3N2 Blog

Top 10 Things to Look for When Buying Umpire or Referee Shoes

28 Jan 2019

As the umpire or referee of the game, you’ve got a lot riding on you. The weight of that responsibility should be supported by the shoes you choose. At 3N2, we know that you’re as active as any player out there and having shoes designed specifically for the demands of officiating can make all the difference when you’re being relied on to make the right call game after game.

Umpire shoes are part of the uniform, but more than that, they are the first line of defense when it comes to taking a ball to the toe or getting hit by a runner. Having the right equipment for the job will help you stay on top of your game longer and with fewer injuries.

Yes, you can buy umpire shoes from big box stores or online generic distributors, but you won’t get the attention to detail and high quality that you will find with umpire shoes from 3N2. We’ve worked hard to ensure we have the very best selection for umpires and referees looking for the right shoe with the right fit at the right price.

According to the experts in our pro shop, here are the top 10 things to look for when buying umpire shoes:

  1. Support: You spend countless hours on your feet umpiring game after game, so it’s important to consider arch support and sole support.
  2. Comfort: Umpire shoes built like turf shoes offer support but often by sacrificing comfort. Plate and base shoes by 3N2 offer a winning blend of both comfort and protection. The trademark midsoles are designed to reduce knee and joint stress so you can stay on your toes and in the game all season long.
  3. Fit: The key to comfort is getting the right fit. We’ve heard what umpires have said about having trouble finding big shoes and we’ve answered with EE or extra wide shoes for the perfect fit. Plate shoes have a rigid sole, so the extra width is often a great choice for added comfort. If you are an in-between size, ordering up may be the right choice for a good fit. Keep in mind that plate shoes are made a little roomier because of the rigid sole, so you won’t need to upsize too much. When trying shoes on, you should try them at the end of the day when your feet are at their largest, which will help mimic conditions of standing in the game.
  4. Protection: You need shoes that will protect your toes from being hit by high speed balls as well as wayward bats and aggressive runners. Understanding this, plate shoes should feature both top protection and extra toe protection. 3N2 plate shoes have carbon fiber plates for impact resistance and rugged thermo-molded toes to save your feet from even the most unusual situations. Our shoes are feather-light but able to take a hit while providing you with agility and comfort.
  5. Traction: Our umpire plate and base shoes come with aggressive nubby soles that are perfect for grass or dirt and will give you extra traction in light rain. You’re sure to appreciate the traction when it comes to placing yourself in the right position for a call. Our referee shoes feature non-marking soles with a flat, sure grip. Whatever your field of play, you’ll be ready to move in 3N2 shoes.
  6. Cut: Just as with other athletic shoes, you can choose from low-cut or mid-cut. Mid-cut will give you extra ankle support like basketball shoes while low-cut will give you extra agility.
  7. Weight: Our feather-light shoes may be the lightest plated shoes in the game. Our Reaction Pro Plate Mid EE weighs in at a slight 18.7 ounces per shoe and our Reaction Pro Plate Lo tips the scales at a meager 15.7 ounces per shoe. With this much plated protection at this light of a weight, you’ll be able to move fast and free game after game.
  8. Heel Height: Since umpires have to bend a lot, plate shoes are designed with a higher heel to shift the weight, taking the pressure off the legs and ankles. Our plate shoes are designed with a build-up on the heel to help prevent fatigue.
  9. Toe Box: Our shoes have a roomier toe box than traditional athletic shoes. Since the soles are more rigid, a roomier toe box helps with comfort level. Test yours by standing on your tip toes. If your toes are touching, you might want to size up.
  10. Heel Seam: A virtually unnoticed aspect of shoes is the seam at the heel. A seemingly benign trait, some believe that the seam can cause problems with the Achilles tendon. At 3N2, we design our plate and base shoes without heel seams for your added comfort and protection.

3N2’s Stellar Line-up of Umpire and Referee Shoes

When it comes to offering you top-of-the-line umpire shoes or referee shoes, 3N2 has every base covered. We have the best shoes for indoor refs for sports like basketball and volleyball and we have the best plate or base shoes for umpires.

  • Reaction Lo: This referee shoe features a knobby tread for outdoor officiating that requires a nimble response. Made of 100% genuine leather, this comfortable shoe features an EVA midsole designed to reduce pressure from prolonged standing.
  • Reaction Pro Plate Mid: This comfortable plate shoe provides the protection of a rugged thermo-molded toe with a carbon plate, protecting you from direct hits and keeping you safe and in the game. Featuring 100% genuine leather, this black shoe shines up easily for a pro and polished look. Knobby treads provide extra grip for faster response time.
  • Reaction Referee Patent: Look great and feel great in these shiny indoor referee shoes. Easily polished to a top shine, this 100% patent leather shoe will keep you looking your best. With its lightweight construction and compression-molded EVA midsole, this shoe reduces stress on knees and joints and helps prevent fatigue. Flat bottomed, non-marking soles are designed specifically for indoor courts.
  • Reaction Pro Plate Mid EE: With all of the comfort of our legendary turf shoes but with the added protection of the impact-absorbing, rugged thermo-molded toe and carbon plate, this umpire shoe gives you everything you need to cover the plate. Knobby treads provide you with extra traction on the field. Made extra wide for comfort, this is the perfect shoe for game officials that need a larger fit.
  • Reaction Pro Plate Lo: A low-cut shoe, this comfortable plate shoe features 100% genuine leather for lasting wear and an impact-absorbing midsole to reduce knee and joint strain. With the thermo-molded toe and carbon plate, you’re protected from hits. A knobby sole gives you extra traction outside for quick movements.
  • Reaction Referee: These 100% genuine leather referee shoes are ready for the court with a feather-weight feel. Comfortable, compression-molded EVA midsoles reduce knee stress for back-to-back game endurance. Low-cut sides and non-marking, flat soles make this shoe the perfect choice for officiating basketball or volleyball games.

Keeping these 10 tips in mind, you’re sure to find the umpire shoe that offers you the perfect combination of comfort, protection and performance. Ready to start shopping? Take a look at 3N2’s range of plate and base umpire shoes today.