Chest Protectors are critically important pieces of gear for catchers working behind the plate.
We surveyed the market for Fastpitch Softball chest protectors and decided on the top four that deserve a close look, starting with Jen Schro The Very Best.
Keep reading to learn more...
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Best Fastpitch Softball Chest Protectors
Chest protectors are an essential piece of equipment for catchers at all levels, as they protect the shoulders, collarbone, sternum, ribs, and everything in between.
Due to its importance, you want to be sure that the chest protector you purchase is top notch and of high quality.
When searching for a new chest protector, it is essential that you first consider its protection related qualities, in addition to its comfort level, durability, fit, and any added features or technology.
These are some of the key parameters that we address in our reviews.
How to Find the Right Size
Regarding sizing, chest protectors are measured in inches. You can very easily self-measure or get a friend or family member to measure you, as discussed in this post.
Simply take a tape measure, stand up tall, then take a measurement from the bottom of your throat down to your naval. The result is the size of chest protector that you should shoot for. Easy!
Differences in Chest Protectors for Softball and Baseball
Many top brands have chest protectors designed for Fastpitch Softball catchers. These chest protectors have several differences from their Baseball specific counterparts.
One of the key differences is that Fastpitch Softball chest protectors have a break in the chest area to ensure a better fit for the female wearer.
Most also have more of a contoured design than Baseball chest protectors.
Lastly, Fastpitch Softball chest protectors do not have groin protectors like their Baseball counterparts do.
For these reasons, CatchersHome.com recommends Fastpitch Softball players (particularly those at intermediate and above sizes) to use chest protectors made specifically for Fastpitch Softball.
Now, on to our Reviews!
We believe the best Softball chest protectors on the market are:
- Jen Schro The Very Best
- Mizuno Samurai
- All-Star Vela
- Easton Prowess
Keep reading to learn why...
#1. Jen Schro The Very Best
Jen Schro's The Very Best tops out our list as the best overall chest protector for Fastpitch Softball catchers
Our top pick for the best Fastpitch Softball chest protector is Jen Schro The Very Best.
This is one of Easton’s newest models for Fastpitch Softball catcher’s gear. The chest protector is available in up to nine colors and in three different sizes.
The Very Best chest protector has two straps that connect at the front, allowing for a much easier and customized adjustment than many other chest protectors on the market. It’s a really cool and useful feature.
Another great – and different – feature of the chest protector is that it has motivational phrases from Jen Schro on its inside lining (see picture below). It’s unique and a nice touch.
Although it has thick (and high quality) padding throughout, it still feels pretty lightweight.
Manufactured by Easton, a leading manufacturer of equipment for Fastpitch players, it’s no wonder that Jen Schro’s The Very Best came out on top of our list.
Comes with two adjustable straps that connect in the front
Very adjustable to help you get a custom fit
Overall it's pretty lightweight
Has an improved neck/collarbone guard
Looks great and comes in multiple colors
Supply can be limited at certain retailers
Back Side of Jen Schro The Very Best Chest Protector
#2. Mizuno Samurai FP
Our pick for second place, the Samurai is a great option for catchers
Mizuno is a top brand in both Fastpitch Softball and Baseball, and their Samurai line of catchers gear is very popular.
The Samurai Fastpitch chest protector is both lightweight and breathable. The inner liner of the Samurai is made of a moisture wicking mesh fabric, to help keep you dry behind the plate.
It was designed for female catchers so it has a very good fit, and the shoulder straps are adjustable which helps provide more of a custom fit, based on your preference.
Lastly, Mizuno updated the design of this chest protector in 2019, as seen in these photos. We think it looks great!
Good fit - designed specifically for female catchers
Lightweight with good ventilation
Contains low rebound technology
Moisture wicking internal liner
Adjustable shoulder harness
Shoulder caps are built in and are not adjustable/removable
Back View of the Samurai Chest Protector
#3. All-Star Vela
Rounding out our top three is a great chest protector with a sleek design
Coming in as our third place choice, Vela is All-Star's primary chest protector for Fastpitch Softball catchers.
Designed specifically for Softball players, this chest protector is narrow in the shoulders and conforms to the body well.
It has built in PE (polyethylene) protective plates in potentially vulnerable areas like the sternum and collar bone.
The wedged abs allow for improved ball control when blocking over older versions with non-wedged abs. And overall it feels very lightweight and breathable.
Vela chest protectors can be washed in the washing machine, making it easy to keep them looking good. All in all, a solid pick!
Made by one of the top catcher's gear brands
Flexible and conforming
Reinforced PE protection in critical areas
Angled, wedged ab protection to help with ball control
A huge variety of colors are available
Does not come with shoulder caps
Picture of the Back of the Vela Chest Protector
Honorable Mention: Easton Prowess
The Prowess chest protector is pretty unique and interesting.
Something you might notice up front is the solid colored line about midway up the chest protector. What is this? It's the "dividing line" for what Easton calls its Torso Flex™ Two-Piece Torso Fit™ System.
That basically means there are separate upper and lower torso sections, a feature designed to support the catcher when blocking the ball.
The Prowess was built containing a four piece harness system that helps give the user a conforming, yet adjustable, fit (see picture below).
In addition, the Prowess comes with a special "Biodri™" liner to help the person wearing it to stay relatively cool and dry.
Lastly, we think it simply looks cool, especially with its two-tone, charcoal grayish accent. This chest protector is currently sold in two sizes: Adult (15.5 inches) and Intermediate (14 inches).
Unlike some other lines, Prowess is made specifically for female athletes
Made by one of the top brands in Softball/Baseball
Unique torso design to help with blocking
Adjustable harness system for custom fit and easy removal
Shoulder caps are adjustable/removable
Lots of padding for superior protection and to reduce ball rebound
It can be difficult to find new, as supply seems to be limited
Picture of the Rear of the Prowess
Thanks for Reading!
We hope this review was helpful to you. If you have any questions for us, don't hesitate to reach out by heading over to the Contact Us page.