What makes you buy a signature shoe? What ties you to a particular athlete’s brand? What has you spending your hard earned money on their product? Is it the athlete themselves? Or is it the aesthetic of the shoe? Have you found yourself purchasing a sneaker for its looks rather than the athlete? Or perhaps it’s the other way around, in that you love the way a shoe looks, but can’t get down with a particular guy?
In football, particularly, an athlete’s play has a huge effect on how his brand is represented. For someone like Deion Sanders, it was always with a lot of flair. For Bo Jackson, it represented power. For Marshall Faulk, a relentlessness that comes with rushing and receiving 1,000 yards each in one season. Remember when Michael Vick even had his own amusement park ride?
One of the first sneakers I can truly remember badly wanting, and spending my own money to get, was the Nike Total Air Bus Max that was worn and endorsed by Hall Of Fame running back and former Pittsburgh Steeler Jerome Bettis. I was in ninth grade, and I had never spent over $100 for sneakers. Ever. But there was something about the lines of the shoe combined with the huge Tuned Air Bag in the heel. (The commercial was pretty cool, too.) At the time, I was probably 135 pounds soaking wet, so the Bus physique was never in play, and although those shoes are long gone — I actually gave them to my grandfather for garden work, and up until a year or so ago were still in his garage — I remember the feeling I had when I first wore them to school. They were big, clunky, and gaudy, but they broke necks. Mission accomplished.
Nike’s latest football collection features five of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. The Field Generals Collection is not only apparel, but a lightweight turf training shoe that is designed with guys like Russell Wilson, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers in mind. Robert Griffin III and adidas have a similar campaign, including a signature shoe. Cam Newton has a signature shoe from the Under Armour team. So, we ask, what players are deserving of their own signature shoe? See here.
Follow Tommie on Twitter at @boneystarks