Best Youth Catchers Gear for Baseball and Softball: Our Top Picks

This post is a detailed compilation of all of our top picks for the best youth catchers gear currently available. This represents many, many hours of research and writing on catcher's gear.

These particular picks are geared towards youth Baseball and Fastpitch Softball catchers, generally ages 12 and younger. 

If you're looking to quickly and easily find all of the top-rated catcher's gear out there for younger catchers, then look no further. This is it.

best youth catchers gear, top picks for youth catchers

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Best Youth Catchers Gear for Baseball and Fastpitch Softball

Components of Catcher's Gear

Catchers have a number of key pieces of gear to wear behind the plate. We discuss this, and many of the accessories that catchers use, in our overview post called Catcher's Gear 101.

At Catchers Home, we tend to think about the equipment catchers wear as being divided between two categories: required and optional gear.

There are four primary pieces of required gear. They are:

  • Catcher's Helmet (or Mask with Skull Cap)
  • Catcher's Mitt
  • Chest Protector
  • Leg Guards

Please note that this list does not, of course, list cups as a required piece of gear. However, we recommend all male catchers to wear one, regardless of age. See our post for more information on this.

Can I Buy Catcher's Gear Online?

Of course!

Many online retailers sell gear from an huge variety of brands, with variations of sizes and colors to choose from.

Generally speaking, you won't even come close to finding the same variety of gear in a physical store that you'll be able to find online. 

So it's pretty clear to us that buying online is the way to go.

But what if you're worried about the ability to get the right size without trying the gear on first?

If this concerns you, it shouldn't. This is for two simple reasons. First, it's incredibly easy to measure your child for gear.

Second, the majority of online retailers today (especially one of our favorite retailers) have simple return policies in the unlikely event that gear you pre-measured your child for doesn't fit.

How to Size Your Child for Catchers Gear

It is very easy to measure your son or daughter to wear catchers equipment for youth athletes.

We provide instructions on how to do this in our individual posts published on this site. For example, you can find out how to measure for leg guards if you read our post on the best youth leg guards.

For ease of use we've included an illustration below showing how to measure for key components of gear. Take a look, and be sure to review our other posts for additional information.

(Note: The instructions in the picture below really applies to gear for all youth aged catchers.)

Overview of our Methodology and Picks

We have reviewed a substantial number of products sold by every type of brand that manufactures catcher's equipment.

Our reviews were based primarily on our evaluation of the protective qualities of the equipment, on its durability and cost, and to a lesser extent, on its design and available color options.  

These evaluations and reviews led to the below list of top picks for youth Baseball and Fastpitch Softball catchers.

(Please note that we also have a separate post looking at the best gear for "adult" catchers, or those 13 and older. Click here to review that post.)   

Without further delay, let's take a look at our top picks by category!

Best Youth Catcher's Gear Set (Softball):  Jen Schro The Very Best, by Easton

Our choice as the best overall catcher's set for youth Softball catchers

(*You can also check out our full-length post reviewing all of our youth catcher's gear set picks!)

Jen Schro’s The Very Best is Easton's newest line of Fastpitch Softball catcher's gear, and it is impressive due to its quality and distinctive features.

The Very Best set was designed specifically for female catchers and includes a catcher's helmet, chest protector, and leg guards.

The set is available in three sizes: small, medium or large. Small is intended for girls aged 9 – 12, medium for ages 12 – 15, and large for ages 15 and older.

Please note: These are general size ranges, so we encourage you to measure your athlete prior to purchasing a set.

This very unique and very high quality gear stands out for a number of reasons.

First, is the chest protector. It has two straps that connect at the front, allowing for much easier and custom adjustment than other chest protectors on the market. It’s a really cool and useful feature.

The chest protector also features motivational phrases from Jen Schro on its inside lining. It’s unique and a nice touch.

The second area that stands out is the leg guards. They were design in such a way as to wrap around a large portion of the legs.

Additionally, the leg guards include more knee padding than any other Softball leg guards we’ve seen, which helps the wearer do a better job at blocking and throwing from the knees.

