What the 82nd MLB All-Star Game lacks in star power could be made up for by players' fashion statements. Although baseball hasn't traditionally attracted a cult following for players' uniforms or spikes—unlike the market for NBA player jerseys and customized shoes—the Midsummer Classic will feature baseball players wearing a range of personalized cleats, courtesy of Under Armour.
Named in 2011 as MLB's official performance footwear supplier, Under Armour will use today's Home Run Derby and Tuesday's All-Star Game at Chase Field in Phoenix to unveil three new baseball cleat models—the Heater IV [$90], the Natural III Low [$85] and the Yard III Mid [$80]. All three will go on sale in the fall, but for now, some of Under Armour's most recognizable MLB endorsers will be sporting them.
One of the most noteworthy players, New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, will not be wearing his Mets blue and orange Yard III spikes. Reyes unfortunately had to pull out of the game with a strained left hamstring. However, several other players on Under Armour's MLB roster will wear spikes that incorporate their team colors into MLB's official All-Star ground-to-sky argyle logo.
Other players for whom UA produced personal spikes include Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Joel Hanrahan, Chicago White Sox first baseman Paul Konerko, Florida Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman, Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo, Atlanta Braves pitcher Jair Jurrjens and Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw.
According to Josh Rattett, Under Armour's director of on-field footwear, the All-Star-designed shoes took three months to complete. The company worked with MLB officials to ensure the shoes properly represented the league's All-Star Game logo and the teams' official colors. [Under Armour has access to each team's color style guide through its official footwear agreement.]
Rattett notes that teams' secondary colors played a prominent role in the cleats' ultimate design. For example, of Hanrahan's game spikes, Rattett says, "We tried to take that Pittsburgh gold and incorporate it, which you don't traditionally see on a lot of [Pirates players'] cleats."
All three of UA's new models feature the company's Fang Spikes, which are angled to cover 20 percent more surface area than previous spikes. Rattett says, "The goal is that the player gets quicker bat speed, quicker turns and movement out of the [batter's] box and the ability to cut and move in a way he might not have had with other cleats."
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