Whether you’re new to the umpire game or a seasoned veteran, your appearance and choice of equipment set the tone for the game. From little league to the big leagues, you want to be locked in and ready to go every time you step onto the field. Keep it professional and command the respect you deserve by making sure you have the right tools for the job before you get behind the plate. At 3N2, we know your first impression is a lasting one, so we’ve made a list of everything you’ll need to make quick, decisive calls and look good while doing it. Be ready for whatever the game throws at you with our guide to must-have umpire gear:
As an umpire, safety is your #1 priority so protecting yourself is essential. This is especially true behind home plate where broken bats, foul tips, and smoking-fast pitches can do serious damage.
- Face Mask
Without a doubt, your face and head are the most important parts of your body to protect. Choosing between the traditional mask or a hockey style helmet comes down to personal preference and desired level of protection. Traditional masks are the most popular choice among umpires, who tend to prefer the classic styling and lighter weight. Helmets are gaining in popularity due to their superior whole-head protection and improvements in materials and comfort.
- Chest Protector
Keep vital organs safe while you’re in the strike zone by wearing a chest protector. Hard shell protectors are recommended for higher level competition and are the choice of most umpires as they offer the best protection. Soft shell protectors cost less and are more comfortable but are only appropriate for leagues lower than high school level.
- Leg Guards
Leg guards are available in single-knee, double-knee, and triple-knee, with more knees offering greater protection. As with other protective gear, less protection means greater comfort. Many umpires opt for the middle ground for leg guards.
Umpire shoes are a necessary part of the uniform and both base shoes and plate shoes are recommended.
Lightweight and durable, the Reaction Lo will help you move into position quickly and confidently so you never miss a play.
However, if you start with only one pair go with plate shoes for the extra protection.
Your apparel says a lot about who you are on the diamond. Wearing clean, well-kept uniform items in a professional manner will let others know that you’re the authority, you take the game seriously, and that your word is the final word.
Leagues and associations have different requirements for shirt colors, but most will require a basic umpire polo with left chest pocket.
The Umpire Polo Shirt has classic styling and textured mesh with side vents so you can keep your cool in the heat of the game.
Some umpires buy both plate pants and base pants, particularly at the higher levels, but combo pants are more cost effective and get the job done in style. Choose lighter pants for warmer weather and heavier lined pants for night games or cool days.
You’ll want an umpire jacket for those cool nights or rainy days so you can stay comfortable and keep your head in the game.
Our Umpire Half-Zip Jacket looks great and features a comfortable fit for easy layering.
The brand new 3N2 ColdStrike Jacket is built to keep you warm on the coldest days without sacrificing your professional look. Featuring double hand warming pockets and fleece lining, you’ll be ready to focus on the intensity of the game instead of focusing on keeping warm.
A belt is important for holding your ball bag as well as for completing your professional look on the field. A 1 ¾” wide all-black leather belt is the industry standard.
Umpire hats come in several fabrics, fits, and bill lengths. Polyester or surge is the warmer choice for cooler weather, mesh is great for warm weather, and performance fabric is the most versatile and can be worn in any weather. You can choose a fitted hat for a more refined and tailored look or a stretch-to-fit hat that offers greater comfort and flexibility. Bill lengths are gauged by the number of lines of stitches on the bill; the more lines, the longer the bill. 2, 4, 6, and 8-stitch are the available bill lengths, 6 and 8 being the most popular among umpires. Bill length is a matter of personal preference. The shorter the bill the easier it is to remove your mask without also removing your hat. Standard hat colors are black and navy.
Black socks are a standard part of the uniform but our Full Length Socks up your game. Made of ultra-comfortable poly-cotton with a highly efficient moisture management finish to keep you dry, these socks keep your feet comfortable so you can keep up during the long hours and fast action.
Always be prepared with everything you’ll need to do your job well and efficiently. Organization looks good and ensures you’ll be ready to handle any playing situation that might arise.
- Ball Bag
Behind home plate you’ll need a ball bag to hold extra balls as well as your plate brush and other tools. You can choose to have one ball bag or one on each side.
Our Umpire Ball Bag comes in navy or black, features heavy duty fabric and construction for season-after-season durability, and extra pockets for added functionality.
- Plate Brush, Indicator, and Data Wallet
These are the tools of the trade. You’ll need a plate brush for dusting dirt and debris off of the plate, a count indicator to keep track of balls, strikes, and outs, and a data wallet to hold the official lineup.
- Equipment Bag
Finally, you’ll need an equipment bag to hold all of the above.
The 3N2 Big Bag features a huge interior compartment, perfect for your bulky protective gear, and two zippered side compartments to hold smaller items and to keep your apparel separate and clean. Roller wheels go where you go and bottom rails protect against wear and tear.
When you step onto the field, make sure you exude professionalism, preparedness, competence, and authority. Having the right apparel and gear and wearing those items well will give the impression that you not only know what you’re doing but that you deserve respect from the players and coaches participating in the game. Your appearance can set that tone from the start…the rest is up to you.