Nike is one of the most recognized and highly sought after brands in all of sports. It comes as no surprise then that many Baseball and Fastpitch Softball catchers are interested in wearing Nike catchers gear behind the plate.
This post identifies all of the equipment that the company has developed for catchers in recent years, along with our commentary and perspective on Nike catchers gear.
Keep scrolling to learn more...
Please Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclaimer for more information.
Nike Catchers Gear: Details for Baseball Catchers
So, you’re interested in catcher's gear made by Nike?
I don't blame you. I've always loved the brand and wore Nike cleats and clothes throughout my entire baseball career.
A Brief Look at Nike's History
The Nike swoosh is probably the most recognizable brand logo in all of sports today. However, it wasn't always this way.
When Nike was first started as a company way back in 1964, they were known simply as "Blue Ribbon Sports".
Pretty vague and nondescript if you ask me!
In their early years, "Blue Ribbon Sports"(i.e., Nike) didn't even have an office and the founders and employees of the company would sell shoes out of the back of their cars. Yet they pressed on and continued to grow each year.
The company changed its name to Nike in 1971. (Interesting fact, Nike was named after the Greek goddess of victory.) That same year they also started using the famous swoosh logo.
By the early 1980s, Nike had grown to a point where they captured over half of the US market share for sports shoes.
As the company grew, they started to design and manufacture other types of apparel and sports equipment, keeping their sales on an upward trajectory year after year.
In 1988, Nike rolled out their "Just Do It" slogan for an ad campaign, which as I'm sure you know, remains popular even today.
Currently, Nike owns a number of incredibly popular brands, such as Jordan, Hurley, Converse, Umbro, and others. The company is now a publicly traded giant with revenues in excess of $51 billion dollars, as of the end of Nike's fiscal year in 2023.
Nike and Professional Ballplayers Today
It's really interesting to look back on Nike's history and it helps to explain why Nike cleats, under shirts, wristbands and other accessories are everywhere on MLB playing fields.
This type of gear is mass manufactured and is generally available to the public by shopping online or at various retailers.
In addition to the regular big leaguers, you are bound to find a number of Baseball superstars wearing Nike (or their Jordan brand) for at least one piece of clothing or equipment.
For example, current superstar for the Los Angeles Angels, Mike Trout.
It comes as no surprise then that many catchers are also interested in using gear made by Nike, complete with their trademark swoosh logo.
Since the 2018 MLB season, the use of Jordan branded Baseball gear is also getting popular. (As a reminder, Nike owns the Jordan brand).
For example, former St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina regularly wore Jordan catcher's gear behind the plate near the end of his playing career.
Current MLB Catchers That Wear Nike Gear
A number of starting catchers in the major leagues wear Nike for at least one piece of their catcher's gear. Those catchers are below.
Please note that this list is based on what the below list of pro's were wearing as of the beginning of the 2023 MLB season.
- Will Smith (Los Angeles Dodgers)
- Patrick Bailey (San Francisco Giants)
- Mike Zunino (Cleveland Guardians)
- J.T. Realmuto (Philadelphia Phillies)
- Adley Rutschman (Baltimore Orioles)
- Willson Contreras (St. Louis Cardinals)
- Tucker Barnhart (Chicago Cubs)
- Christian Vázquez (Minnesota Twins)
- Jacob Stallings (Miami Marlins)
- William Contreras (Milwaukee Brewers)
- Danny Jansen (Toronto Blue Jays)
- Gabriel Moreno (Houston Astros)
- Gary Sanchez (San Diego Padres)
Keep in mind that many of the catchers on this list wear brands other than Nike for different components of their gear. For example, Christian Vázquez traditionally wears a Rawlings catcher's mitt.
For more information, check out our detailed post highlighting the current catcher's gear brands being used by MLB catchers.
Still, it is pretty interesting when you consider that there are only 30 MLB teams and roughly two thirds of those teams have catchers that use some Nike catchers gear.
The Current State of Nike's Catchers Gear
Ok, we've now established that Nike is a popular and highly sought after brand. We also know that many catchers use their equipment in the big leagues.
So at this point in the post, we have to assume that you are still interested in using Nike's catchers gear.
Well... I have some good news and some bad news.
The good news first: Nike catcher's gear, of course, is real and does exist!
The bad news is that the company itself does not sell their gear on their own website, and we are all but certain that they no longer manufacture new catcher's gear for the general public at this point in time. (Note: We will update this post immediately if anything changes).
