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By Blake Muir
If you’ve ever seen a kid behind the plate with sweet customized catcher’s gear, you may have wondered where to find it and whether it is worth investing the extra cost into the gear. I have had the pleasure of putting many catchers into middle and high school programs. In the process, I have had experience with custom as well as matching catcher’s gear and am ready to help you sort through the differences.
Matching different colors on each piece of your catcher’s gear from the same brand might be considered by some a “custom” set. Many companies offer that option. A truly custom set at the amateur level is offered only by All-Star. Understanding the differences between matching vs. custom catching equipment can help you decide which is best for your catcher.
In a nutshell, matching catcher’s equipment is just stock equipment (in a certain color) usually sold as a boxed set. When you purchase a matching box set, all the equipment is sized based on age. You will not be able to mix sizes when purchasing this way. You may be able to purchase each piece individually to mix sizes, but cost will significantly increase compared to the boxed set and pieces will only be available in the colors offered.
Custom catching equipment is just that, custom to your player’s taste and sizing. You will be able to choose colors, accent colors and sizes. Some brands will even allow you to monogram a name into the chest guard, just like your favorite pro player.
There are several companies that now allow a player to “customize” his catching equipment. We will take a shallow dive into each brand and discuss the different customization options they offer.
All Star equipment is some of the best on the market. It is also the only truly custom equipment as all others can just be matched. It is durable, generally stays cleaner and is very comfortable to wear. In fact, Under Armour’s catching gear is made by All Star. All Star will also expedite the catching gear for an ADDITIONAL $150.00
You can also have it embroidered for an ADDITIONAL $15.00
Boombah catching equipment fits comfortably and held up as far as durability in JBR usage behind the plate. If you are looking to mix the colors of your equipment, they may be your best bet. They have a lot of colors and are priced cheaper than most of the other “custom” brands.
Under Armour catcher’s equipment is made by All Star (see above). Under Armour also has almost all standard colors available, they do not, however, have any two tone equipment.
NOT CURRENTLY AVAILBLE FOR CUSTOMIZATION. Mizuno has a ton of color combinations that may override your desire for custom equipment and end up saving you a ton of money.
NOT CURRENTLY AVAILBLE FOR CUSTOMIZATION
As you outfit your hero behind the plate, customizing gear may be a good idea to achieve a more personalized fit as well as a boost in confidence and intimidation factor. If you are looking for generic gear to pass through a league or team, basic matching gear may be the way to go.