards as well looks to offer a great fit and comfort to a catcher as they feature extra wide adjustment straps and ventilation ports to keep your legs fresh and dry.
- Pros: Great Value, More Protection
- Target: Beginner to Intermediate
- Sizes: Adult, Intermediate, and Youth
- Colors: Black/Silver, Navy/Silver, Scarlet/Silver, and Royal/Silver
- Price: $175 – $225
Although the full Victory series set does not include the bells & whistles like some others, you can pick up this set of exceptional gear for under $200 (Intermediate levels), whereas others you cannot. Under Armour is one of the top up and coming brands in the catching gear world and is starting to take many sales away from the big players like Easton, and All Star. I would say in the next 10 years Under Armour will be ranked as one of the top brands.
- Senior Sizes: Chest Protector (15.5″), Leg Guards (14.5″), and Mask (7″ – 7 3/4″)
- Junior Sizes: Chest Protector (14.5″), Leg Guards (13″), and Mask (6 1/4″ – 7″)
- Youth Sizes: Chest Protector (13.5″), Leg Guards (11.5″), and Mask (6 1/4″ – 7″)
UA Pro Kit
For catchers who are a little more competitive and are looking for higher quality gear than the Victory Series above, the UA Pro kit offered by Under Armour might be exactly what you are looking for.
- Pros: Increased Protection (additional inserts), Custom Fit
- Target: Intermediate to Competitive
- Sizes: Adult, and Intermediate
- Colors: Black only
- Price: $240 – $280
For most catchers the Victory series will be fine but there are some catchers that need a little more to perform their best. The Under Armour baseball chest protector included in this kit is a great example. Instead of the regular over your shoulder styled chest protector, the UA Pro takes sizing one step further and features extra inserts in the neck, sternum and shoulder areas to better fit your body shape and deflect any impact to important areas. The leg guards as well are quite similar in that extra high impact plastic has been applied to areas where catchers most often suffer the most damage. There is no better feeling for a catcher when they don’t have to worry about the equipment they wear and can concentrate on catching.
- Senior Sizes (perfect for Ages 12-16): Chest Protector (15.5″), Leg Guards (14.5″), and Mask (7″ – 7 3/4″)
- Junior Sizes (perfect for Ages 9-12): Chest Protector (14.5″), Leg Guards (13″), and Mask (6 1/4″ – 7″)
One of the greatest things about Under Armour is their willingness to listen to athletes needs, take those requirements and turn them into a great product. Based on the specification of both the Victory Series and Pro chest protectors, I feel like they did a great job for this piece of equipment as well. As we all know, the smartest people are the ones who use the equipment the most!
Victory Series Chest Protector
The Victory series chest protector is one of the newest offerings. Priced from $49.99 to $59.99, these chest protectors offer many great features for their price. The Victory Series can be fully modified and customized for size in the shoulder, throat, and body areas.
The Victory Series from Under Armour is one of the lightest models of offered in the chest protector line and is great for cleaning as it can be washed in the regular washing machine to kill all of the unwanted smells that are created when wearing equipment all game long. As many would know this is key especially in those difficult hot summer days.
The Victory chest protector offers full over the shoulder protection and also includes an extra shoulder cap that can be adjusted to suit your needed. This extra level of protection keeps your body as protected as possible. Another great aspect is the ability to provide a custom fit for any catcher. By providing 4 different adjustment spots in the harness catchers are provided with a great fit at a great cost.
- Sizes: Available in Senior (15.5 inch), Intermediate (14.5 inch), and Youth(13.5 inch) sizes
- Colors: Black/Silver, Navy/Silver, Royal/Silver, and Scarlet/Silver
The aim of any chest protector is to provide as much protection as possible. While doing this Under Armour has also created a line that looks incredible stylish as well. The UA Pro is one of the most advanced available as it offers a substantial amount of protection while still allowing the catcher to be mobile and comfortable behind home plate.
Although priced higher than average, the Pro version has been built with many great features to help accelerate your game. One of the more advanced features in particular is the use of memory foam on the inside and a flatter surface on the exterior. How does this help? If you’ve ever played and had a wild pitch bounce off your chest and have no idea where it went then this feature should pique your interest. This construction allows for these types of wild pitches to deaden on impact as much as possible and fall right in front of you. So you longer have to worry about runners advancing as much on passed balls.
Comfort wise, the Pro series has you covered. Featuring a great fit, a new vent system, and a mesh backing, you should be able to keep cool all game long and not want to rip your equipment off the second you get a chance to.
- Sizes: Available in Adult (16.5 inch) sizes only
- Colors: Black, Green, Maroon, Navy, Royal, and Scarlet
Although relatively new to the baseball equipment industry, a pair of Under Armour leg guards will without a doubt help you become a better catcher. Leg guards are typically one of the last things you’ll think about as a catcher but you should play close attention to what each offers. Some of the major complaints are loose fitting models and others that make you feel like you can’t even move. From the sounds of things both the UA Pro and Victory Series models we describe below look to have this covered as they both allow the catcher to move and pay little attention to those things wrapped around their legs.
