Miami artist Marcus Rivero on how Matthews’ custom ‘My Cause My Cleats’ were created

AP PHOTO/NAM Y. HUH

It’s Week 13 in the NFL, marking the return of the league’s “My Cause My Cleats” campaign, which began in 2016. The leaguewide initiative allows players to bypass uniform guidelines and wear customized cleats in support of a charitable cause of their choice. For his cleats, Matthews, a close friend and former college teammate of Kaepernick’s at the University of Nevada, honors his friend’s youth awareness campaign, the Know Your Rights camp.

“I dont have a foundation, so I have chosen to support my brother @kaepernick7 foundation @yourrightscamp for #MyCauseMyCleats,” Matthews wrote on Instagram, where he debuted the cleats on Wednesday. “He has paid the ultimate sacrifice in order to bring true everyday issues to light. Please follow the page & go to the website to learn more. We Should ALL Know Our Rights & Be Able to Express Them Freely.”

The cleats were designed by Miami artist Marcus Rivero, aka SolesBySir, who’s been customizing shoes for football players for the past five years, with an NFL clientele that includes Drew BreesPhilip RiversJoe FlaccoTom BradyJ.J. WattDeSean JacksonTerrell SuggsJalen Ramsey and more. Before Matthews takes the field against the Texans, The Undefeated caught up with Rivero, who detailed the design process of the shoes, from the wide receiver’s mind to the artist’s final brushstroke.


How did the idea for Matthews’ Kaepernick cleats come about?

Rishard and I have been working together all season. Our first pair was very calm because it was Rishard’s first time doing customs. As the weeks progressed, a lot of current events were coming up and he wanted to take stances. With My Cause My Cleats coming about, he basically told me … ‘I want to stand with Kaep.’ There’s been a bond there since the beginning. I was like, ‘OK …’ We went back and forth, and believe it or not, this was a hard design to do.

What made it hard to execute?

We didn’t know whether we wanted to color the cleats. Whether we wanted to do all-black, all-white, gold. Rishard thought about it, slept on it. And last minute, he said, ‘You know what? Let’s just keep it simple, black and white.’ So my job as an artist is just basically to take what people give you — so, with Rishard, black and white — and make it a loud message, which is difficult. If you’re working with neon green, neon yellow, you can play to your advantage. But when you’re working with black and white, which is the standard color for all cleats issued, it’s hard.

I told Rishard he needs 100 yards and at least a touchdown. Because that’s what the shoes deserve.

What was Rishard truly looking for?

The first thing I said was, ‘Rishard, I want to go one and one. Let’s make each cleat not look like the other.’ He loved the idea. He sent me over the logos of the Know Your Rights Camp, so I put it on both outsides of the shoe. On the inside of his right shoe, it says ‘Know Your’ and on the opposite shoe, it says, ‘Rights Camp.’ So if you put your heels together, and open them up like a V, somebody in front of you can read the opposite of what you’re reading.

I still wanted to add something. He goes, ‘Let’s put Kaep’s name, and some sort of logo.’ We kept bouncing ideas back and forth. One was a fist, like Tommie Smith and John Carlos. I just did a cleat for DeSean Jackson with a brotherhood-type theme, and we used a fist. So I really didn’t want to do it again. I wanted to stand on our own on this. Literally, Rishard and I are FaceTiming. And sure enough we’re Googling images, and then the idea hit us, like, ‘Oh, let’s do Kaepernick on a knee and use his Afro as a fist.’

Was it hard to draw the image of Kaepernick kneeling with his Afro as a fist?

It wasn’t so much. I have a Microsoft Surface Pro that I use to make designs. Then I turn them into a stencil, which helps me out. Unfortunately, I can’t hand-draw every letter. We have to do a lot stencilling so that I can lay down the stencil, spray and then peel it off, just timingwise. With the Surface Pro that I’ve been using, it’s generally been like a walk in the park for me. The Kaepernick logo has a lot of detail, but at the same time it doesn’t. It’s very simple. It’s a cool logo.

