Umpire Shoes

Written by Gregg Ruais
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Umpire shoes are just one of several pieces of safety equipment worn by the people who call balls and strikes during baseball games. Umpires must stand in one of the most dangerous places in all of sports. With every pitch, they are at risk to get beaned by a hardball traveling 90 miles per hour or faster.

Umpire Shoes and Safety Equipment

Many pitches have too much movement on them to predict where they will end up. The velocity of the ball leaves very little reaction time for umps to elude errand pitches. One of the most dangerous scenarios for an umpire is when the batter barely tips the ball. As close as umpires stand to the batter's box, they have no chance at all to react in time when foul tips come their way.

To prevent potentially severe, and, in some cases, fatal injuries, umps wear masks, chest protectors, shin guards, and umpire shoes. Wearing this equipment, they can still get hurt, but not nearly as badly. When the ball smacks an ump in the face mask, it feels more like an alarming wake-up call than anything serious. At worst, a really fast pitch can jam an umpire mask into the face and break his or her nose. Without facial protection, that same blow could cause death.

Umpire shoes are armored to prevent wild pitches and tipped balls from breaking bones in the ump's feet. Because umpires stand on their feet for the duration of an entire baseball game, their shoes are well padded for comfort. The right safety equipment makes umps feel secure, allowing them to concentrate on deciphering which pitches cross the strike zone.

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