The Easton Junior Z5 Batter’s Helmet with SB Mask can be purchased for under 40 dollars on Amazon and comes with a 5.5-star rating by 51 customers. The helmet comes in two different sizes, and the shell is made of tough, durable ABS plastic, while the mask consists of a durable lightweight metal that had been redesigned for a better sight line.
Plus, the helmet is packed with “Dual-Density Foam” (a high density and low-density foam laminated together), and the addition of wrapped ears ensures the helmet will sit firmly on the batter head and not come off accidentally during active play. While the high-density side of the foam disperses energy, the soft side absorbs the remaining impact.
The helmet meets NOCSAE standards, and the foam comes with a BioDri Liner that absorbs moisture and pulls it away from the player’s head. And, at around 1.5 pounds, there is comfort in knowing that a fair amount of material was used during its construction.
Easton Sports, Arrow-maker to the Stars
The Manufacturer of the Junior Z5 Batter’s Helmet actually started out as an arrow maker. Prompted to make arrows after suffering a gun accident while hunting, James Easton started his Easton Arrow Shop in Watsonville, CA in 1922.
Easton even picked up his first celebrity sports endorsement from local archery phenom, Larry Hughes, who used the experimental arrows and “really liked them. Hughes went on to win the 1941 National Archery Championship with Easton’s aluminum product. Then, when World War II exploded onto the scene and gobbled up all of the aluminum, Easton had to table his newly invented technology.
However, after joining forces with his son, James Jr., the two went from making arrows and arrow tips to also inventing the first aluminum ski pole shaft in 1964. The team’s work with this new, strong lightweight aluminum metal did not go unnoticed by the non-sports world, and, in 1967, they were called upon to help produce parts for the Apollo moon landing.
Two years later, Easton decided to test the waters of aluminum bats, and, soon, tent tubing, tennis rackets, and hockey equipment followed. In 1983, Jas. D. Easton Archery as the company was renamed to, bought Hoyt Archery Company, and, in 1985, finally, incorporated as Easton Sports, Inc.
Turning their high-grade aluminum knowledge toward hockey in the late 80’s they invented the all-aluminum hockey stick, which was endorsed by hockey-great, Wayne Gretzky in 1990. In 2000, the company continued to expand and even broke into the aftermarket bicycle parts industry.
In 2001, Easton Sports introduced the “Z-Air Skate,” a light-weight hockey skate that molded to the player’s foot and promoted breathable, moisture-wicking properties.
With over 500 hundred employees in the 2000’s, the company was worth an estimated 177 million dollars in 2003. Now, Easton Sports is a privately-owned company that operates in Van Nuys, California, where its factory designs and manufactures aluminum and wooden baseball bats, cycling parts, hockey equipment, golf shafts, archery gear, and items for motocross.
Easton Sports Speak to Youth Baseball
Although Easton Sports seems to have its hands in almost everything, the company may be the most recognized name in youth baseball today. That is all thanks to its long-standing relationships with the Little League World Series, pro sports teams, and the NCAA. In fact, Easton Sport is the official supplier for the Little League World Series and all controls about 90 percent of the college bat market.
Of course, their innovative products speak for themselves (maybe too much so, as in the Titanium softball bat line that was so effective a tool that it was eventually banned in the sport altogether), but it is also worth noting that Easton recently went The Good’s Conversion Growth Program™ sometime after 2010.
The idea was that Easton Sports wanted to appeal to a younger baseball crowd and youth leagues, so the campaign identified sales weaknesses for that demographic: no mobile online store, meager customer feedback avenues, and little to no social marketing presence.
When the dust settled, after years of diligent work, the results were staggering, showing a blistering 659% spike in mobile sales over the previous year and an unthinkable 9:1 conversion rate. With their fancy new mobile-friendly website and built-in “bat finder” technology, they were able to offer a much quicker path-to-purchase than ever before.
Also, Easton sports rolled out various demonstration videos explaining and demonstrating their products on YouTube and Facebook, and one video, Ultimate Batting Practice , even went viral, now with over 5 million views.
Supporting Junior Baseball and Youth Organizations
Moreover, Easton is not all smoke and mirror when it comes to actually getting their hands dirty at youth levels, and, in 2014, the company donated some 1,400 brand-new BBCOR baseball bats to Good Sports, a national non-profit organization that provides sports equipment to disadvantaged youth.
The gift was reportedly worth over $425,000 and will be used to support youth baseball programs across the country. And, in a similar donation two years prior, Easton gifted 1000 baseball and softball bats, 110 gloves, 500 batting Helmets, and 100 catcher’s bags to Good Sports for a total estimated valued at $142,000!
Easton Sports Builds a Better Helmet: Junior Z5 Batter’s Helmet
Modern sports is in a period of advanced concussion management, and new technologies make the helmet more protective and safer. Companies are now offering advanced foams and added protection elements around the head and years. Faceguards, too, (like the Eason SB Facemask) are a relatively new safety addition.
