If you need to replace your catcher’s helmet, choose a reliable product. When both a baseball and a bat are moving at incredible speeds in the general direction of your face, the last thing you want to think about is the quality of your helmet.
What is the All-Star System 7 Catcher’s Helmet and How Does it Work?
The All-Star System 7 catcher’s helmet is one of the primary items a youth league catcher needs to protect himself behind the plate.
The All-Star System 7 model, like most modern catcher’s helmets, is based upon the mask worn by ice hockey goalies.
It wasn’t that long ago when baseball catchers didn’t wear helmets. They turned their baseball caps around so that the cap’s bill was in the back and thus out of the way, and then they slide on a face mask.
The top, sides, and back of the head were left completely vulnerable. It’s a scary thought isn’t it?
When the catcher needed to make a play on a pop foul, he routinely whipped off the mask, tossed it aside, and then chased the ball.
Things improved when catchers began wearing hard-shell skullcaps that at least protected the top of the head.
Today, in most youth leagues, catchers are required to wearing headgear where the facemask is permanently attached to a sturdy helmet. Two-piece headgear is not allowed.
Modern coaches train their catchers to make as many plays as possible while wearing the complete one-piece helmet-facemask combination.
The shell of the All-Star System 7 helmet is molded impact-resistant ABS resin which is a lightweight thermoplastic known for its toughness. ABS is also chemically-resistant to inorganic acids, alkalis, and salts.
ABS products such as a catcher’s helmet are considered harmless consumer items. ABS doesn’t contain or produce any recognized carcinogens.
The All-Star System 7 helmet includes a trademarked UltraCool soft mesh liner, making the helmet more comfortable than similar headgear with a stiff lining. Your catcher will feel the difference immediately. He’ll appreciate somewhere around the seventh inning stretch.
That lining is conveniently machine-washable.
The helmet weighs in at 45.2 ounces or 2.83 pounds.
What Makes the All-Star System 7 Catcher’s Helmet Unique?
The All-Star System 7 catcher’s helmet copies the professional version with the use of I-Bar Vision. I-Bar Vision is today’s preferred face mask design.
It’s unique due to its use of lightweight flat steel beams. Traditional catcher face masks use round metal supports.
The flatness of the I-Bar Vision cage bars means less distraction to the catcher. The flat bars are 40% thinner than the round ones they replaced.
Also, the primary horizontal bar is lower on the face than the corresponding bar on old-style catcher’s helmet. Lowering the bar increased the catcher’s unobstructed field of view.
In other words, the I-Bar Vision design gives the catcher a better chance of snatching a glimpse of the third base coach while also noticing the suspicious body language of the runner off first.
If you look closely at the front of the All-Star System 7 helmet, you’ll notice that the top of the cage doesn’t make contact with the forehead area of the helmet. There’s a narrow but import gap. This is an improvement over earlier versions of the helmet.
That space is left there to reduce the impact of strong blows to the face mask. If the cage were directly connected to the forehead area of the helmet, any force felt by the mask would be conducted into the helmet and thus into the frontal lobe of the catcher.
With the gap, wild pitches to the mask are now only an annoyance rather than medical emergency.
The helmet’s shell is also ¾ inch longer than previously. That extra plastic translates to additional protection.
The helmet shell boasts 21 ventilation ports. They are not there just for looks but are in themselves safety features. They reduce the likelihood of an overworked catcher in a high-pitch count game from dangerously overheating.
The ports help a catcher keep his cool no matter how close the game is and no matter whether it’s taking place in the drenching humidity of South Florida or the soaring temperatures of Arizona.
Pricing of the All-Star System 7 Catcher’s Helmet
The All-Star System 7 catcher’s helmet varies in price on Amazon depending upon its size.
Expect to pay around $133.25 for a helmet sized 7 to 7 ½.
Public Perception of the All-Star System 7 Catcher’s Helmet
The All-Star System 7 catcher’s helmet is a favorite among Amazon purchasers.
One buyer appreciated that the helmet’s padding is easily removable for washing. He said that is son no longer has to worry about being stuck behind the mask of a helmet that smells like a locker room.
The helmet’s durability is singled out on Amazon as noteworthy. Buyers wrote that the helmets can survive quite a beating.
How the All-Star System 7 Catcher’s Helmet Compares to Other Helmets
The All-Star System 7 Catcher’s Helmet Versus the Mizuno G4 Youth Samurai Catcher’s Helmet
The Mizuno G4 Youth Samurai Catcher’s Helmet earns the Amazon Choice designation for youth catchers’ helmets.
Customers praise the fit and quality of construction.
Several parents noted how easily their kids were able to toss the helmet to make plays. They also remarked that the Mizuno G4 had no problem standing up to that sort of punishment.
Some purchasers are repeat customers which says a lot about their satisfaction with the product.
The Mizuno G4 offers adjustable soft jaw padding that gives added protection. It also ensures that your child’s helmet will fit nicely rather than wobble unnecessarily. Too much movement in a helmet can compromise its ability to protect.
The rest of the helmet features three layers of EVA foam padding.
The Mizuno G4 sells on Amazon for $76.32.
The helmet offers solid construction and comfort at a reasonable price.
However, the face guard is secured to the temple area of the shell. The All-Star System 7 helmet dropped this construction technique to prevent shocks to the mask from transferring to the catcher’s forehead.
The Mizuno G4 also doesn’t have the same unobstructed view of the playing field as the All-Star model.
The All-Star System 7 Catcher’s Helmet Versus the Easton M5 Qwik Fit Catcher’s Helmet
The highly affordable Easton M5 Qwik Fit helmet is listed at only $59.99 on Amazon.
