Best Mouth Guards – Top 5

When preparing for participation in a contact sport, one thing you certainly don’t want to go light on is protection. If its football you’re gearing up for, you wouldn’t want to run onto the field without a helmet and shoulder pads. And while some protection is obvious, one the most important pieces of equipment across all sports comes in a small package. The mouth guard, mouthpiece, gum shield, or whatever you want to call it, is essential in protecting athletes heads and their beautiful smiles.

We’re all familiar with $1 yellow mouthguard that you would boil the morning before the game and probably lose before the day was over. They were bulky, uncomfortable, and you couldn’t speak with it in your mouth. But like most articles of sports equipment, the mouth guard has continued on a path of development, making it safer and more comfortable than ever. Today’s mouthpieces are lighter, allow for easy breathing, come in flavors, and can even be a fashion statement with their wide range of colors and patterns. Athletes everywhere, from basketball, football, rugby, lacrosse, hockey, and more are protecting their grills with one of these new mouth guards. With a multitude of options, we wanted to highlight our top 5 standouts that have taken mouthguard protection to the next level.

  1. Battle Digi Camo Oxygen Lip Protector

There are two types of mouth guards, those that provide lip protection, and those that don’t. Many sports, such as football, prefer the lip coverage given the physical natural of play. One disadvantage to lip protection used to be that it was difficult to breathe with. But with Battle Sports new Digi Camo Oxygen, and its 293% larger breathing hole, that problem is no longer relevant. Now you can perform at your highest level with maximum protection.  Available in three colorful digital camo patterns, the Battle Digi Camo Oxygen Lip Protector is a great addition to any player’s game day protection.

  1. Shock Doctor Double Braces Mouthguard

One issue that many youth players run into when search for the right mouthpiece is the addition of braces to the equation. Often uncomfortable on their own, adding a mouth guard to the mix is never a simple solution. But with metal braces covering the teeth, it’s more important than ever that an athlete have this layer of protection. The last thing you want is those expensive braces breaking and cutting the inside of the mouth. Among the leaders in the mouth guard industry, Shock Doctor has developed a product that solves this predicament. The Shock Doctor Double Braces Mouthguard uses an innovative Ortho-Channel to fit around both the upper and lower brace brackets. It will also adapt to changing tooth positions as the braces are adjusted and features a breathing channel in the center to allow for air flow. Now players (and parents) can rest assure that they have full proof protection.

  1. Nike Hyperflow Flavored Mouthguard

Leave it up to today’s minds to design a mouth guard that tastes as good as it protects. Among other brands, Nike has developed their Hyperflow Flavored mouthpiece to provide long lasting flavor game after game. But this mouthguard isn’t just tasty, it also delivers excellent protection with its Dual-Density construction. The Nike Hyperflow also features its O-Flow breathing channels that allow for maximum oxygen intake on the field or court. Available in several different flavor options, the Nike Hyperflow Flavored mouth guards is perfect for anyone’s tastes.

  1. Shock Doctor Gel Max Convertible Mouthguard

Shock Doctor has been at the forefront of advancement when it comes to mouth protection. Offering a range of options that suit any athlete’s particular needs. The Gel Max Convertible mouthpiece is a perfect example of the best they have to offer. Firstly, it comes with an Exoskeletal shock frame that provides excellent protection and durability. A triple layer design with integrated breathing channels allows for breathability when you’re out performing.  The Gel-Fit liner makes for a comfortable fit and the convertible tether lets you use this mouthguard with or without a strap. This all-around mouth guard is available in four different colors, and at a value that is sure to be appreciated.

  1. Sisu NextGen Max Mouthguard

Sisu is a relatively new name to the mouth guard industry, but don’t let that fool you. They have offered a revolutionary design to the moldable mouthpiece that is changing how we think of mouth protection. The one complaint many athletes shared, was that face that a mouthguard was bulky, breathing restricting, and limited the ability to communicate on the playing field. In some cases, players wouldn’t wear them at all because of this, putting their safety in jeopardy. Sisu has designed a mouth guard that is as functional as it is protective. Offering a solution to these previous complaints and providing a protection option to those who refused to wear a mouthguard before. The NextGen Max is incredibly lightweight but built to handle even more impact. The best feature is that this mouthguard fits so securely in the mouth, that it allows athletes to talk, drink, and breathe as if it wasn’t even there. This is possible from a combination of its innovative molding process and the 2.4 mm thick design. Making it 30% thinner and up to 50% stronger than your traditional mouth guard. This new way of thinking is what makes the Sisu NextGen Max our number on pick for best mouth guard.

