We took 4 popular athletic cups and tested them for protection, value and comfort. We filled the cups with grapes (from Costco) and shot balls from our pitching machine at 55mph from 5 feet away. We then measured which cup kept the most grapes undamaged. We found the inexpensive McDavid cup to do the best in terms of keeping the most grapes unbroken. However, that determination has little to do with cup comfort, which might be a bigger factor.
Based on Amazon reviews and our experience, the Diamond MMA feels the best while wearing it. The Nutty Buddy gets high marks too when it comes to comfort. But, in terms of overall protection we give the award to the McDavid cup.
Best Athletic Cups
|Diamond MMA||Multi Sport||$$$||34%|
|Nutty Buddy||Best Fit||$$$||N/A|
|Shock Doctor||Name Brand||$$||28%|
|Comfy Cup||Learner Cup||$$||12%|
This is a no frills protective cup. After all, what is you want in a plastic shell that covers the crown jewels? Bells? Whistles?
McDavid is a company that focuses on low cost protective items. You’ll find things like knee pads and knee wraps for construction workers. The protective cup fits right in their wheelhouse.
It runs larger than the other cups we tested in the class—it held 30 grapes while the others held only 25.
But, in terms of protection it worked great—the best of the bunch. And, get this, the cup is less than 10 bucks. Hard to go wrong here.
The Nutty Buddy Cup is built with the idea of comfort. No other cup we researched gets near to the number of great ratings and recommendations this cup does. It is built specifically for no pinch points. Anyone who has dealt with a cup that doesn’t fit right can sympathize.
Many MLB guys, according to the Nutty Buddy website, use a Nutty Buddy cup. And, if you are having trouble finding an athletic cup that fits right then the Nutty Buddy is an easy choice—despite it having a higher price point than most on here.
If you are fighting MMA this may very well be the cup for you. Even a better deal than the McDavid cup above. But, if you are just playing baseball we aren’t sure the highly rated support jock is right for everyone. It will, however, make you feel confident in the locker room, lets say.
The cup fits well–is likely the best fitting cup on this list aside from the Nutty Buddy. It also looks professional. Clearly, it was designed with an MMA fighter in mind. And it will work just great for baseball.
We didn’t find it to have any better protection in terms of a dead on hit. It protected 34% of the grapes in our test. Which was a solid second place but well behind the much less expensive McDavid.
We’d recommend the cup for multi sport athletes that would like a good looking protective cup.
The Shock Doctor flex cup doesn’t feel much different than the McDavid cup. It does have a bit of a different profile–and in the large version didn’t hold as many grapes.
The results for the Shock Doctor (in our grape smash test) were the worst of the bunch. It only protected 28% of the grapes.
We were not entirely impressed with the cup but, like we say in the beginning, it is a plastic cup, after all. Shock Doctor has very good distribution and can be found in most athletic stores. At $10 its worth a shot.
Also, where Shock Doctor does succeed is in the breadth of their product offering. Colorways and designs are all over the place.
The comfy cup, we warn you, is a soft cup. It is, in effect, a slightly padded cup that does not stand up well to direct and fast hits. However, it would do better than simple briefs. If your player is new to the sport and you’d like to see them use protection we’d suggest the comfy cup.
Note, too, it only holds like 8 grapes. This is a boys cup and nothing more.