It's a very interesting thing. You will notice many professional catchers using Nike chest protectors, for example. Yet it can be very difficult to find a brand new Nike chest protector for sale online.
In fact, hardly any major sports equipment retailers sell catchers gear made by either Nike or Jordan as of the date of publication.
But not all hope is lost.
How Do I Get Nike Catcher's Gear?
If you're searching for Nike catchers gear, then you are probably looking for more information on where to find it so that you can buy it for yourself or for your kid.
After a good deal of research, we have discovered that eBay is actually one of the best online marketplaces out there to buy Nike catchers gear at this point in time.
They have a pretty decent range of new and used Nike gear for sale, and we strongly encourage those committed to using Nike catching gear to take a close look at eBay.
Click to Check Availability on eBay
The majority of the equipment on eBay can be bought using the "Buy It Now" price, so no bidding is required. Just add it to your cart and check out like any other site out there.
As of mid 2023, the majority of the Nike catchers equipment that eBay has for sale are Nike-branded chest protectors.
For non-professional catchers looking to wear Nike gear, chest protectors are often the way to go. Of all the components of catching gear, the Nike logo on the chest protector is most prominent.
You can pair a Nike chest protector with leg guards and a catcher's helmet or mask from another brand and still look great.
A Quick Side Note About Jordan Catcher's Gear
Through the 2023 MLB season, we have not observed any professional catchers (now that Yadier Molina has retired) using Jordan catcher's gear.
Additionally, we have not found any Jordan catcher's gear for sale online to the general public.
Which is a shame, because the Jordan gear looks sweet.
Complete List of Nike Catchers Gear
Over the last few years, Nike has developed a relatively small amount of catcher's gear available to the general public. All of this equipment is summarized in the following table:
|DE3539 Set||Catcher's Gear Set||Check Price|
|Youth Series||Catcher's Gear Set||Check Price|
|DE3539||Catcher's Helmet||Check Price|
|Pro Gold||Catcher's Helmet||Check Price|
|DE3539||Chest Protector||Check Price|
|Pro Gold||Chest Protector||Check Price|
|Vapor||Chest Protector||Check Price|
|DE3539||Leg Guards||Check Price|
|Pro Gold||Leg Guards||Check Price|
|Vapor||Leg Guards||Check Price|
|N1 Air||Catcher's Mitt||Check Price|
|SHA/DO BF1483||Catcher's Mitt||Check Price|
|Pro Gold Tradition||Catcher's Mitt||Check Price|
|Air Show Elite BF1250||Catcher's Mitt||Check Price|
|Diamond Elite Pro||Catcher's Mitt||Check Price|
|Keystone Diamond Ready||Catcher's Mitt (youth)||Check Price|
|Throat Guard||Throat Guard||Check Price|
Please note that we can't guarantee any of the gear listed in the above table is currently available for purchase in physical stores or online.
DE3539 vs. Pro Gold Lineup
Reading the above list, you may notice that the majority of the gear is divided by two lineups: the Pro Gold and the DE5359.
The Pro Gold set is much older than the DE5359 set. Earlier versions of the gear were pretty popular among big league catchers 10 (or more) years ago, with big name catchers at the time like Jorge Posada and Joe Mauer wearing it.
Since it is older and we believe that this line of gear has been discontinued, Pro Gold catcher's gear can be difficult to find online.
If you are really interested in this specific line of gear, then the best place to research Pro Gold gear for sale is on eBay, as we previously mentioned.
Nike DE3539 Catcher's Gear
The DE3539 collection, on the other hand, is newer than the Pro Gold. This lineup of gear closely resembles the Nike catcher's gear that multiple major leaguers currently use.
Check availability of DE3539 gear on eBay.
DE3539 Catcher's Helmet
This catcher's helmet is NOCSAE approved and features a prominent swoosh logo on the front and on the sides of the helmet. It provides good protection with a multi density foam type of padding inside the helmet.
The shell of the helmet is made of "acrylonitrile butadiene styrene", or ABS, which is an extremely hard plastic. This is a pretty standard component for many catcher's helmets in the market today.
There is moisture wicking fabric on the chin cup, keeping the wearer more comfortable (and dryer) when playing in hot weather.
Looking at the outside of the helmet, the brightly colored paint and nylon coated face guard bars makes for an attractive look.
DE3539 Chest Protector
The Nike DE3539 chest protector is constructed with four layers of dense but lightweight padding. The level of protection it provides is solid, and blocking shouldn't be a problem while wearing it.