The savings in price means a reduction in some features. For example, the Easton M5’s padding is dual density as opposed to the Mizuno G4’s triple layer protection. In addition, customer reviews on Amazon included an observation that the M5’s padding is rigid and uncomfortable.
Easton designed its Qwik Fit system of catcher’s gear to be easily handled by young players without adult supervision. Ideally, they’ll be able to put on the equipment, remove it, as well as adjust it.
It’s based on a simple means of attaching and detaching equipment. Easton’s helmet also bears that feature with a three-point strap system.
The Easton M5 can’t compete directly with the All-Star System 7 helmet. The M5 is suited for the youngest of leagues where neither the ball nor the ball will be traveling at high speeds.
The All-Star System 7 Catcher’s Helmet Versus the Easton M7 Catcher’s Helmet
The Easton M7 catcher’s helmet is good enough to be used at several levels of play.
The M7 has a narrower streamlined profile that some other helmets. It comes with Easton’s typical dual-density foam padding.
The helmet gets excellent reviews on Amazon where it sells for $79.99.
One parent was happy to report that her daughter says she doesn’t feel the impact when a ball strikes her helmet. The same person said the M7’s 18 ventilation openings keep her daughter cool in games where the temperature goes above 90 degrees.
One recurring complaint on Amazon was that the M7’s chin pad doesn’t remain attached.
Easton helmets have cages with closely aligned bars. That’s great for protection but bad for visibility.
The All-Star System 7 Catcher’s Helmet Versus the Easton Rival Catcher’s Helmet
Easton says that its Rival model affords excellent visibility. The reviews on Amazon seem to confirm that claim.
The Easton Rival is loaded with multi-layer padding that hasn’t gone unnoticed by buyers. Purchasers praise the durable padding that they also referred to as breathable. The word they often use to describe the Rival is “comfortable.”
The Easton Rival sells on Amazon for $74.99. The model generally receives positive reviews, though more than one reviewer advised checking the helmet’s screws on a regular basis.
All screws eventually loosen, but typically, the screws in a youth helmet can endure a massive number of practices and games before coming loose. One reviewer said that the screw in his daughter’s helmet became so loose that it fell out.
The All-Star System 7 Catcher’s Helmet Versus the Wilson Prestige Catcher’s Helmet
Wilson says its small/medium helmet fits sizes six and seven. The adult version or large/extra-large model is for sizes 7 to 7 5/8.
According to an Amazon purchaser, the adult model of the Wilson Prestige catcher’s helmet fits more snugly than its advertised size. The same may hold true for the youth model therefore, you may want to proceed with caution when ordering.
However, there are customers who say their fit was perfect. They say Wilson’s measurements are accurate.
Despite having a somewhat traditional viewing area, the Wilson Prestige did gain a few admirers for its cage design which the users say offered terrific views.
The All-Star System 7 Catcher’s Helmet Versus the Schutt Vented Catcher’s Helmet
It’s hard to beat the price at $43.99 on Amazon.
It garners solid reviews. Nevertheless, there are a few notable complaints.
One Amazon purchaser says the helmet’s padding holds heat, making the experience of catching on a hot summer day an unpleasant one.
Others report that the helmet is easy to put on and take off quickly. The ease of removing it has to do in part with the fact that it’s not the usual hockey-style helmet that you see today.
Some catchers prefer this old-school design over the hockey style. However, as one Amazon reviewer warned, verify that your kid’s league doesn’t have a rule specifying that the catcher’s helmet be the hockey style.
The All-Star System 7 Catcher’s Helmet Versus the Under Armour UA PTH Victory Catcher’s Helmet
The Under Armour UA PTH Victory catcher’s helmet features I-Bar Vision as does the All-Star System 7 helmet.
The Victory also comes with the trademarked Aegis Microbe Shield. This chemical coating on the inside padding retards the growth of bacteria. The less bacteria the equipment has the fewer bad odors it will have.
A hot sweaty catcher’s helmet is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria so the Aegis Microbe Shield should be a welcomed feature for the catcher as well as anyone likely to come within smelling range of his helmet.
The helmet includes a soft removable chin pad for extra comfort and protection.
There were only a couple of reviews on Amazon where the model sells for $89.99 but they both praised the helmet’s fit and comfort.
What We Think of the All-Star System 7 Catcher’s Helmet
Of course, your catcher will have to have the final say regarding his equipment. Only he knows how it feels and moves on his body.
However, we do recommend that you begin your search for the right catcher’s helmet by looking at the All-Star System 7 helmet.
We love the I-Bar Vision design. It’s extremely frustrating for a catcher to have to constantly move his head to get a clear view of something. One small twitch from the catcher can alert a potential base stealer to want the defense has planned for him.
The more clearly a catcher can see the more effective he can be. But also, greater vision helps keep the catcher safe. His situational awareness is better. He stands a better chance of successfully tracking a pop foul or finding an errant pitch in the dirt.
We also liked the redesign of the All-Star System 7 helmet that keeps the top of the cage out of contact with the temple area of the helmet’s shell. It’s a seemingly minor change until you consider the implications.
By having a buffer zone of empty space between the cage and the forehead region of the shell, the helmet is protecting your child from absorbing the full impact of a wild pitch or loose bat.
Think about how many times over the course of one season your kid’s facemask is hit. It adds up. The lasting effect of blows to the head also adds up. Doesn’t it make sense to reduce the impact of those blows as much as possible?
If the All-Star System 7 didn’t have that redesign feature, it would be difficult to choose a favorite, but that structural change makes choosing easy.
Our second favorite is the Under Armour UA PTH Victory catcher’s helmet because it closely mimics the designs we like in the All-Star System 7.