The Best Umpire Base Shoes

Aug 4th, 2022

The easy choice for best umpire base shoes, in most cases, are the New Balance's V3s. They come in a number of options and width options and are comfortable, lightweight and easy-to-clean.

Let's present though each winner with your needs in mind for "BEST UMPIRE BASE SHOES".

Looking for information on Umpire Plate Shoes? Find that here.

"I NEED A Mid-Cut BASE SHOE"

New Balance has the only options in mid-cuts (the MUM950s). Unfortunately, NB mid-cut base shoes are being discontinued, so sizes are limited. These are great however for the support that many of you need.

"I need a wider width"

Umpires have wider feet, at least on average, than other sports officials. New Balance base shoes have more wide (2E) and extra wide (4E) options. The only other brand to offer a 2E is 3n2.

"I want the best all-around base shoe with features made specifically for umpires"

New Balance listened to input from MLB umpires, where they were Official Supplier and from us (which includes input from all levels). Changes made from input over the last 3 years include 3 things near and dear to umpires' hearts: 1) More comfort due to a memory foam midsole and insole, 2) 60% less mesh for easier cleaning, and 3) A change in traction for better a multi-directional response regardless of surface. Read the summary of all the improvements to the New Balance V3 base shoes here.


Below are the reasons you might pick another brand as your best umpire base shoes.

"i want an all-black shoe"

As New Balance's "ALL-black" shoe has silver in the logos and a white MLB logo on the tongue, the best "true" all-black umpire base shoe is from Smitty. Smitty's Umpire / Referee Field Shoes have an embossed black "S" and have solid features to boot. These include support, comfort, durability, easy cleaning and multi-directional in an all-black shoe.



" I want Shoes that are lightweight"

We have a number of shoes considered lightweight including Mizuno, New Balance and Under Armour. In order, our shoe weights (per largest size single shoe) are:

  1. Mizuno Ambition Low Turf - 13.9 ounces
  2. New Balance Low-Cut - 14.8 ounces
  3. New Balance Mid-Cut - 15.7 ounces
  4. Under Armour Yard Turf Low - 16 ounces
  5. 3n2 Field Shoes - 19 ounces
  6. Smitty Field Shoes - 20 ounces
     

"I WANT SHOES THAT ARE EASY TO CLEAN"

For umpires, this is truly important. All-black shoes are surely easier to clean than those with white. However, with the right care (e.g. shoe shampoo), shoes with white are also easy-to-clean. Mesh is what umpires worry most about, especially on dirt. On turf, mesh, white or cleaning in general is not as much of a consideration. Unitl all fields you work become turf fields, here are the shoes that we consider easiest to clean (in order).

All-Black

  1. 3n2 Field Shoes
    Full synthetic upper
  2. Smitty All-Black Field Shoes
    Synthetic upper with limited mesh in rear
  3. New Balance All-Black Low-Cuts
    Synthetic upper with mesh on upper back sides
  4. New Balance All-Black Mid-Cuts
    Synthetic upper with mesh on upper back sides

Black & White

  1. Smitty v2 Black & White Field Shoes
    Full synthetic upper with white only on sole and limited mesh in rear
  2. Mizuno Ambition All-Surface Low-Cuts
    Full synthetic upper (even on white logo) with white on sole and no mesh
  3. New Balance Black & White Low-Cuts
    Mostly synthetic upper (even with white logo) white white on sole plus mesh on upper back sides
  4. New Balance Black & White Mid-Cuts
    Mostly synthetic upper (even with white logo) white white on sole plus mesh on upper back sides
  5. Under Armour Yard Turf Black & White
    Semi-synthetic upper with mesh in the front area (much less mesh than the previous style).

"I WANT SHOES THAT ARE KEEP MY FEET DRY"

Similar to the above, the most water-resistant shoes have synthetic uppers with little no mesh. The top pick is:

  1. Mizuno Ambition All-Surface Low-Cuts
    It is has a full synthetic upper constructed of water-resistant material.

All other shoes we offer do a great job of keeping your feet dry in wet conditions except the Under Armour Turfs. Their mesh on the on the front and sides will make them the least likely to do so.

"I HAVE SMALL FEET. MOST BASE SHOES available DON'T FIT ME."

While all shoes have size 8 and above, if you are size 6-7.5 (men's) or 7.5-9 (women's) your sizes are more limited. 3n2 Reaction Turf Shoes is your best best in all-black; Mizuno Ambition 2 Shoes in black & white.



If you are anything less than a 6 size men or 7.5 women, we recommend the 3n2's MOFO Trainer in black/white (available at 3n2sports.com).

"I Don't Like Wearing What Everyone Else Wears."

While the umpire uniform is well "uniform", you can express yourself most with your mask choice and with your base shoes. The best choices right now in the "non-uniform" category is the Smitty V2 Black & White Umpire / Referee Shoes, Under Armour Yard Turfs and Mizuno Ambition 2s. Each offers great traction on multiple surfaces (turf, grass and dirt), are comfortable and have that blac & white color mix most baseball umpires prefer.

Among these, the Smitty v2 with its roomier D width is more accommodating to wider feet. The Mizuno Ambition with its water-resistant and easy-to-clean upper is best all-around in condition extremes wet to dry and dusty. Both have the more professional styling expected of officials. However, the UA Turfs are so light weight and comfortable, it is also a great choice as well. The only downside, and it's slight, can be corrected all-black shoelaces.

  

About the Author

Picture of Jim Kirk

President Jim Kirk

Jim is a leading expert, educator and author on umpire gear, safety & appearance. After playing baseball at Centre College, he worked as a high school umpire. He became involved in E-Commerce while working on an MBA in the early 2000s and bought Ump-Attire.com in 2006, He eventually led it to the leading umpire gear & attire retailer worldwide, a “Best Places to Work in Louisville” honor in 2020 & 2021 and a National Association of Sports Officials (NASO) Preferred Vendor. He maintained a long-standing relationship with Minor League Baseball Umpire Development & Training Academy for 10 years. He serves as an adviser to UMPS CARE Charities, the charity of MLB umpires, served as a 2-term board of director from 2012-2018, and was named their 2015 Ambassador Award recipient. A supporter since the inception of the Wounded Warrior Umpire Academy, he was named to their Board of Directors in 2020.

Comments

Be the first to comment on this article!