Yesterday we featured an exclusive interview with the aforementioned Mache275, as he detailed the experience of working specifically with the Nebraska Cornhuskers during this venture. Today, we’ll highlight Miami alumni SolesBySir as he provides unprecedented work for the ‘Canes as they are set to hit the field in over 100 different custom models created by the talented Miami native.
To see for yourself, scroll through the page below to enjoy.
Nice Kicks: First off, how surreal of an opportunity is this for you to create custom cleats for the Miami Hurricanes within this storied rivalry?
SolesBySir: It’s crazy, Pierce. To be able to create over 100 paris of cleats for the guys on the team has been surreal. We’ve spoken over the past year and to be able to go from a cardboard box, to a handful of guys, to a quarter of the league and now being able to work with a great brand like adidas – then to be able to do it for my alma mater, is just the icing on the cake for me.
Nice Kicks: Usually when you’re working with NFL players, you’ll have a selected amount of cleats that you’ll have to create. However, with this endeavor, you’re making custom cleats for an entire team. How has the process been with such a large amount?
SolesBySir: It’s been a learning curve to be honest with you. The experience has been sort of hectic at times, but I’m super lucky to be apart of the game. It’s been over a hundred pair of cleats and the thing with me is that i’m more of a “1-of-1” guy, but working with this project and adidas, i was able to make every cleat an “individual cleat”, while keeping a common theme and building off of the notion of family.
Nice Kicks: What was the inspiration process behind creating these custom cleats?
SolesBySir: I kind of had to sit there and think for a second because I went to The U, but I wanted to refrain from using the sayings that you’ve always heard. We’re trying to turn the corner here as a program, and I wanted to show that. So within my creation process I utilized a pattern motif, were it’s almost like a “shedding skin”. We want to make a stamp in the tradition of The U. Adidas has signed on for twelve years and I hope to be apart of something special for the duration of that. This project will signify how well we respect our history and where we came from but evolve into something new.
Nice Kicks: You spoke on bringing that swagger back to the University of Miami, where there any specific players that you had in mind that could be the perfect muse to bring that ideal back?
SolesBySir: That’s the cool part about this project, we had all of the players create a tribute and let us know why they wanted to com to The U. You had a ton of guys state “Sean Taylor is the reason why I came to The U” or “Ray Lewis made me come to The U” or “Ed Reed”. I was able to take one cleat, I believe the right foot, and I would paint “Thank You Ray Lewis”, for instance. Just because the idea is “shedding” and turning a corner, we refuse to forget our history and its important to show that when you graduate from The U; you are The U.
Nice Kicks: How in-depth were the players’ input on the custom cleats?
SolesBySir: What we had them do was to give three sayings that describes them. Some of them placed the word family, or Georgia-born, or Rest in Peace messages – just different things. I wanted to make the left shoe of each model specifically for the players. You’ll see their last name, The Miami Hurricanes logo and something about them. Some have placed “From Nothin’ To Somethin’”, others placed “Exit 1”, meaning where they came from in Florida. Everything is utilized to represent them. The funny thing is that you’d think 103 players are different but there are so many similarities and they’re all positive.
Nice Kicks: Were there any distinct cultural cues from the city of Miami itself, that you utilized within this project?
SolesBySir: 100%. The thing with Miami is that we are not very subtle. We are loud. We do it big, and everything about this city screams “loud”. From Ocean Drive to Downtown, we don’t blend in. And no disrespect to any other portions of the state, but this is not “Middle America”. You come here to vacation and party – & we live here. We’re proud of where we come from. So when we walk onto a field, we want you to know where we’re from and to never forget it. So I wanted the cleats to reflect that by not “blending in”. You’ll know that Brad Kaaya and the rest of the ‘Canes has a custom pair of cleats on, no matter what point in time you tune-in. I hope when people see the work, they’ll know this is The U.
Nice Kicks: How did you attack creating so many cleats in this short amount of time?
SolesBySir: The NFL guys will ship you ten to twenty pairs of cleats at a time. Which is overwhelming on its own, but I remember when adidas sent me the first batch and it was over 80 pairs of cleats. I had an entire wall of black blocks with three stripes. It was definitely hard and overwhelming at first, to be quite honest. At the beginning, I took them one cleat at time because I wanted to make sure that I was in love with the design. I must’ve done five pairs until I became comfortable. It’s funny because I actually went to my mom and asked her: “what cleats screams “Miami”?” and after showing her the final product that I had in mind, and getting her approval – It was a go! After that, I would knock out 20 to 25 pairs at a time.
Nice Kicks: What has been a more liberating process for you so far in your career: Working with NFL players or College Institutions such as the University of Miami?
SolesBySir: It’s definitely college, because the thing about this is that there are a lot of guys that will never be able to player professional football, that’s just reality when it comes to college sports. It’s the guys like the third-string kicker or the fourth-string offensive tackle, that kept me inspired. Some guys have never seen a custom shoe, and this may ultimately become a trophy for them. Five years down the line when they are a lawyer or a doctor, they’ll be able to look back and remember that moment and that specific game.
Nice Kicks: Lastly, within your career, what has been more fulfilling: Seeing all of these Miami guys in your custom creations or seeing Marshwan Lynch prior to Super Bowl XLIX in your all-gold cleats?
SolesBySir: Man! You’re pushing it! It’s kind of like a parent picking children, you love them both in different ways, but both equally the same, ya’ know? Marshawn certainly pushed me to another level and really allowed me to reach additional media outlets. However, I feel as though this whole endeavor with UM will certainly create future opportunities and propel myself, adidas and The University of Miami up a few notches. Not to mention how much this could help in regards to recruiting. If I can help pull in one guy through creating custom cleats for the school, then that’s one step closer to my school getting another national championship.