Upscale Sports Equipment

A new generation of top-shelf, high-tech equipment is making casual sports and working out as much about status as performance and winning.

CraveOnlineby CraveOnline

Any player can walk into a mall sporting goods shop and pick up the basic essentials for weekend warrior competition, but manufacturers are upping their games with more sophisticated design and higher end materials to offer more advanced – and more expensive – fitness and sports gear.

CraveOnline snagged a few samples to see what it’s like to play very average sports for greater than average money.


Ogio Golf Bags: The folks that bring you backpacks and bags for most every kind of toting you might face during the course of your work or play day designed a golf bag that essentially weighs less than your pitching wedge.

We had a look at the Ogio Velocity, Edge and Ozone set-ups and found one thing to be in common for each design. They’re ultralight and made from a combination of high-tech alloys and what Ogio calls “lightweight hex rip stop material.”

The motivation behind the design is to eliminate the burden of the bag from golfer’s course carry along. They can’t control the weight of your clubs or how much other paraphernalia you might bring along, but Ogio makes sure their bags are the lightest options on the market while maintaining durability and multi-functional utility.


Easton Softball Bats: There’s a reason why aluminum and related metal alloy bats remain in the realms of softball and amateur baseball. They’re being made so well with so much engineering devoted to maximum power at the impact point that they would literally become deadly weapons in the hands of professional hitters.

Case on point, the current line of bats metal alloy bats from Easton. These composite bats range in price from around $300 for the Easton Stealth to around $70 for the Easton Reflex. We hit the cages for some batting practice and felt first hand how the composite tensile strength mixes with the light weight to turn a lot of pop-ups into fence climbers.

But, be forewarned. In some cases, these advanced materials and powerful results can make some of these bat designs illegal in your local league. Check the rules before you bring a ringer bat to the diamond.


Powerplate: The most expensive piece of kit here is also the most high-tech. In fact, it’s so out there that the science behind is still open for debate. It’s name sounds abut like something you’d set your phone down on to charge while eating – or a competitor for the George Foreman Grill – but a slew of fitness experts and movie stars working hard to say in big screen shape swear by it.

Whatever the product variation, the Powerplate is a platform large enough for a full-grown adult to stand on comfortably and securely. That platform vibrates at a extremely high speed – fast enough to send a teeth rattling charge through said adult.

The user can conduct a weightlifting, pilates or cardio routine on the Powerplate. Its adjustable vibration speed sends its extra kinetic energy into the user’s working muscles, increasing flexibility while also accelerating fatigue. That combination theoretically intensifies the workout, increasing efficiency and doubling the speed of results.

The science emerged when residents of the International Space Station returned with muscle and bone density problems following longterm stays in orbit. By conducting their therapy exercises under similar vibration upon return to Earth, muscle tissue recovered faster. Still some doctors and researchers say it’s all a gimmick.

Mark Wahlberg, Clint Eastwood, Joanna Krupa and Sting all swear by Powerplate, but we had to try one out to see if all that shaking makes a difference. While this reporter can’t attest to the longterm benefits of the device, there’s no question it makes a difference on your joints during a workout by increasing flexibility. I sport two rebuilt knees from years playing football and basketball, but I did the deepest unaided squat reps I’ve done in years.

But, quicker and more effective workouts come with a price. The Powerplate ranges from $2,600 to $4,700 for personal models.