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Showing content with the highest reputation since 01/01/2011 in Review Reviews

  1. 2 points
    3N2 Reaction Low Plate Shoe Due to the utter failure of my New Balance MU460's, I was cast into a predicament; with a substantial number of games left in the year and the release of the forthcoming New Balance MU460-V3's expected in January of 2017, I had to find something to serve as a plate shoe. So disheartening were the MU460's (more like, what they had become – abject terrible monsters) that I even started combing through eBay looking for Reeboks. Anyone who knows me will attest, I physically cannot wear Reeboks without my back seizing up. It's that dire of a situation. I knew that 3N2 made plate shoes, but I had no knowledge of how they fit or how they felt. 3N2 had supplied the footwear to the staff of Cooperstown Dreams Park, but they (the staff) didn't praise or slam them, so I was only familiar with the look of the shoes. With that, I put a call into Ump-Attire, and they gave me all the necessary info and encouraged me to try a pair out, if only to hold me over until the MU460-V3's were ready for sale. Immediately upon delivery, I noticed something pleasingly tangible – the Reactions are very light. Significantly lighter than even a brand-new MU460. This lightness carries over into the performance of the shoe, as they don't retain sweat in swampy, bucket-filling amounts (like the MU460's), nor do they get soggy in damp conditions. The only thing that occasionally weighs them down is the mud clinging to the bottom (more on that later). It is comprised of genuine leather, with a thermoformed toe cap and a carbon-fiber metatarsal guard. While it lacks the gleam of the polished synthetic leather that is the MU460, it does take a shining and polishing rather well. Keep them clean and conditioned and give them a shine and polish ever so often, and they'll look quite top-notch. The interior isn't as cavernous as the MU460, but it certainly is spacious. As advertised, the midsole is exceedingly comfortable. It may just be the low-cut, but I feel much more nimble and athletic in these than the boot-like New Balances. There is no lack of protection in these, either. Only the outsole, the tread, is what is questionable about these shoes. The very deliberate abundance of studs on the tread of the shoes brings to mind that these shoes could double as landscaper's aerators. In most sand and loose dirt surfaces, these could definitely suit the bill; otherwise, on hard surfaces, they are overkill, and when that ground is watered either by groundscrew or rain, and becomes muddy, the shoes tend to hold that mud rather tenaciously. Certainly spraying the treads with something like Anti-Static-Cling spray does help. In summary, don't count out these shoes just because they don't come from a marquee name like Reebok or New Balance; they're more than adequate and nearly exceptional, given the price. They certainly let you operate as a properly equipped plate umpire, yet will allow you to maximize your budget and resources to purchase other good quality protective gear.
  2. 2 points
    The XV is the best of the sub-$100 chest protectors, and can very much wade into the same waters as the more expensive hardshells. It is the 3rd iteration in Schutt's AiR Flex line, using the same carapace pieces as its two predecessors, this time in jet black, with a better fitting layout (the shoulder arches are angled differently to create a larger neck opening, the ailettes are positioned more strategically, etc.). The major change is the padding vest, this time using Schutt's D3O foam, an advanced TPU-EVA foam, as hole-y bricks arranged with tactful thought. If you thought the AiR Flex I's and II's were well-ventilated, this padding has more holes in it than a Swiss Cheese Contest. Let me assuage your concerns though, these holes do not compromise protection... in the slightest... at all. In fact, the D3O bricks are nearly twice as thick as the Brock Bead tubes of the AiR Flex II, while being around 3/4th's the weight. The foam is _that_ good. And just like the AiR Flex II, there is an abdomen extension included. Ventilation and weight-less-ness of the XV are its real key strengths, allowing for less heat fatigue than the suffocating WestVests, especially when doing multiple-game tournaments. The only negative of this entire rig, and the only reason I withhold that 5th star, is the harness. It is terrible. I am known locally and here on U-E for removing the harness completely and retrofitting XV's to use Flex-style harnesses, whether they be the UmpLife RayFlex, the DeltaFlex, or Force3 Flex. This is the only way to really get that optimum, effective, conforming fit you need so as to take this CP into the same territory (game level) as the WestVests, UnEquals, and System7's. I've had my XV for four years now, and I've done MSBL, NABA, NAIA, High School, Showcase, College, Minor League, and Extended MLB Spring Training ball with the XV, with no consideration of switching to anything else any time soon.
