Easton Turns Focus to Catching, Batting Protective Gear
From the head to the chest, Easton has revamped the way it puts a premium on protection. Easton has recalibrated its line of catcher’s gear with its ProX lineup and has also showed off a new ProX batter’s helmet with an extended jaw guard that fits across a wide line of Easton helmets.
For the catcher’s gear, Trevor Anderson, Easton’s director of product development, says they simply started over. After signing the San Diego Padres’ Austin Hedges, Easton unveiled new product built from the ground up, meeting all the certifications and standards in the industry and with some added performance attributes.
The chest protector, for example, includes a silicone grip print along the front designed to reduce the spin of the ball when hit. “When you block the ball and it hits the print, it keeps it that much closer to you so you can make a play,” Anderson says.
The double-layer construction of the chest protector includes a breathable bottom layer to wrap the body and a second layer with deadening memory foam. “They work in conjunction with each other,” Anderson says. “The outer layer will float off the inner layer so when the ball hits it, it will help deaden the ball on impact and keep it closer.”
For the legs, the redesigned knee and shin protection contours to the shape of the body and added shock-absorbing foam in new places. “We looked at how catchers block and where they are on their knees,” Anderson says. That changed the way Easton approached foam placement and inner liners. At the same time, they added a breathable vented layer for more air flow.
In the catcher’s helmet, a new flat metal bar — as opposed to a rounded bar — adds strength and reduces height. “It is minimal, but it is significant to allow for a greater area of vision,” Anderson says. The change also improved comfort, he says, while shock-absorbing foam on the upper crown increases protection with an ergonomic fit. The chin cup comes as a molded piece instead of foam. All the pads inside the helmet come removable and washable.
The new ProX batter’s helmet offers an extended jaw guard that also fits Easton’s Z5 helmet. “This is available on all of our helmets, not just one,” Anderson says. “This is a nice add for us this year.”
Easton has placed the holes for its jaw guard in the same place on differing helmets to allow for a quick change and eliminate the need to drill your own holes, which compromises the integrity of the helmet. This also allows people to buy a jaw guard if they already own an Easton helmet.
Anderson says Easton has taken the perspective of not just creating protection, but also a higher-level of performance.
Tim Newcomb covers gear and business for Baseball America. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.