Custom cleats take over the NFL


Cole Jaquith


2015 was the year of the custom cleat. For NFL players, it’s very difficult to acquire custom, or player exclusive, cleats directly from the manufacturer  unless you’re a sponsored athlete, so players have turned to customizers such as Soles by Sir, Illustrative Cre8ions, Dez Customz, and Kreative Custom Kicks. By painting the cleats, these customizers have brought art into the world of NFL footwear. They have painted a wide variety of cleats for NFL players, including the always popular Nike Vapor models and Under Armour Nitro models, as well as the surprisingly popular Nike Huarache lacrosse models, and a few soccer models from Nike and Adidas. Hopefully, 2016 will bring even more outstanding customs. In honor of Super Bowl 50, here are the top 50 custom cleats from the NFL this season, along with the Pro Bowl of custom cleats; the starting 11 countdown.

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11. @kreativecustomkicks for Dre Kirkpatrick of the Cincinnati Bengals

 imageThis Under Armour Nitro model has a mostly black aesthetic along with Kirkpatrick’s own superhero, SupaKirk. SupaKirk is featured in front a full moon on the right heel, as well as his number 27 on the toe. The left heel features SupaKirk on a football field and the left toe features the the Bengals logo. The detailing on this cleat is incredible and gives it a personal touch without making it too flashy.

10. @solesbysir for Cortland Finnegan of the Carolina Panthers


This Nike Huarache 5 is custom in more ways than one. Finnegan actually cut away the ankle support of the cleat, allowing for more movement, as well making the cleats lighter. The cleat itself features a finger trap design help lock down the foot. The finger trap creates a lot of breaks in the outsole, making it more difficult to paint than other cleats. Just sitting still, this cleat looks fast. Make sure to watch out for Finnegan’s customs during the Super Bowl.

9. @solesbysir for Vontae Davis of the Indianapolis Colts


The Nike Vapor Carbon Fly  was released in 2010, making them a throwback in the football world.  These cleats were made as a tribute to Vontae Davis and his wife for their wedding. They look almost exactly like Nike’s original black and white color way, with a few subtle changes. @solesbysir changed the traditionally glossy black to a matte “tuxedo” black, as well as changing the black swoosh on the forefoot to a gold that matches  the bridesmaid’s dresses from the wedding.

8. @dezcustomz for Randall Cobb of the Green Bay Packers


Whoever came up with the idea for these cleats is a genius. Randal Cobb’s Under Armour Nitro’s dubbed the “Corn Cobb,” actually look like a corn cob. The fact that the Packer’s colors happen to be green and yellow seems to make these cleats a work of fate, I’m just surprised that no one made a pair of these before. I know there a lot of corn fields in Wisconsin, but there’s only one Cobb on Lambeau Field.

7. @illustrativ_cre8tions for Bashaud Breeland of the Washington Redskins


Coming in at number seven is the first Christmas themed cleat on the list. These Nike Huarache 4’s feature Grinch imagery overlaying a brick wall that incorporates Redskins burgundy and gold. Breeland fittingly wore these cleats against the Philadelphia Eagles as they “stole” the Eagles’ hopes of a playoff run. Breeland has worn many other notable custom silhouettes throughout the season, including the Nike Huarache 5 and the Nike CJ Elite 2.

6. @kreativecustomkicks for Jonathan Casillas of the New York Giants


The sixth spot goes to another pair of Huarache 4’s, this time featuring the New York City skyline and the Statue of Liberty on the right toe. The left toe features lightning and the Giants logo. This custom is relatively simple since a good deal of the cleat is still the original color, white. Even though it’s simple, it’s still another great custom from @kreativecustomkicks.

5. @dezcustomz and @kreativecustomkicks for Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers


These cleats were originally custom C1N prototype cleats, but Cam acquired the help of @dezcustomz and @kreativecustomkicks to take them to the next level. The inside heel of the left cleat shows Newton pounding his chest with both hands while the right shows Newton “dabbing,” a hip-hop dance move that has recently made a big splash in the sports world. Only Cam Newton could put his end zone celebrations on his cleats and still have it be cool. Why? Well, he’s Cam newton.

4. @kreativecustomkicks for Mohamed Sanu of the Cincinnati Bengals


Sanu decided to completely disregard all Bengal’s colors, but it’s Christmas, so what the heck. Christmas imagery is featured throughout the cleat along with the pull tab on the back of the cleat, which is painted to look like a candy cane. These Nike Vapor Untouchables were nicknamed the “Ugly Christmas Sweater’s.” The cool thing about the Untouchables is that they utilize Nike’s Flyknit technology. Nike actually uses yarn and other materials to weave the upper so that the cleat is lightweight and snug, also making the nickname even more fitting.

3. @kreativecustomkicks for Mohamed Sanu of the Cincinnati Bengals


I contemplated whether or not to put two of Sanu’s cleats on the list, but they were both too good to keep off. Again, it seems like Sanu decided to forgo the Bengal’s colors. I’d really like to see how much Sanu has paid the NFL in fines this season for his cleats. As you may have guessed, these Nike Vapor Carbon 2014’s are Ironman themed, and the detailing is incredible. @kreativecustomkicks even painted rivets on the gold portions, but the best part, in my opinion, is the swoosh. I mean, look at it, it actually looks like it’s glowing. Just imagine Tony Stark having an arc reactor in his chest shaped like a Nike swoosh instead of a circle.

2. @dezcustomz for Ricky Jean Francois of the Washington Redskins


Most of the cleats on this list have been skill position players, but Ricky Jean Francois came in huge for the big guys. From the lateral portion, these Nike Lunarbeast’s may just look like they’re galaxy themed, but if you look closer at the medial portion, they are actually Star Wars themed! They were inspired by the newest episode, The Force Awakens, and feature both Kylo Ren and Darth Vader, as well as the iconic red lightsaber. Francois will use the force in these cleats as he looks to push back opposing team’s offensive lines. I’m more of a light side kind of guy, but this design is still awesome.

1. @kickasso for Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants


Finally, we have another pair of Nike Vapor Carbon 2014’s, and again, it’s all in the details. The right cleat features the New York City skyline. You can actually see the windows on the buildings, as well as King Kong on the inside of the toe. The left cleat features a green aesthetic that matches the oxidized copper of the Statue of Liberty to a T. The gold accents from the laces and logo make the cleats that much better. Beckham had many other strong customs this year including his Peanuts, Greek Gods, and New Years cleats. Beckham never actually wore these cleats in a game, which may be for the best because these pieces of art need to be preserved.

Let us know which custom cleat was your favorite! [polldaddy poll=”9263063″]