  3. 1 point
    When I first broke into HS Varsity baseball, my wife bought me the Wilson Titanium mask. All black padding, expensive, solid protection - I figured I was set for the next 10 years. Alas, 3 years later I encountered umpire-empire and my gear-whore days commenced. Looking for an affordable (it's in the $70-80 range!), quality, lighter, cool mask, I encountered the All-Star 4000fm. Looked good, felt good, used it for a few weeks working a collegiate summer league, and finally took a solid shot off it. The angular frame did it's job, the stock All-Star pads did their jobs, and I was sold. This mask is incredibly light, a lot lighter than the Titanium, and lighter than most of the Wilson masks that my partners are wearing. The stock pads have served me well-enough into upper 80s / low 90s pitching, the vision is clear without having to go new-view...I have zero complaints about the mask. The upper mask frame is contoured to increase mask-pad contact with your forehead. Because of this, Team Wendy pads won't fit on this top part. However, I've had zero issues with the stock pads in over 5 years now. For $80, it's the best mask I've come across that blends safety, cool factor, and a lighter weight.
  4. 1 point
    Just for reference, I've owned and used the following hardshell protectors: Platinum, Gold, MLU, Douglas, Douglas/Wilson, Cooper (w/ the slats), Champion, Davishield and Riddell (and probably some more I can't recall). I switched to the All Star last year, and IMO it's the best rig going. Perfect? No, but overall the best. First is protection. I don't think there's a better protecting c/p out there. There's no gaps, and no hinging plates. I like that the padding is removable, and washable. I machine wash it on GENTLE and let it air dry. Plus, you can easily buy replacement padding. Need I say anything about the Delta Flex harness? This should be standard equipment for everyone. I really like the open channel in the middle. It seems to let the air through. It's not light, and not really cool. It's bulky, compared to most. And some guys have trouble fitting it over their noggins. But the Delta Flex keeps it from riding down, and seem to mitigate the weight issue. There are rigs that are lighter, cooler, slimmer and cheaper. But overall, I'm sticking with the All Star.
  5. 1 point
    The initial price of $120 can be enough to make many look elsewhere, but I can assure you that the money will be well spent. Pros: These shin guards are extremely light weight (barely know I'm wearing them) They are also very protective at the same time. I have taken about 20 hits off these shin guards and have never felt any sort of pain whatsoever. The insides are machine washable which makes cleaning them very easy. They use buckles instead of metal clasps, which prevents rust and frankly looks better! They come with a storage bag which I still use after every game.Cons: The straps will rub against your legs so it is a necessity to wear leggings with these shin guards. However after a couple games, I got used to wearing the leggings and now I realize that they actually help to keep me cool! They do not come in a 17' inch size. There have been many posts regarding this and my advice is to size up. I'm only 5'11 and I sized up to the 18' and they fit great! Overall: These shin guards are definitely worth every penny. They are the best umpire equipment purchase I have made and I strongly encourage you to make that very same purchase, you won't regret it
  6. 1 point
    These are very comfortable shin gaurds. I forget I have them on! The protection is not major leauge caliber, but I would feel comfortable calling up through highschool with them. They are light and the foot gaurd comes off easily for use with plate shoes!
  7. 1 point
    I always visit Ump-Attire.com first when there is something I want to buy. They have a good selection and good products. The best thing about Ump-Attire.com is the service. If my scale had a higher rating I would give it in service. They also ship very quickly. With standard shipping it only takes a few days to get your goods. The owner, Jim Kirk, is very knowledgeable and responsive. A while back I placed an order and for whatever reason needed to make a return. It was taken care of immediately with no problems. Jim also posts his email address on his website and does respond quickly to questions. The prices are average among suppliers but they do run some sales with great prices. The selection is good and changing keeping a pulse on what umpires want. I've never been disappointed in Ump-Attire.com and give my highest recommendation!
  8. 1 point
    I have used a set of these from another umpire. first time i used them they were unnoticable. kudos to diamond for this product. the only con i have is with the way it fits on the knee...and i believe this is due to the fact they are made to wear under pants. I have yet to do this and any movement, sometime feels like they are moving or coming off..takes getting used to as i have worn them for several games now and have no issues. i have also been hit several time and havent felt a thing. these are very lightweight, and protect very well.
  9. 1 point
    Jim and his Staff take care of its customers. First rate organization! Allan
  10. 1 point
    Best hat on the market. Comes in 5 sizes. 1-5. This is great for those that aren't quite sure what size or are between sizes. They flex a little, but it's not "too loose" where it comes off when you remove your mask, like the flex fit hats do. The hats looks great. My combo hat (I use on the plate) has been washed several times. It looks brand new. doesnt fade, shrink or pucker like the wool blend hats do after washing. I use the plastic washing frame, throw it in the dishwasher for a few min. and it's brand new again. Also it only runs about $12.
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