-Written By Dylan Hamilton, Sports Unlimited

Breaking Down the Wilson A2000 Game Model Gloves

There is no arguing Wilson’s place among the leaders when it comes to producing high end baseball gloves. Countless Major Leaguers turn to Wilson for their glove needs, speaking volumes to the quality and performance of their products. When you think of Wilson baseball gloves, the first thing that comes to mind is the A2000. Since it was first released in 1957, the Wilson A2000 has become the benchmark for professional gloves. It was the first of its kind with a large web and broad pocket, and would be the foundation for every glove developed by any manufactures from that point on.

Fast forward to today, and you’ll see the likes of Dustin Pedroia, Miguel Cabrera, and Robinson Canó all wearing A2000’s as they compete with the world’s best. As you would expect, every pro has a particular fit and feel that they prefer. Wilson have always been persistent in acquiring feedback from professionals, allowing them to develop an improved product. Some of the headliners on their roster of MLB players have even been giving their own Game Models, which are produced for the masses. It should come as no surprise that these particular gloves have become some of the most popular on the market. If it’s good enough for these guys, surely it’s good enough for me?

So as you prepare to purchase your very own Wilson glove, perhaps you want to know a bit more about what makes these Game Models different from the standard A2000. One thing you can expect from any of these gloves are a few of the cornerstones that come with any A2000. This includes the premium pro stock leather, selected for its durability and feel. Dual Welting, which adds two strips of leather to back of each finger to provide structure and stability as the glove breaks in. And finally, the Dri-Lex wrist lining keeps the hand dry and free of moisture.

What sets the Game Models and standard gloves apart can usually be broken down into a few categories. Colors, web styles, and fit are the three ways most pro’s make these gloves their own. Color being the simplest to understand, most choose a colorway that matches their team or gives a traditional look. Jose Altuve features navy and orange leather to match his Houston Astros uniform, while Clayton Kershaw has opted for the traditional all-black.

With today’s gloves, there are endless ways to lace up your web. When it comes to the Game Models on the Wilson A2000, each player has chosen their own particular web that suits them and their style of play. Miguel Cabrera has gone with a signature V-Laced pattern on a wider single post web, allowing him to lock the ball in the pocket. Clayton Kershaw has selected a deep and closed 2-piece web that allows him to conceal the ball and any grip changes, granting him the element of surprise.

The final way professional ball players have personalized their game model gloves is with the fit. No one is more particular with this category than Golden Glove Second Baseman Dustin Pedroia. Wilson developed the “Pedroia Fit” specifically for him, as his smaller hands required some custom features. This included a lower finger divider, narrower opening, thin heel pad, and longer laces. The Pedroia Fit is available on three A2000 gloves, one of which features Wilson’s SuperSkin, designed to lighten the glove without sacrificing durability.

While you may not be fielding ground balls at Fenway Park anytime soon, that doesn’t mean your glove is any less important. Described by Jose Altuve as his “tool”, he carries his glove with him on the plane any time he travels. We know you feel the same way about your glove. Check out Sports Unlimited large selection of premium gloves from Wilson, Mizuno, Rawlings, and More, to find the perfect glove for you.

Written By Dylan Hamilton, Sports Unlimited

Best Youth Catchers Sets – Top 5

One of the toughest decisions made gearing up for the 2017 baseball season is which equipment is best for those behind the plate? As kids continue to grow, sizing always becomes important, not to mention the significance of safety. Today’s top baseball brands all manufacturer youth catchers gear sets to simplify the shopping process. These catchers sets all include a helmet, chest protector, and leg guards. One question that still needs to be answered, what is the best youth catchers set for me?

With such a wide variety of manufacturers and different lines, it can be a bit overwhelming deciding which set of pads to purchase. You can visit our Catchers Gear Buyers Guide to see exactly was size you’ll be looking for. Once you have that, you can review our selection of Top 5 youth catchers sets, to see which best matches your needs.

