On Monday, February 22, New Balance officially unveiled New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor’s first signature shoe, the Lindor 1. In addition to the cleat and trainer, the collection also includes apparel and a headband.
The Lindor 1 features a floral pattern inspired by the Flor de Maga, the national flower of Lindor’s native Puerto Rico. Its most prominent design elements are its two straps, one across the mid-foot to provide lateral support and the other a first-of-its-kind detachable ankle strap, providing additional versatility and allowing the wearer to customize their style.
Both the cleat and trainer feature a woven FitWeave upper to provide breathability. The trainer uses Fresh Foam cushioning (the same as with New Balance’s 3000 line of cleats) and a rubber sole, while the cleat uses a full-length FuelCell midsole (which New Balance describes as their highest energy return foam) and a composite cleat plate.
Francisco Lindor receiving his own signature shoe is a great development for the sport. He is a generational talent now playing in the largest market on a team entering the new season with a lot of excitement. He plays the game with undeniable joy and charisma, and his style recalls the flair of the 90s while being firmly rooted in the present. His initial signature offering is a positive step in helping reestablish baseball’s mainstream cool factor.
Ever since they reentered the baseball market about a decade ago, New Balance has applied technology and principles from their running line to create a consistently top-notch performance product. I expect that this cleat will be no different. While I cannot speak to the performance of FuelCell, Fresh Foam performs amazingly well on the baseball diamond, so I would expect that this would be a step up.
From a design perspective, prominent mid-foot straps are nothing new (see the Trout 6s), but what I really appreciate is the use of pattern. New Balance chose subtle design lines and added personality through homage to the island of Lindor’s upbringing. Brands have incorporated various patterns into their offerings before, but this may be the first instance where the pattern is the design, rather than simply being an element of it. This is the kind of cleat that begs to be worn with high socks so you can show it off.
So, would I wear the trainer casually, as New Balance’s website suggests? Probably not. But I would wear them in the gym or for running errands. The design is pretty straightforward, and while it may look good on the diamond, I’m not sure if the crossover appeal is there just yet. Perhaps they may pick up some interest if New Balance can get one of their athletes like Kawhi Leonard (see Kawhi’s WPW locker) to wear them. Overall, the Lindor 1 is an exciting development for the promotion of baseball and a fitting honor for an exciting talent.
View the collection here.