Lastly, the catcher’s helmet stands out for its solid ABS shell, its steel cage, and its moisture wicking and anti-microbial lining. All of the gear in this set meets NOCSAE standards.

This catcher’s gear set lives up to its name – you simply will not find a better set for Fastpitch Softball players on the market.

Pros

Easton is a top brand, especially among Fastpitch Softball catchers

This set is packed with unique, high-quality features

The chest protector comes with two adjustable straps connecting in the front

Additional padding in the leg guard is strategically placed over the knee

The catcher's helmet has anti-sweat and anti-microbial lining

Cons

As a premium set, it is on the expensive side

 

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Brief Video Overview of Jen Schro The Very Best Set

 

Best Youth Catcher's Gear Set (Baseball):  All-Star System 7 Axis

All Star Axis catchers gear set

Our Pick for the Best Youth Catcher's Gear Set for Baseball Catchers

(*You can also check out our full-length post reviewing all of our youth catcher's gear set picks!)

All-Star’s System 7 (S7) Axis lineup is among the most technology-laden, premium level, highest quality catcher’s gear currently on the market.

This set comes with the S7 (MVP2510) catcher's helmet, the Axis chest protector, (CP912S7X), and Axis leg guards (LG912S7X).

You can purchase this particular set in one of two sizes: 1 set for 12 - 16 year olds; and 1 set for 9 - 12 year olds. The gear in each set is the same, other than size differences. Sizes of each piece of gear will be posted on the webpage of the retailer. 

The catcher's helmet is made of a resin shell, which does a good job of protecting the wearer. It also has an I-Bar Vision™ frame which is a unique design that strengthens the cage and increases the range of view beyond your typical catcher's helmet.

The Axis chest protector comes with added protective plates (made of a strong material called polyethylene) in the sternum and collarbone area, as well as a proprietary harness system called DeltaFlex™ which helps get the chest protector adjusted for a near-perfect fit. 

Lastly, the Axis Leg Guards are breathable, strong yet lightweight, and they don't shift around like a lot of other leg guards do. You can tell they are very high-quality right out of the box. 

As an added bonus, this set comes in a many different color combinations for you to choose from, including one with an American flag/red, white and blue color theme.  

Pros

Made by an elite and well-respected brand

Axis is All-Star's premium and most technology-packed gear

The helmet, chest protector and leg guards provide excellent protection, yet are lightweight

Gear is designed not to shift around as abruptly as others

Available in multiple colors

Cons

It is All-Star's premium catcher's set, so the cost is higher than others. You are really paying for quality.

 

Video Overview of the Axis Leg Guards

 

Best Youth Catcher's Helmet:  Mizuno G4 Youth Samurai

It was a tough call, but the G4 Samurai comes out on top as our #1 pick for best youth Catchers Helmet

(*You can also check out our full-length post reviewing all of our youth catcher's helmet picks!)

This is an excellent helmet for the beginner and intermediate youth Catcher.

It not only protects the user well, but it is a comfortable helmet and provides excellent ventilation using Mizuno's strategic ventilation system.

It is easy to fling off for foul balls and plays at the plate, yet durable enough to take a beating game after game.

This helmet looks great and comes in a variety of different colors. It's not perfect, but it's fairly close for a youth Catchers Helmet.

Pros

Very good quality and durability

Lightweight and snug fitting

Easy to clean

Excellent ventilation

Adjustable jaw pad

Multiple color options

Cons

Internal foam padding has come loose after heavy use in a few cases (in that event, a simple re-glue should do the trick)

 

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View Catcher's Box Set

 

Best Youth Chest Protector:  All Star System 7 Axis

all star system 7 axis chest protector front view in gray

The Axis comes out on top as our top pick for youth chest protectors

(*You can also check out our full-length post reviewing all of our youth chest protector picks!)

Our #1 choice for the best youth chest protector available today is the All Star System 7 Axis. This is a super high quality product developed by one of the leading catcher's gear brands out there.

