Monday, November 21, 2011

Review of All Star System Seven Leg Guards (LGU2000)

Leg guards are as under-appreciated as your wallet. I don’t mean “wallet” as an euphemism for cash. I mean it as in the statement, “George Costanza has a fat wallet” - not as in the ZZ Top lyrics to Sharp Dressed Man (Top coat, Top hat, I don't worry cause my wallet’s fat).

Nobody thinks about his wallet. No umpire thinks about his leg guards. Some umpires will go a decade (or longer!) with the same leg guards. There is no problem. . . until there’s a problem.

So the question is: do you want leg guards that you only think about when there's a problem, or do you want leg guards that never have a problem?

If you want protection, with a large serving of comfort, the All Star System Seven Leg Guards (LGU2000) are the way to go. The LGU2000 leg guards are not light. At 32 ounces each, they are as heavy as the Wilson Charcoal Leg Guards (A3417). That's 17.5 ounces heavier than the Diamond DLG-LITE Featherweight Shin Guards.

Like the Wilson A3417 leg guards, the All Star has a double knee design and wrap around protection. A toe cap is removable, and is held on by Velcro. The All Star comes in 17" and 18" lengths.

Unlike the Wilson guards, the All Star fits like a glove! All Star places two pads inside the leg guard: one at the shin, and one at the knee. The pads are very comfortable and adjustable for a custom fit. The knee pad is called the "Patella Plus," and is designed to absorb impact and hold the knee in place. These pads are removable for washing, and are treated with the Aeigis Microbe Sheild to kill bacterial growth.

Unlike the Wilson A3417 guards, the padding on the All Star is riveted to the plastic plates. The knee does not "float" like the Wilson charcoal. But the All Star features air vents built into the plates. The All Star comes with a DeltaFlex harness, a huge advancement in comfort! The All Star System Seven Leg Guards are also available in two styles, single knee (LGU1000) and double knee (LGU2000, reviewed herein).

I am a big fan of low profile gear. I believe heavy equipment makes an umpire look like Robo-Cop. At 22" circumference at the knee, and 21" circumference at the middle of the shin, the All Star System Seven Leg Guards are not low profile.

But all of this pretty talk means nothing if they don't protect. Remember, nobody sees your wallet, and nobody sees your leg guards. The All Star guards have no gaping between the plates, use plenty of padding to absorb nasty impacts (especially around the knee), and provide adequate side impact coverage. Like the Wilson A3417, the All Star guards are protect like a tank.

The All Star System Seven Leg Guards are available from the following on-line retailers:

Baseball Plus Store - $119.95 and free shipping

Lester's Upstate Sports - $135

Better Baseball - $129.95
Ump-Attire - $134.99 (remember to apply your Umpire-Empire membership discount!)

That is roughly $40-$50 more expensive than the Wilson A3417.

Fair or Foul?
The All Star System Seven Leg Guards are very, very comfortable! They are just as protective as the Wilson A3417, but they are very, very comfortable! (Did I mention that?)

If the All Star System Seven Leg Guards had been around in the '80's, ZZ Top would have sung about them. You know, something like, "Women go crazy 'bout these leg guards, man!" Well, maybe not, but I think they are fantastic. My call is FAIR!

Postscript: This review would not have been possible without the generous cooperation of Jim Kirk at Ump-Attire. Jim sent me the All Star System Seven Chest Protector and Leg Guards so that I could review these products for you on Midwest Ump. Thanks, Jim!!!

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