The padding on the chest protector also has strategic vents to let air circulate and to help keep the wearer cooler than they would otherwise be. It also comes with a dual shoulder pad that can be removed or adjusted, as needed.
The harness on the back of the chest protector is durable but comfortable, so it shouldn't be an irritant during a game.
In terms of its external design, the chest protector has a solid color with a white outline and the Nike swoosh logo in the center.
DE3539 Leg Guards
The lightweight leg guards in the DE3539 line are specifically designed to mirror the detailed shape of each leg, so the fit is really good. Like the DE3539 chest protector, these leg guards have strategic vents which allows for good air flow between the different layers of material.
The knee caps are triple layered, meaning they have a lot of protective padding, giving you peace of mind when you need to hit the dirt quickly to block. They are also built with a conforming "knee sling" that, for the most part, seems to adhere well to the end of the wearer's tibia, providing a superior fit.
The hardened shell on these leg guards is made out of polyethylene, or PE for short. PE is an incredibly hard plastic that is even starting to be used for body armor, in place of traditional Kevlar.
That should tell you right there that these leg guards can take a beating without much of a problem.
DE3539 leg guards come in a solid color design, with the famous swoosh logo front and center on the knee caps.
Finding DE3539 Gear Online
Some sources we've found also state that this gear has now been "discontinued by the manufacturer", which is pretty disappointing.
Still, you may potentially find remaining inventory (as well as pretty decent used equipment) on some websites, including some new inventory from eBay. Don't be afraid to go with used gear, if it is in good shape.
Click the links below to see what DE3539 catchers gear can be found on Amazon and eBay. We would suggest that you closely check each retailer to determine who has the best current selection and price.
Nike Vapor Catcher's Gear
Another newer model of gear that Nike has produced in limited quantities is called the "Vapor" line of gear.
Nike Vapor catchers gear is super high-quality and fits comfortably. In many ways, it is similar to Nike's DE3539 gear.
Vapor leg guards typically measure 17 inches, have good venting and provide solid coverage over the side of the legs as well.
Nike Vapor chest protectors - many of which you can find on eBay - typically measure 18 inches. They have thick (but relatively soft) padding and come with removable shoulder caps.
As mentioned, check eBay if you want to buy Nike Vapor gear for catchers.
Interestingly, eBay typically also has a few listings of game-used and MLB authenticated Nike Vapor catcher's gear sets - many of which are lightly used.
Our Pick for Best Nike Catcher's Mitt
As detailed in the table above, Nike has released a handful of catcher's mitts in the past few years. Our favorite among them is the Diamond Elite Pro II (BF1624), which was released a few years ago.
The Diamond Elite Pro II is a 33.5 inch catcher's mitt made with high quality steerhide leather. It is pretty durable and can take a beating while still holding up well.
A smaller Nike swoosh is featured inside of a home plate on the outside of the mitt above the thumb, while a much larger swoosh logo and home plate can be found inside of the mitt in the pocket.
The Diamond Elite Pro II has multiple layers of foam padding inside, which gives good protection to the hand and helps to reduce sting. It also has what's called a "reverse welt" build in the finger stalls, making it pretty comfortable to wear.
This catcher's mitt has a conventional open back and a two piece closed web design. Break in time is relatively quick as well.
Also, etched in the leather is a pretty neat engraving of an image celebrating Baseball's past. Check out the picture below for a closer look.
Your best bet to purchase this mitt is going to be eBay.
Our Final Verdict
We understand that you probably really like Nike clothes and gear - we're right there with you. We love Nike too!
However, we're going to be straight up with you: you will be better off using a brand like All-Star, Rawlings, Mizuno or Easton for your catcher's gear (see our comprehensive review of All-Star catcher's gear HERE, and our review of Rawlings catcher's gear HERE!).
Because these brands continually invest in, improve upon, and actively manufacture innovative and well designed gear exclusively for everyday catchers.
Nike simply is not doing the same - they do not seem to be focusing on catchers in general or catcher's equipment specifically right now, at least for the general public.
Most if not all of their catching gear is customized for certain collegiate and professional catchers who have an endorsement deal with the company, either as an individual or as a team.
That explains why you will see Nike gear on MLB catchers and at the same time struggle to find any for sale to the public.
If Nike's approach changes, which we hope it does, then we will definitely update this post and let you know.
Thank you for reading!
We hope all of this information was helpful to you. If you have any questions for us, please 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.
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