Although more expensive that the average set you’ll find, the UA Pro’s are without a doubt one of the best pairs on the market. Each UA Pro leg guard was built with very strong PE plastic to ensure they can sustain any amount of impact or disturbance that occurs during a game.
They have even added extra plastic to some of the more high impact areas experienced as a catcher like the knee and surrounding shin areas. This strategy may sound simple, but making specific extra thick areas requires quite a bit of design effort so to ensure that a catcher is still as mobile as possible. Most leg guards you’ll find as well feature a double knee design. The UA Pro’s instead offer a triple knee design which allows even more mobility and better protection in the crouch position.
In terms of fit, these ones seem to have a little bit of everything. Using extra wide neoprene straps, the leg guards should be able to fit nice and securely against you.
- Sizes: Available in Adult (16.5 inch) sizes
- Colors: Black, Green, Maroon, Navy, Royal, or Scarlet
The newest leg guards available from Under Armour are the Protect This House Victory series. These shin guards are the least expensive of the three different options that Under Armour makes but still provide more features than many competitors.
Although the UA Pro model above features a sleek triple knee design, the Victory series is slightly lower as they use a double knee design. This should still provide a catcher with ample mobility and protection. Speaking of protection, these things should be rock solid as they feature the high impact ABS plastic on the exterior.
For comfort, some larger sized ventilation areas have been applied to this model with the goal of providing the catcher with something that is more breathable. After all, sitting in the crouch position is the hot summer heat can certainly cause some sweat and discomfort. These vents should help ease that and allow for cool air to come in while the hot air goes out.
In the event that they become quite smelly (lets face it they will), Under Armour has made these leg guards completely machine washable. Therefore after the weekend tournament, it may be a good idea to give them a good wash and keep them as smell free as possible.
- Sizes: Available in Senior (14.5 inch), Junior(13 inch), and Youth (11.5 inch) sizes.
- Colors: Black/Silver, Royal/Silver, Navy/Silver, and Scarlet/Silver.
Last but not least are the masks offered by Under Armour. I am not sure if it is just my bias, but when I look at the pictures, I can’t help but think “wow, they look great”. I can’t really explain why…it just feels like their masks look cooler than most of the other brands around. The ones we focus on here are the Pro series, Victory helmet, and the traditional facemask.
Pro Catchers Mask
The Pro helmet comes in both Adult and Youth sizes and features a 1-tone, 2-tone, or matte color finish. As I said in the Intro, just looking at these helmets is a treat as they really do look fantastic. Although they do look great, the more important aspect is how well they protect your head. Baseball is obviously a dangerous game, so care should always be taken when evaluating which helmet will keep your head fully protected the longest.
The Pro helmet comes equipped with a new designed I-Bar VISION cage which provides two main benefits: more strength, and a better vision of the entire field. As mentioned on our homepage since a catcher acts almost like a second manager on the field, it is very important to be able to see what your team and your opposition is doing on the base paths.
The interior looks to be quite comfortable as well. The lining used is said to be soft, and is built to withstand sweat and moisture coming from your head area. Although that sounds kind of gross and stinky, thankfully the liner can be taken out easily and washed when needed.
With carefully shaped steel, the cage is fully capable of deflecting any baseball that hits it giving you the most confidence possible. With a strongly built outer shell, and an inside filled with protective lined padding, this helmet will surely help you behind the plate!
- Sizes: Available in Adult (7″ – 7 3/4″), and Youth (6 1/4″ – 7″) sizes
- Colors: Black, Green, Maroon, Navy, Scarlet, and Royal
- Note: Available in Single, Tow-tone, and Matte finishes
Victory Series Helmet
Coming in Youth to adult sizes, the Victory series is the more popular mask made by Under Armour as the price point is much nicer than the advanced Pro version.
However, although the price point is cheaper, there are still manly similarities between the two choices. For example, like the Pro helmet, the Victory Series also has a nice sturdy exterior shell made from impacting absorbing ABS plastic. This plastic is rock solid and has the ability to deflect balls that may be fouled into your head area leaving you feeling nothing other than a little bit of nervousness. It also features the same I-Bar VISION cage for more strength, durability and a better full vision of the entire field.
I’m not sure if there is a big difference but the only one that can be noticed in the strength of the ABS plastic used. In the Victory series, it uses what they label as “high impact resistant” whereas the Pro uses simply “high grade”. Another difference is that the Victory Series liner is not advertised as being washable. It still features the same sweat resistant features so am not sure this really makes that much of a difference.
- Sizes: Available in Adult (7″ – 7 3/4″), and Youth (6 1/4″ – 7″) sizes
- Colors: Black, Navy, Scarlet, and Royal
Our thoughts on Under Armour
As mentioned earlier, Under Armour is a fantastic company that keeps growing and growing, which means continuous improvements. I’ve already seen a large number of young and older players make the switch and I really do believe we’ll see lots of people wearing this gear soon enough. The quality and craftsmanship in making each piece can clearly be seen in the various descriptions for each product and I would not hesitate if someone ever offered me a chance to use this gear.