The Axis emerges above the crowd for not only looking great, but for having moldable polyethylene (PE) protective plates in the throat, collarbone and sternum. Critical areas needing protection.

It was also recently redesigned to have a more protected center chest panel to help prevent the rare but serious condition called commotio cordis. You can see this in the pictures on this post – it is the broad, padded area in the center with the All Star logo over it.

The Axis is noticeably thin and lightweight, comes with wedged abs for improved blocking, and it conforms well to the body.

In short, it is an excellent chest protector that should last you through many seasons of use.

Please Note: youth size is generally for ages 9 - 12, and is 14.5 inches. The intermediate size is generally for ages 12 - 16, and is 15.5 ages. 

Pros

Improved chest coverage to help protect against commotio cordis

Internal protective plates mold to the body well

Wedged ab design is flatter for improved blocking

Adjustable harness allows for good custom fit

"Diamond vents" help encourage more air flow

Machine washable

Available in multiple colors

Cons

None that we have seen!

 

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View Catcher's Box Set

Back of the Axis Youth Chest Protector

back of all star system 7 axis youth chest protector

 

Best Youth Softball Catcher's Mitt:  Wilson A1000

An excellent catcher's mitt for young Fastpitch Softball catchers

(*You can also check out our full-length post reviewing all of our youth catcher's mitt picks!)

Our choice for the best youth catcher's mitt for Fastpitch Softball is the Wilson A1000 (33 inches).

Wilson is a leading manufacturer of Baseball and Fastpitch Softball equipment. They are known in part for making some of the highest quality gloves and catcher's mitts out there.

The Wilson A1000 is constructed with "Pro Stock" steerhide leather, containing a black and dark grey design. The Pro Stock leather that Wilson uses is known for being sturdy yet soft - perfect for any glove or catcher's mitt.  

It is a dual post web mitt measuring 33 inches, and is recommended for use by youth catchers up to 14U. Note: For those wanting a slightly larger mitt, we'd strongly suggest looking at the 34 inch Wilson A2000.

Two characteristics of the A1000 catcher's mitt that stand out are its light weight and its high degree of durability (meaning, it can take a lot of punishment while still keeping its good quality).

In short, the Wilson A1000 is a perfect catcher's mitt for youth Softball catchers.

Pros

Made with high quality leather

It is very affordable considering it's excellent quality

Limited break in time required

Very lightweight

The Wilson brand is well respected

Cons

It is only made for right hand throwers

 

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Close-up Image of the Wilson A1000

 

Best Youth Baseball Catcher's Mitt:  Rawlings R9

best youth baseball catchers mitt

A solid pick for youth Baseball catchers

(*You can also check out our full-length post reviewing all of our youth catcher's mitt picks!)

Our choice for the best youth catcher's mitt for Baseball is the Rawlings R9 "Pro Taper" catcher's mitt (R9YPTCM32B-3/0, 32 inches).  

Rawlings is a popular glove manufacturer known for building high quality gloves and catcher's mitts used by many pro and amateur ballplayers.

R9 mitts are built with a soft leather shell and a 1 piece solid web. Its black leather looks really good with the Rawlings logo stitched in red.

These mitts are designed for smaller hands so they fit youth players well. Yet R9 mitts still have the same shape and materials as Rawlings' higher level, professional catcher's mitts.

It comes with extra padding around the palm to reduce the potential for stinging.

Additionally, the R9 also has a player break in level of 20, meaning that it should not take too long to get the mitt sufficiently broken in.

Note: R9 catcher's mitts are currently only available for right hand throwers.

Pros

Soft leather shell and liner

Competitively priced

Extra padding around palm 

Looks and feels like Rawlings' big league mitts

Already 80% broken in at the factory

Cons

Costs a bit higher than the average youth mitt

 

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Close-up Images of the Rawlings R9

 

Best Youth Leg Guards:  All-Star System 7 Axis Youth Series

all star axis best youth leg guards for young kid catchers

Premium Leg Guards for serious young catchers

(*You can also check out our full-length post reviewing all of our youth catcher's mitt picks!)