5. Louisville Slugger Series 5 Youth Catchers Set

The Series 5 youth from Louisville Slugger is everything you need from a youth catchers set. Featuring a hockey style mask that offers excellent protection and a moisture-wicking chin pad that keeps your little leaguer comfortable. The Chest protector is made with a high density foam and quick release over-the-shoulder harness make for east on and off. Complete with the double knee design shin guards for extra protection. The Series 5 youth is perfect for a team set, or someone just learning the position. With a variety of color options and a friendly price point, the Louisville Slugger youth catchers gear set is an excellent value at number 5.

4. Easton M5 Qwikfit Youth Catchers Set

The M5 Qwikfit youth set offered by Easton certainly had parents and coaches in mind during its design process. The greatest feature to this set of helmet, chest protector, and leg guards is undoubtedly the Qwikfit strap system. Developed specifically to make for easy adjustments by the player, no longer are coaches or parents forced to help players get ready to go onto the field. This is particularly important if the set is being shared by a team with kids coming in different shapes and sizes. Offered with a range of other features that you would find on a higher level set, including steel wire cage for improved visibility, multi layer perforations to keep you cool, and a TruBlock anti-roll designed leg guard that increase stability and protection. All of this, plus a reasonable price, make the Easton M5 Qwikfit youth gear our recommendation for the ideal team set.

3. All Star System Seven Youth Camo Pro Catchers Set

The All Star System Seven Youth Camo Pro Catchers Set is everything is sounds like and more. This set offered by All Star is essentially their professional level pads scaled down to fit a youth player. Everything from removable liners and an I-Bar vision cage on the helmet. To moldable protective plates in the chest protector and a Patella Plus gel knee pad in the shin guards. This catcher set has all the bells and whistles, and will outperform most sets like it. It finds itself at number 3 for one simple reasons. This set was designed for serious players, and the pricing reflects that. For most players at the youth level, this is probably more than they need. But if your a serious player on a travel ball club, than the All Star System Seven catchers set is the one for you.

2. Under Armour Junior Pro Youth Catchers Set

Under Armour has quickly become one of the most popular brands when it comes to baseball equipment. The reason for this is their dedication to designing cutting edge products that perform and protect. The Junior Pro catchers set follows in that tradition and provides an excellent option for all youth players. The helmet comes with the I-Bar vision from professional helmets with a sleekly designed ABS plastic shell. The chest protector has plastic inserts for extra protection and a customizable strap and harness system for optimal fit. Triple knee designed leg guards are extremely comfortable with 38 ventilation ports. Carefully designed from head to toe, the Under Armour Junior Pro could easily have been number, but still remains an excellent choice for any youth ball player.

1. Mizuno Samurai Youth Catchers Set 

As our top choice for youth catchers gear, the Mizuno Samurai is easily the most popular set offered by Sports Unlimited. A perfect combination of protection, performance, personalization, and price; it’s no surprise the Samurai is king. All the features you’d expect from a top pick; including 3-Layer EVA foam padding in the helmet, patented detachable wings for a customizable fitting chest protector, and flexible lightweight leg guards. What sets the Mizuno Samurai apart is the wide range of color options. No other set comes with a variety like the 17 colors offered by Mizuno. This allows you to match your team, or stand out. At a price that is competitive with the other top catchers sets, the Mizuno Samurai is our top pick for youth catchers gear set.

Check out all of Sports Unlimited Youth Catchers Gear

Written By Dylan Hamilton, Sports Unlimited

Schutt releases new Air XP Pro Q10 Football Helmet

For the past several years, Schutt has followed a similar pattern when it comes to releasing new football helmets: take a recognizable helmet shell and tweak the padding inside.

While this strategy hasn’t exactly changed the face (or head) of football, it has strengthened Schutt’s position when it comes to helmet safety. The Litchfield, Illinois-based manufacturer now owns five of the top six ranked helmets in the Virginia Tech Helmet Study and has six styles that have earned five star rankings. Those numbers figure to increase in the 2017 study with the recent release of the Schutt Air XP Pro Q10 Adult Football Helmet.

