Mizuno Enlists Former Pro Will Startup to Customize Cleats for Players Weekend

By Derek Ohringer

Mizuno has played a steady role in on-field MLB gear for years. For Players’ Weekend, they are making a splash with help from former pro Will Startup.  Startup pitched to a 37-8 record and a 3.08 ERA in 8 seasons in the minor leagues with four MLB orgs. He never got a look in the Bigs despite excellent stats, but Will Startup is not a one-trick pony. When his pro baseball career ended, with a little encouragement from his wife, Will took off on pursuing his next dream: to design footwear for the next generation of athletes.

After finishing his degree that he started at the University of Georgia, Will went to Georgia Tech for a masters degree in Industrial Design.  As a designer for Mizuno, he was able to show off his artistic talents for the players.  With spray paint and painters tape, Will was able to add some flash to Mizuno’s cleat line.

Bryan Holaday from the Marlins received this pair of the Mizuno Dominant IC which features orange and black splatters.   Will Startup tells us this technique comes from flicking a toothbrush that is dipped in paint. The Dominant IC can be found on Mizuno’s website.

This pair done for Austin Romine of the Yankees is last year’s Dominant IC (shop this model here).  All of these custom cleats are given two coats of Diamond Shield Protective Coating to avoid any smudges that baseball action would bring.  The last thing any athlete wants is for a layer of paint to smear as they slide in for a double.  Not optimal swag and Startup won’t stand for it.

This gradient design on Mizuno’s new Dominant IC cleats is for Devin Mesoraco of the Mets.  This design actually gets its inspiration from Will’s playing days. A few years back, Will found a pair of Jordan Dominate cleats on eBay, and he painted them himself with a black gradient.  This helped ignite his love for cleats.  Will even wrote for WPW as he dreamed of life after baseball.


This pair of cleats was made for Rockies closer Wade Davis.  The model is the Swagger 2 Mid.  These cleats, along with others, have splattered laces from laceduplaces.com.  I am a huge fan of the splash of color added to these spikes.  It adds some flavor without going over the top.  How do you think pitcher-turned-artist Will Startup, did on these?  Which pair is your favorite?

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