So, buying any batter’s helmet requires the utmost attention in any sports league, but youth leagues and intramural play brings the concern to a point. Moreover, there should never be a compromise between cost and the protection of a player. So, with this in mind, the Easton Junior Z5 Batter’s Helmet keeps its cost under $40, which strikes a sweet spot for many youth leagues.
After all, in baseball, a batter is called upon to stand at the plate pretty much unprotected, except for a helmet around his head and a bat in his hands. He places himself (almost solely upon faith and the cheering the coach and audience) between a pitcher, who is going to hurl a hard object 40 to 80-mph at him, and a catcher, who is, presumably, going to catch that hard, speeding object.
The batter must, as baseball rules dictate, quell the overwhelming urge to bail out of a chalk-drawn box with imaginary walls, trusting the object won’t strike him and will be thrown accurately enough so that he will have a chance to whack it with his bat.
So, naturally, when it comes to buying a helmet, you, or at least the batter, demands the most protection he can get. Oh, and he also need to be able to see the ball. Otherwise, 1) he is going to remove the helmet at inappropriate times or, 2) he (or she) is going to remain silent and possibly wear the helmet incorrectly, not enjoying the game and, worse, leading to potential injury.
Choosing the Right Batters Helmet: The Easton Junior Z5
Needless to say, comfort and protection are big deals when choosing the right batter’s helmet. But just because a helmet claims to use a hard plastic construction and a foam protection layer does not mean it will necessarily protect the player. That is why the NOCSAE has endorsed a set of safety guidelines for all baseball equipment.
The National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment (NOCSAE) is a national commission that “researches aspects of sports medicine and science in order to establish standards for athletic equipment, where feasible.” Any protective helmet you purchase, ought to, then, carry this rating, and foam, in particular, should exist in double or triple-layers for protection.
However, not all forms of foams are equal, and it is not a bad idea to have at least a partial understanding of them when purchasing the right batter’s helmet. EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) foam is, for instance, an “elasticized closed-cell form with dense rubber-like flexible qualities.
EVA is commonly used in gym mats, athletic shoes, boxing gear, and, more recently, baseball helmets and kitchen knives. Known for its shock absorbing qualities, this closed cell-foam is dense and durable but not always comfortable, and not breathable.
Polyurethane foam, however, is extremely good at absorbing energy, due to its open-cell construction. Due to this ability to absorb and broadly distribute shock, it is widely used in flooring and sports equipment. Plus, it is extremely soft and comfortable, with has well-known breathable qualities.
Easton Junior Z5 Batter’s Helmet Spec Recap
The Easton Junior Z5 Batter’s Helmet provides many innovations for safety and protection, and the rubberized matte finish and strong ABS shell help to extend the life of the helmet (not to mention that it looks really cool in a stormtrooper kind of way).
The inner foam offers both protection and breathability, and so do the twin helmet vents, which appear at the top of the helmet, which is available in multiple sizes and comes with wrapped ear pads to help hold the helmet in place on the batter’s head. Moreover, the SB mask is made of ultra tough, lightweight steel and is redesigned for improved vision. But don’t take our word for it. Here are the official specs:
- Rubberized wear-resistant matte finish
- Urethane “Comfort Foam”
- “Bio-Dri” moisture-wicking Antimicrobial Fabric Liner
- Comes in multiple sizes
- ABS shell is shock resistant and engineered for maximum protection
- Meets NOCSAE standard for all levels of play
- Wrapped ear pads provide durability and comfort and help stabilize the head
- Enhanced ventilation system provides breathability without compromising the structure.
- SB mask is redesigned for better vision
With all these innovations, one might imagine even the best-adorned stormtrooper would be jealous.
Junior Z5 Batter’s Helmet Wrap-Up
But it wasn’t all roses for James Easton and dream to make the best aluminum sporting equipment. During WWII, the business almost disappeared thank to a wartime effort that ate up nearly all of the nation’s metal production. In the late 80’s, the company’s campaign in the bicycle manufacturing market was a bonafide bust, as producing an all-aluminum bike frame proved to be too expensive, and the Titanium softball bat went belly-up in the 90’s when league banner it for being too effective an offensive weapon.
But, like so many great American innovators, Eston Sport jumped back in the game with its first ever Scandium and two-piece bats in 1997. Even early on the prospects of the first aluminum bat were that is was too heavy and oddly balance to ever become effective enough to smack the ball like their wooden counterparts.
And, when Easton’ bat manufacturer refused to put the Easton name on bats, Easton took over manufacturing. So, there are a lot of reasons to like Easton sports, as you can see. Their story and their struggles, in many ways, stand as a metaphor for every innovator and entrepreneur, and their commitment to baseball and youth play is widely unmatched.
Plus, their products, like the Easton Junior Z5 Batter’s Helmet with SB Mask, are manufactured right at home in America with safe, proven, protective materials and innovative technologies. Easton founder, James Easton, died in 1972, but the Easton name lives on. And what started as a hunting accident led to a personal journey, and, ultimately, a company that helps protect youth baseball players every single day. And that is what legacies are made of.