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My Reebok plate shoes are starting to separate at the sole so I'm shopping for new plate shoes. Doesn't seem to be many options available anymore. Any thing to look out for with the NB? Are the sizes true to a regular shoe? 

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First, would a good cobbler be able to extend the life of your Reeboks? In my experience, some of those folks are magicians. 

My latest version of the NB's run true to my 10.5 size, unlike past versions of NB's (especially the old 450's)

 

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I agree with @kylejt, the NB’s do seem to run pretty true to size now. Keep an eye out on Amazon, I was able to score 2 pairs in my size recently for $80 a pair. The prices seem to fluctuate from size to size and even day to day. 

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Reebok was unceremoniously yanked out of baseball by its parent company – Adidas – because of branding / marketing strategy. 

New Balance is the only company of any size or scale making plate shoes. Mizuno makes some exceptional designs, but is prevented from importing any plate shoes by tariffs generated through a collusion of the North American shoe companies (Nike, New Balance, etc.). To get a Mizuno model, you'll have to pursue an order and pay the importation fee that may be in the $80-$160 range. 

Surprisingly, USA Softball (nee: ASA) has not stepped in, stepped up, advocated for or promoted for their umpires, men and women. There are no women-specific (sized, even) plate shoe models. There are no "basic" or "lite" plate shoe models out there on the market, ideally designed and styled (read: weight) for softball. Sure, we can scoff at softball, but any plate shoes for softball would be more than adequate for 46-60 / 50-70 baseball, and would take the wear and tear off high-end 60-90 baseball. It's this youth baseball, for hours upon hours, in the dirt, dust, mud, sand, drizzle... and errant catchers stepping on toes... that challenge the effective life of plate shoes. 

3N2 and Smitty both make their own plate shoes. 3N2s are decent, but have inconsistent reliability, due to the toe cap being composite plastic instead of metal-based. By contrast, Smitty obtained the planform for New Balance's M460v1's, made some tweaks, and is producing it at a relatively lessened price point. It would have been far more ideal had they acquired one of Reebok's two planforms (Zigs or Magistrates), but perhaps, Adidas wouldn't have released or sold it.

Another factor affecting the limited range of plate shoe offerings is the upheaval in MLB's uniform supplier contract. Majestic's contract wasn't renewed, and instead extended to UnderArmour. UnderArmour failed to execute the contract, and it fell to Nike. While Nike has delivered on the club uniforms, they haven't addressed umpire uniforms, neither attire nor shoes. No one is going to progress or forward footwear designs – especially plate shoes – when Nike is hanging out there. 

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14 hours ago, gnhbua93 said:

Other option that you have is using electrician shoes, like Will Little.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
 

I have been banging this drum for years. There are plenty of industrial shoes/boots out there that offer the metatarsal guard. A good many of them in steel.

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Any idea what brand they are? 
Today, Avenger 7322. Used to be under the Nautilus brand way back when. The only umpire equipment website that used to have it was the previous owner of btlofficialsgear.com, Rex in Missouri. You may want to contact the new administration, that is in one of the Dakotas, to see if they have any left.

I found mine many years ago from a work boots website on clearance because they were transitioning from the Nautilus brand to the Avenger brand.

Sent from my SM-T580 using Tapatalk

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2 hours ago, gnhbua93 said:

Today, Avenger 7322. Used to be under the Nautilus brand way back when. The only umpire equipment website that used to have it was the previous owner of btlofficialsgear.com, Rex in Missouri. You may want to contact the new administration, that is in one of the Dakotas, to see if they have any left.

I found mine many years ago from a work boots website on clearance because they were transitioning from the Nautilus brand to the Avenger brand.

