Photography by John B. Carnett

1. Brand new, but broken in
Straight out of the box, the Rawlings Vise softball glove closes like a well-oiled favorite. The key is an inner strap that keeps your middle, ring, and pinkie fingers together. The design means three times more closing strength and protection from stinging fastballs. Also comes as a baseball glove.
Price: $69 to $89

2. Superlight soccer shoe
With a body 3 mm thinner than most and weighing a mere 6.5 ounces, Nike’s Mercurial Vapor cleats are the lightest soccer shoes you can buy. The secret is something called Nike Skin, an extremely thin synthetic fiber that feels like leather but is far tougher.
Price: $185

3. Keep speed in check
The 13-ounce Bushnell Speedster radar gun is powerful enough to capture a 110-mph fastball at 60 feet or a 200-mph racecar at 600 feet. And, unlike other consumer guns, it keeps stats for recent and average speeds. It worked like a charm from our ninth-floor offices, clocking cabs at 35 mph.
Price: $264

4. Rawlings MLB baseball
$15. Fastest recorded pitch: 100.9 mph, Nolan Ryan, Aug. 20, 1974.

5. Wilson GST football
$90. Thick, pebbled leather laces provide a better grip. Average pass speed, pro QB: 65 mph at 600 rpm.

6. Wilson True golf ball
$54/12; Heavy cover means a balanced ball, straight shots. Fastest golf swing: Sean Fister, 171 mph.

7. Penn tennis ball
$2/3. Fastest tennis serve: 149 mph, Greg Rusedski, March 15, 1998.