Following on the heels of 2016’s new offering, the Vengeance Z10, Schutt has taken its Helmet Stabilization System and applied it to the classic Air XP shell in the Q10. The system uses both internal and external stabilizers around the jaw area to give players a more locked in feel. Special jaw pads, also used in the Z10, work in unison with newly designed facemasks to provide addition protection to the side of players’ faces by extending above the helmet shell.

Other than the shell design, the biggest difference between the new Q10 and last year’s Z10 is in the front padding. The Z10 uses traditional foam wrapped in a faux leather comfort pad, while the Q10 has shifted away from that and put TPU throughout the entire helmet, including underneath the newly designed front pad. The lighter padding brings he helmet’s weight down to 2.95 pounds without a facemask. That weight doesn’t increase much when you add an included titanium facemask in your choice of style and color.

While the Q10 has yet to be rated by the Virginia Tech study, Schutt’s track record shows that if they’re releasing a new helmet, it’s sure to be given a 5-star rating. Look for the Q10 to start popping up on NFL and college fields during this spring’s mini camps or get your own on SportsUnlimited.com today.

Football Gift Guide: What to get a football player for Christmas

There’s no better place to find a Christmas gift for that special football player in your life than here at Sports Unlimited. We offer the largest in-stock selection of football gear anywhere online and we’re ready to ship it to you with plenty of time to get it under the tree by Christmas day. Here are some of our top picks this holiday season.

A Riddell SpeedFlex under the tree will make any football player's Christmas.
A Riddell SpeedFlex under the tree will make any football player’s Christmas.

1. Riddell SpeedFlex Adult Football Helmet with Facemask

If you’ve been watching football in the last two years – and we know you have – you’re probably familiar with the SpeedFlex. It’s the football helmet with the unique cutout panel in the front of the shell that’s recognizable from the youth field all the way up to the NFL. Aside from its stunning aesthetic, the SpeedFlex is one of the most protective helmets on the market with a specially designed facemask and chinstrap working in unison with the helmet’s shell to keep you safe.

The Schutt XV HD Shoulder Pads could make a nice surprise gift.
The Schutt XV HD Shoulder Pads could make a nice surprise gift.

2. Schutt XV HD Shoulder Pads

Choosing the proper football shoulder pad can be a complex task, but it’s tough to go wrong with the Schutt XV HD Shoulder Pads. Lightweight and protective, the XV HD line is one of the most popular we offer with removable clavicle channel to allow you to customize the fit. Whether you’re shopping for quarterback shoulder pads, lineman shoulder pads, pads for skill players or all-purpose shoulder pads, the XV HD line has a version that’s right for you.

3. Lineman facemask

Schutt ROPO-DW Pro Facemask
Riddell S2BDC-TX-LW Facemask

The past year or so has been tough on linemen. With the NFL, NCAA and some states banning the popular Big Grill facemask, the big guys have had a tough time choosing their look. But the facemask companies have adapted to the new rules and came up with facemasks built to intimidate. Riddell now offer the Riddell S2BDC-TX-LW facemask that has a similar look to the ultra-popular Big Grill 2.0. Schutt also took note, adding a Schutt ROPO-DW Pro facemask style to fit their Vengeance models. The titanium construction keeps the weight down, making it easier to keep your head up during play.

4. Oakley Visor

Oakley’s clear eyeshield makes any helmet look good

Nothing completes the look of a football helmet like a visor and while there are plenty of options on the market, few compare to the Oakley Eyeshield. The most popular football visor, Oakley has tweaked the optics to perfection giving you a clear view of the field and keeping opponents fingers out of your face. With a variety of sticker colors, you can customize the visor to your own team specifications. The clear version is legal in all leagues, making it the safest gift option, but a dark version like the 20 percent grey visor could also do the trick.

5. Douglas Back Plate

A custom colored Douglas Back Plate protects players and looks great
A custom colored Douglas Back Plate protects players.

Extra protection is always a good thing, making the Douglas Back Plate an easy choice for anyone looking for a last-minute gift. Made in the USA by one of the most trusted names in the football business, this back plate is one of the top accessories in the game. It’s available in a wide range of colors to ensure you can match your team’s colorway and attaches to almost any brand of shoulder pad. You can also opt for a four-inch version of the back plate for smaller or youth players.