Sent from my SM-T580 using Tapatalk
 

I remember looking at these ........so .........I went to find the Avenger, and on the same site as those, I found these ......... These would work!

https://www.steel-toe-shoes.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=RB4143&search_query_insert=Y&search_query=&search_results=100&conversion_insert=Y&conversion_product_id=RB4143

However, I'm not sure MT75 rating for metatarsal protection is enough for us :HS 

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I wear NB cross trainers in a 10.5 regular width, but for the NB plate shoes I wear 11 4E. A little loose, but the smaller sizes were too tight, especially for long weekends of games. Ump-attire has a great return policy, I tried 3-4 sizes to get it right.

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On 10/18/2020 at 6:45 PM, FranklinT said:

Quite a few guys wore the Nautilus version 10-15 years ago (when they were more easily available).  I believe Davis in addition to BTL (mentioned above) carried them too.

They did.

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Quite a few guys wore the Nautilus version 10-15 years ago (when they were more easily available).  I believe Davis in addition to BTL (mentioned above) carried them too.
The Nautilus shoe that Gerry Davis used to carry was a low cut convertible version.

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On 10/21/2020 at 10:51 AM, gnhbua93 said:

The Nautilus shoe that Gerry Davis used to carry was a low cut convertible version.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
 

My first pair of plate shoes were the GD convertibles. They lasted forever. 

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On 10/21/2020 at 10:51 AM, gnhbua93 said:

The Nautilus shoe that Gerry Davis used to carry was a low cut convertible version.

Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk
 

Hmm I was thinking of the high top nautilus version.  I recall that because I almost picked a pair up when all the larger manufacturers went away from the steel toes

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On 10/21/2020 at 7:51 AM, gnhbua93 said:

... was a low cut convertible version.

Elaborate on "convertible" please.

I've expressed this before... it doesn't cease to confound me that Wilson is supposed to be "our" company, and they own EvoShield. EvoShield is the iconic producer of shin, ankle, foot, wrist, and elbow guards in a variety of styles and sizes. Wilson, through EvoShield, isn't making a shaped metatarsal guard (and toe cap) that can attach to any sport shoes. 

How hard can that really be??!!

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On 10/13/2020 at 10:53 PM, MadMax said:

Reebok was unceremoniously yanked out of baseball by its parent company – Adidas – because of branding / marketing strategy. 

New Balance is the only company of any size or scale making plate shoes. Mizuno makes some exceptional designs, but is prevented from importing any plate shoes by tariffs generated through a collusion of the North American shoe companies (Nike, New Balance, etc.). To get a Mizuno model, you'll have to pursue an order and pay the importation fee that may be in the $80-$160 range. 

Surprisingly, USA Softball (nee: ASA) has not stepped in, stepped up, advocated for or promoted for their umpires, men and women. There are no women-specific (sized, even) plate shoe models. There are no "basic" or "lite" plate shoe models out there on the market, ideally designed and styled (read: weight) for softball. Sure, we can scoff at softball, but any plate shoes for softball would be more than adequate for 46-60 / 50-70 baseball, and would take the wear and tear off high-end 60-90 baseball. It's this youth baseball, for hours upon hours, in the dirt, dust, mud, sand, drizzle... and errant catchers stepping on toes... that challenge the effective life of plate shoes. 

3N2 and Smitty both make their own plate shoes. 3N2s are decent, but have inconsistent reliability, due to the toe cap being composite plastic instead of metal-based. By contrast, Smitty obtained the planform for New Balance's M460v1's, made some tweaks, and is producing it at a relatively lessened price point. It would have been far more ideal had they acquired one of Reebok's two planforms (Zigs or Magistrates), but perhaps, Adidas wouldn't have released or sold it.

Another factor affecting the limited range of plate shoe offerings is the upheaval in MLB's uniform supplier contract. Majestic's contract wasn't renewed, and instead extended to UnderArmour. UnderArmour failed to execute the contract, and it fell to Nike. While Nike has delivered on the club uniforms, they haven't addressed umpire uniforms, neither attire nor shoes. No one is going to progress or forward footwear designs – especially plate shoes – when Nike is hanging out there. 

