New Balance put together not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, but 5, I repeat 5 customs for David Ortiz’ final five series. They are all meant to pay respect to each AL East city in which he’s played so many games and broken so many hearts. Jon Grondin, New Balance’s creative lead, explains the meanings of each cleat for us in a blog post he wrote on the NB site.
“…it is hard to ignore the uniquely high population of hammerheads in Tampa Bay – sharks also happen to be grey. Big Papi is truly unique and every game he’s hunting for a ball to put in the stands. The icon in the heel is a hammerhead and the text reads ORTIZ.”
“A Yellow Taxi Cab will eternally be a New York City icon. Some of the details from the 2007 New Balance 480 Taxi Cab (a lifestyle shoe) made their way to the 4040v3 that Ortiz will wear on his last stop in the Big Apple. Overall, the cleat is predominately yellow. It’s popped with black and checkerboard details and the spikes are electroplated in metallic silver to represent the chrome bumpers from classic taxis. There are two unique features on the cleat: one is a taxi cab topper signaling that Ortiz is “on duty” and the other is a heel icon inspired by the 2016 taxi cab medallion.”
“If you’ve had the luxury of eating crabs in Maryland you know how much of a ritual it is. It starts with laying newspaper across your table. So, I wrapped the cleat in newspaper articles about Ortiz. I added a photo – a real steamed crab on the top of each foot with a drop shadow to try and make it look as much like a real crab resting on his foot as possible.”
“The colors of the Toronto flag are royal blue and white with a red maple leaf on it so the cleat unitizes the same colors and percentage as the flag with a red “34” maple leaf on the heel. Toronto has an iconic skyline so that was added to the medial side of each cleat.”
THE FINAL WALK-OFF
“This cleat is super clean and crispy white just like David wanted at our first meeting. There is no black (team color) on it but since it’s his last game we figured it was worth the risk and the perfect time to give him exactly what he asked for two years ago. This cleat is 100% in commemoration of all his ‘walk offs.'”