Top 5 Best Christmas Toy Gifts for Boys 8 to 10

I remember waking up Christmas morning so excited to see what Santa brought me. What kind of new gadget or toy would be my favorite? Crossing my fingers that it wouldn’t be clothes! You know, when you’re 8, 9 or 10 years old the last thing you want is a new pair of PJs.
So parents and grandparents here is your guide to ensure you are the cool parent that gets something your boys will love.

The Space Scooter X580 will bring smiles on Christmas morning and provide hours of fun throughout the year.

#1 Space Scooter X580 Scooter
The Space Scooter X580 Scooter is the hottest gift this year. No more pushing off with your back foot to propel yourself forward. Just hop on the X580 and use a teeter-totter motion to ride. Ride faster and further than a traditional scooter! It’s rated for kids and adults up to 200lbs and it folds for easy storage. Price: $149.95

#2 Stiga Stanley Cup Table Hockey Game
I used to love playing table hockey back in the mid-80s. The problem with the hockey games then was the puck always used to get stuck behind the net where you’re player couldn’t get it. That’s no longer the case with the Stiga Stanley Cup Table Hockey Game. This game is well built. The players all move back and forth and spin in circles smoothly.

stiga-table
The Stiga Stanley Cup Table Hockey game updates a classic favorite.

The puck doesn’t get stuck and on hard slap shots it doesn’t leave the rink. The extended plexi shields behind the goal keep the puck in play. It’s just a great game to play with your son or for him to play with his friends. Price: $109.95

#3 Wham-O SnowBoogie Fantom-X Winter Snow Sled

Fantom-X
The Fantom-X Snow Sled makes snow days great again.

Remember the days sledding with the Flexible Flyer steel runner sled? Well, check out the 21st century edition. The Wham-O SnowBoogie Fantom-X Winter Snow Sled will make all the other kids in the neighborhood jealous. The Fantom has so much going for it. It’s great for both single and two-person riding. The driver gets the fun of using the handlebar style control to easily maneuver down the hill. The frame is constructed of metal alloy to endure many seasons of sledding. And no more riding on a wood platform. The lightweight nylon mesh seat is much more comfortable. Come on Mom, hop on with your boy and take a ride! Price: $99.95

#4 Park & Sun Portable Tetherball Set

Tetherball
The Park & Sun Tetherball set allows you take a fun game with you wherever you go.

Here’s another classic game that is sure to take you back to your childhood. The Park & Sun Portable Tetherball Set is very well made and it’s portable so you can take in anywhere. This set features a tripod base and center pole anchor which is best set up in and area with firm grass/soil. There is no need to dig a hole and pour cement! It comes complete with the nylon cord and tetherball. The galvanized steel pole is made to last! Price: $69.95

#5 Under Armour 395 Junior Football

UA Football
The Under Armour 395 Junior football is soft and easy to grip.

This is a simple gift but it’s one that is enjoyed by many dads and sons for generations. This Under Armour 395 Junior Football is a great choice. I prefer this over the Wilson version because the softness and grip. The junior size and grip make it easy for kids to throw and catch. It also won’t break the bank. Price: $24.95

Any of these gifts are ones that will bring a smile to a little boys’ face on Christman morning. They are also toys that are best played with two people. And isn’t the fun of Christmas playing with your kids and grandkids?!?!

Roller Derby Tracer Adjustable Inline Skates – They Grow with your Boys

roller-derby-tracer-adjustable-boys-inline-skates_altimage-02As a father of three boys ages 11, 8 and 5, I know how fast boys’ feet grow.  Roller Derby has a great solution for fast growing feet.  The Tracer skates grow with your kids.  They are available in two size runs; Small (12-1) and Medium (2-5).  It’s like owning multiple skates.  The push button makes adjusting to the perfect fit easy.

Removable and Washable Boot Liner
Removable and Washable Boot Liner

This pair in particular is a great buy at around $39.99. The deluxe liner is washable to get the smell out and the locking cam lever buckles make it easy for your kids to get them on and off all by themselves.  They love the freedom.

 

roller-derby-tracer-adjustable-boys-inline-skates_altimage-04
Features excellerator 608ZM Chassis, 70MM urethane wheels, and locking cam lever buckles.

If your kids are older and you need something a little bigger check out a wide selection of youth inline skates for all sizes.  Girls too!