I got my SSKs for about $200 off eBay 

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23 hours ago, MadMax said:

Elaborate on "convertible" please.

They were "convertible" because you could literally take the top off. They were button snapped on by little pieces of leather that sat right behind the toe cap.

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On 10/26/2020 at 1:32 AM, MadMax said:

I've expressed this before... it doesn't cease to confound me that Wilson is supposed to be "our" company, and they own EvoShield. EvoShield is the iconic producer of shin, ankle, foot, wrist, and elbow guards in a variety of styles and sizes. Wilson, through EvoShield, isn't making a shaped metatarsal guard (and toe cap) that can attach to any sport shoes. 

The only thing I can figure regarding the complete lack of competition for plate shoes is the market must be too small to mess with--especially since most folks keep plate shoes until they fall apart. In fact, it wasn't until I tuned in to the zoom on All-star this summer that I actually saw a company excited about umpire gear.

If you really want 'umpire' plate shoes, its NB or nothing.

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11 hours ago, aaluck said:

In fact, it wasn't until I tuned in to the zoom on All-star this summer that I actually saw a company excited about umpire gear.

I would include Force3 in that list as well. Though the noise about them being for officials stuff has died down with what seems like every catcher in pro ball using their masks.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 10/14/2020 at 1:53 AM, MadMax said:

Reebok was unceremoniously yanked out of baseball by its parent company – Adidas – because of branding / marketing strategy. 

New Balance is the only company of any size or scale making plate shoes. Mizuno makes some exceptional designs, but is prevented from importing any plate shoes by tariffs generated through a collusion of the North American shoe companies (Nike, New Balance, etc.). To get a Mizuno model, you'll have to pursue an order and pay the importation fee that may be in the $80-$160 range. 

Surprisingly, USA Softball (nee: ASA) has not stepped in, stepped up, advocated for or promoted for their umpires, men and women. There are no women-specific (sized, even) plate shoe models. There are no "basic" or "lite" plate shoe models out there on the market, ideally designed and styled (read: weight) for softball. Sure, we can scoff at softball, but any plate shoes for softball would be more than adequate for 46-60 / 50-70 baseball, and would take the wear and tear off high-end 60-90 baseball. It's this youth baseball, for hours upon hours, in the dirt, dust, mud, sand, drizzle... and errant catchers stepping on toes... that challenge the effective life of plate shoes. 

3N2 and Smitty both make their own plate shoes. 3N2s are decent, but have inconsistent reliability, due to the toe cap being composite plastic instead of metal-based. By contrast, Smitty obtained the planform for New Balance's M460v1's, made some tweaks, and is producing it at a relatively lessened price point. It would have been far more ideal had they acquired one of Reebok's two planforms (Zigs or Magistrates), but perhaps, Adidas wouldn't have released or sold it.

Another factor affecting the limited range of plate shoe offerings is the upheaval in MLB's uniform supplier contract. Majestic's contract wasn't renewed, and instead extended to UnderArmour. UnderArmour failed to execute the contract, and it fell to Nike. While Nike has delivered on the club uniforms, they haven't addressed umpire uniforms, neither attire nor shoes. No one is going to progress or forward footwear designs – especially plate shoes – when Nike is hanging out there. 

Good analysis. A few additive points.

3n2 is pretty popular with softball umpires. Generally, the protective concerns are much less - and not just with shoes.

Do know there was a bad batch of shoes in 2016 that caused some of the lesser protective perspectives out there with baseball umpires. This was corrected shortly thereafter.

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On 10/13/2020 at 11:17 PM, blue32 said:

I agree with @kylejt, the NB’s do seem to run pretty true to size now. Keep an eye out on Amazon, I was able to score 2 pairs in my size recently for $80 a pair. The prices seem to fluctuate from size to size and even day to day. 

I started another post about this with the NB shoes.  Are they discontinuing the v3?

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