Friday, June 5, 2009

Reebok Field Magistrate Plate Shoes

Today I have the opportunity to review the Reebok Field Magistrate plate shoes. The Field Magistrate is brand new for the 2009 season, is endorsed by Major League Baseball, and has been spotted at Major League Baseball games (below are umpires Al Porter and Bob Davidson).

Right out of the box you notice the picture of Shamu the Whale painted on the side - I mean the Reebok logo. Traditionalists will state plainly that umpire shoes should be black, and some umpire associations insist on it. Therefore many umpires (myself included) will black out a manufacturer’s logo with a sharpie and shoe polish. The problem with the Field Magistrate is that the logo takes up half of the shoe!

Additionally distracting is the MLB logo stamped on the top of the toe. Why??? These endorsements remind me of a NASCAR jersey. Maybe I’ll start renting out the back of my umpire shirt. . . “After the game head to Hooters!” or “Try the new BK minis!” I suppose that as consumers we have grown accustomed to large print logos on our athletic shoes. However, many umpires would appreciate the option of a subdued, blacked-out logo in these shoes. Reebok are you listening?

The toe of the Field Magistrate seems awkwardly shaped to me and seems to balloon out from my pant leg. In measuring the toe it is no wider than the New Balance MU450.

I told Reebok that I wear a 10.5 D athletic shoe and they sent me size 11. The fit is fantastic, so keep that in mind when ordering. The standard D width fit fine, even though I sometimes require a wider shoe.

The shoe supported my ankles comfortably and my shin guards fit over the substantial tongue. That was an annoyance when I first dressed, but the fit actually proved to be more comfortable.

These shoes are more comfortable than the New Balance MU450s I usually wear. As stated above, my shin guards fit over the tongue and provided a more comfortable fit. The Play Dry lining is soft and “cushy.” The support is fantastic.

I weighed the Reebok Field Magistrate plate shoe on my handy-dandy postage scale and found that each shoe weighs 25.5 ounces. My New Balance MU450s weigh 27 ounces each.

The turf sole is both a blessing and a curse. First the positive: traction. The turf sole grabs dry surfaces and provides superior traction.

The negatives:
mud. The turf sole that grabs the dry surface also holds onto the mud causing the shoe to gain weight and you to lose that superior traction. Personally, I would rather have the added traction on a dry field. A “street sole” (e.g. on the New Balance MU450) will cause you to slip anyway.

The turf sole also makes it difficult to swipe the plate with your shoe. Don’t get me wrong, I clean the plate regularly with my brush (bouncing out quickly with my back to the field, using a patented five movement technique and looking awesomely professional), but occasionally little Johnny will swing big and cover up a corner and I swipe it off with my shoe without stopping the game. For those times the Field Magistrate under-achieves.

Finally, how am I going to clean these shoes? I’m an old school military vet and I like my shoe polish and brush. I can make my blacked-out New Balance shoes shine so bright they can be seen from space. However, with the multiple logos on the Field Magistrate, using shoe polish and a brush is not practical. I suppose I will have to experiment with Pledge or Scrubbing Bubbles?

Reebok Field Magistrate plate shoes are offered in full and half sizes and in standard and 4E widths. Below is a sampling of current prices:

Ump-Attire $117.95

S.O.S. Sports $103.95

Lester’s Upstate Sports $105.00

Purchase Officials $89.00

The bottom line is that this is a great fitting and performing shoe. Once Reebok reigns in their self-promotion and eliminates the white logos, they can claim to have the ultimate umpire plate shoe.


Anonymous said...

My Reeboks have "Rbk" in place of the MLB logo as shown in the picture above.
These are the most comfortable plate shoes I have worn. I have the mid-cut and they protect the side of my ankles very well.
One thing that was not mentioned in the review is the metatarsal plate extends down on each side of the shoe to give additional protection to the sides of your feett. I don't ever recall being hit there but it is nice to have it just in case.

Anonymous said...

About the only thing I don't like, other than the overuse of the color white, is the finger pull loop on the back of the shoe. While the loop makes it very easy to put your shoes on, your pants tend to catch on the loop so the cuff is always hiked up on the back of the shoe. My shoes also have the 'Rbk' on the protection plate and av the MLB logo on the back of the shoe under the finger pull loop.

Pete Reiser said...

Terrific comments!

The Field Magistrate provides excellent protection and the metatarsal plate extends further down the sides than the New Banlance 450s.
Like you I have never been hit in that area, but the added protection is comforting.

Anonymous said...

Where did you get that pair from?

Pete Reiser said...

Reebok sent them to me for review.

Arik said...

Do the shoes come in a wide size?

Anonymous said...

From the looks of the pictures, you were sent the new version of the plate shoes. I am sure if anyone is carrying that particular model till next year. Jim Kirk mentioned the changes that appear to be evident in the model you reviewed. The Rebook logo is slighly subdued. The MLB and RBK logos have switched places. I think he said they would available to the rest of us in the fall. I love my NB450s, but I am thinking of getting a pair of RBKs for next season. I like the look and the added protection.

Anonymous said...


I normally wear the New Balance 450's and want to switch but not sure the size. I normally wear a 14EE and I can't find them in that size. Do they even make a "EE" shoe?

Dean said...

I see that Ump-Attire now has the all black shoes on the web site.

Anonymous said...

The Reeboks in this review are certainly different than the first production run I bought last season. Aside from the logo placement, the latest production shoes in the review now have a black pinstripe on the white stripes of the shoe - as do the base shoes. These shoes are easy to rinse off, and polish with the Terrago clear.
Also, the value of the metatarsal plate can't be overstated. I used a pair of Gerry Davis shoes successfully for many years. One night in an independent league game, a foul ball skimmed my left foot. It felt as though my pinky toe was broken (fortunately it wasn't), because the shoe's plate did not extend to the side of the shoe. My foot was pointed directly at the pitcher - if you have a vulnerable spot, the ball will always find it!

Anonymous said...

Has anybody tried the 3n2 plated and non plated umpire shoe?