After many hours of research, our conclusion is that All Star makes some of the best Leg Guards on the market right now. This generally rings true not only for adult Baseball and Fastpitch Softball but at the youth level as well. 

The System 7 model is arguably the best known line of catchers gear in the All Star collection, the Axis version being the newest addition to the System 7 family.

These Leg Guards have a lot of great features built in, such as the gel enclosed "Patella Plus" knee pad technology, which gives excellent protection and comfort to the knee. 

Speaking of the knee, the Axis version has a smoother and wider knee area than its predecessor, increasing the mobility of the catcher using it.

The DeltaFlex™ harness system does a great job of keeping the Leg Guards firmly in place throughout the game.  The padding and exterior plastic are vented which allows air to circulate, helping keep Catchers cool behind the plate. 

In short, System 7 Axis Leg Guards were designed to take a beating while keeping the wearer safe and comfortable. In our view, it is the top choice for young catchers.

Pros

Made with proprietary hinge system, preventing excess shifting

Superior ventilation via perforated padding and shell

Triple knee protection and knee pads with D30®

Moldable plastic, which allows the Leg Guards to conform to your legs with use

Cons

Premium product, so cost is higher than average

 

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Rear of the Leg Guard

rear of all star axis leg guard youth series

 

Best Catcher's Bag: Bownet Commander

bownet bag commander bag for catchers

Our Top Overall Pick for Best Catchers Bag

(*You can also check out our full-length post reviewing all of our catchers bag picks!)

Bownet is a US based company that makes a variety of sports equipment like training nets, backstops, pitching machines, and Baseball and Softball bags. Their Commander catcher's bag is the largest and highest quality bag that Bownet manufactures.

You can immediately tell that this bag was well thought out when it was designed. It is huge and can hold all of the equipment that a catcher would have, and then some.

There are 14 distinct compartments in this bag. Two of the larger compartments are on the sides of the bag, one of which holds your leg guards and the other which holds up to three full size bats.

Another thing to highlight is that the Commander is a catchers bag with big wheels. Seriously. It comes with large "Big Trax" rubber wheels that make it easy to drag the bag over a variety of surfaces such as pavement, gravel and dirt.

Many catchers bags have small plastic type wheels, so the Commander's larger wheels make it unique among other bags in the market. As an added note, if wheel size or wheel durability is the most important factor for you, then this is your bag.

The Commander also has a removable personalization panel, allowing you to add something like your name or number on it.

The back side is made of a hard, rigid plastic and can take a beating without a problem. Also on the back are two feet for the bag to rest in an elevated manner off the ground.

Other things that stand out about the bag is its weather resistant fabric, its telescopic pull handle, its added hooks to hold your hat or glove and its adjustable shelves in the main center compartment. Lastly, the bottom front of the bag contains a semi-hard case made to store and protect a helmet or cleats.

In short, the Bownet Commander is definitely a big, high quality catcher's bag with some really cool features. It's for all of these reasons that it earned our #1 pick.

Note: The dimensions of the bag are 38" L 17" W x 12" H.

Pros

It’s a very big bag! You should have no problem storing your gear in it.

Contains 14 different departments in the bag

The all-terrain wheels are excellent and work well on many surfaces

Holds up to three large bats in the separate bat compartment

Can hang on a dugout fence

Has a personalization panel for name, number or team name

Sturdy, durable construction

Available in many different colors

Cons

Some users have had issues with the zippers catching

Stitching on the side compartment does not seem as strong as the main compartment

 

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The Bownet Commander Bag with Catchers Gear Inside, and a View of the Back of a Used Bag

inside view of the bownet commander catchers bag

bottom of the bownet commander bag

Brief Video Overview of the Bownet Commander Catcher's Bag

 

That Wraps it up!

Thanks for reading. We hope that this post and our reviews were helpful to you.

If you have any questions for us - whether you want to learn more about some of the best catchers gear, or you have questions about catching in general - then don't hesitate to reach out by heading over to the Contact Us page or by sending an email to scott [at] catchershome [dot] com.