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  • Teamed up with the @miamidolphins recently to make these custom “Old School - New School” 1of1’s for YOU. .
Yes, for you, well you have to vote, but one lucky winner is going to walk away with these cleats. Check out the link in their bio for your chance to win. .
#SolesBySir #1of1 #customCleats #MiamiDolphins #custom #oldSchool #NewSchool #freeCustoms #Mia #FinsUp #72 #73 #FightSong #HomeTeam #DolphinsXSolesBySir
  • It was only right I put both of my dude’s,  @jamartaylor_sd  Bronco logos on his cleats this past weekend. He started his career at @boisestatefootball and now is a member of the Denver @broncos . .
I’m very thankful for guys like Jamar, he was one of my year one guys. A small group of individuals that believed in me before anyone in the league knew my name or my logo. Those guys are what helped me get to this, my 6th nfl season. So thank you brother, I can never repay all you have helped me accomplish. ...
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#SolesBySir #1of1 #customCleats #Boise #Broncos #Denver #JamarTaylor #TrustGod #yearOne #customs #newTeam #Loyalty #gameCleats
  • Here’s a random fact about me, I lived in Cleveland, OH for a year while I attended @cwru . (It was for the weather, lol)
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So the @clevelandbrowns hold a special place in my heart. For the past 3 seasons I have been able to work with them and create magic for all of their athletes, which has been a blessing beyond words. .
While I was at this weekend’s Miami Miracle game, the Spanish voice of the Browns, @elalcalderafa sent us this amazing video (thank you again señor) How crazy is this? .
THANK YOU AGAIN @nfl for allowing this amazing campaign, #MyCauseMyCleats to take place and for standing behind me and my artwork. ...
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#SolesBySir #1of1 #customCleats #Cleveland #Browns #DawgPound #thankful #DukeJohnson #MiamiToCleveland #seeYouSoonCleveland
  • But have you seen my cleats??????? - @merci380 .
I love getting photos like this. It makes me realize that genuinely anything is possible. To think just 6 years ago this wasn’t the norm, the league didn’t approve of this, heck there wasn’t even rules against it, but now it’s embraced. The @nfl allows this. Sometimes that sentence takes me on a ride. Goosebumps...... .
Nothing will ever be impossible. It just hasn’t been done yet. Whatever that “thing” is for you, no matter how long the road, no matter how big of a crowd of naysayers, no matter what science says against it, just TRY. When you fail, keep TRYING. Even if you never succeed, take happiness in that you gave it your all and that one day someone will continue your efforts and figure it out and it all started with you. .
But for the lucky few of you that get to see your dream-passion-experiment- crazy adventure turn into reality and get to live the success story, remember, always reach back, and help someone else who is struggling like you once did. That’s where the true magic happens. ...
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  • MyCauseMyCleats
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@deonbush2 .
Crazy to think it wasn’t that long ago I decided to coach freshman football for a year to show appreciation for my ama mater for all it did for me @columbushs_miami . I had the opportunity to coach this very special man @deonbush2 , and man was he good. So happy to see him doing amazing things at the pro level, not to mention rocking some 1of1’s and joining the fam. Adelante.
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#SolesBySir #1of1 #customCleats #MyCauseMyCleats #DeonBush #Chicago #Bears #DaBears #SoldierField #Highschool #Green #gameCleats #Bush #CCHS #Explorers #ExplorerPride
  • Still can’t believe what I witnessed yesterday. One of the best finishes of ALL TIME. But the best part was the @patriots fans that were talking crap being silenced......... no better feeling. .
Prior to the game I had the opportunity to meet one of this year’s #MyCauseMyCleats members of the @miamidolphins , @lastname_baker . What a genuine great dude. ...
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#SolesBySir #1of1 #customCleats #Miami #Dolphins. #Mia #JeromeBaker #BoysAndGirlsClub #Customs #MoreThanCleats #homeTeam #MiamiMiracle #SpeechlessPatriots
  • MyCauseMyCleats
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@mathieu_era .
A little last minute project to make sure Tyrann had something unique to wear this weekend. I went with a shoe based on his foundation, the Tyrann Mathieu Foundation , while going with a honey badger theme on the other one. A little mismatched art never hurt anyone.
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#SolesBySir #1of1 #customCleats #MyCauseMyCleats #TyrannMathieu #Houston #Texans #Hou #HoneyBadger #moreThanCleats #art #MyversionOf #ArtBasel #love #thankful
  • Dear @nfl ,

I want to nominate @last_king_2 ‘s cleats to be taken to The Hall of Fame. .
4 TOUCHDOWNS...
a 99 yard BEAST run...
designed by AMAZING  members of the @specialolympicstn family. 
MyCauseMyCleats
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I was BLESSED to have the opportunity to convert their vision into reality for tonight’s game, and I like thousands of others are speechless with his performance. .
Thanks in advance,
SolesBySir
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#SolesBySir #1of1 #customCleats #DerrickHenry #Tennessee #Titans #TitanUp #DHenry #Heisman #HallOfFame #SpecialOlympics #mustBeTheCustoms #Jk #maybeALittle #SecretSauceInThePaint #TNF #MyCauseMyCleats
  • MyCauseMyCleats
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@ty_kingdomcitizen .
This year Ty wanted to go with My Ten Percent foundation, an organization that focuses on supporting and empowering our forgotten youth. He told me he wanted it to be BRIGHT, so I went with a couple not so subtle colors as a background. Just wanted to bring as much attention to his cleats as possible. ...
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#SolesBySir #1of1 #customCleats #TyMontgomery #Baltimore #Ravens #myCauseMyCleats #thankful #blessed #Colorful #MyTenPercent #MoreThanCleats

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