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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  • Had the amazing opportunity to make some cool family inspired customs for @therealbcraw35 . I also was able to make his wife @jalynnecrawford a couple cool glitter pairs.

#SolesBySir #1of1 #customCleats #BrandonCrawford
  • Wouldn’t miss this for the world.

When you’re a C-A-N-E, your blood is ALWAYS orange and green.

Thanks to my dude @warrensapp for the amazing seats fam.

#SolesBySir #1of1 #customKicks #Canes
  • My fellow @columbushs_miami alum, @showtimealmonte rocking his 1of1’s for @mlb Players Weekend.

He wanted to pay tribute to his roots in Allapatah and the Phantoms, which is his father youth baseball team. To make it even more meaningful, we added all of the little leaguers names on there.

#SolesBySir #1of1 #customCleats #YencyAlmonte #adelante
  • Check out this video showcasing how “La Piedra” Luis Castillo and I made some cool 1of1 cleats for MLB’s players weekend.

Video via @LasMayores
  • Here’s one for all my Colombian followers.

Please help me welcome @urshela10 to the 1of1 familia.

We went with the Colombian flag on one shoe, while then going with the Cartagena flag on the other while sprinkling in some names of some family members.

#SolesBySir #1of1 #customCleats #GioUrshela
  • When @yunitogurriel and I were game planning this pair, he gave me free reign to do me. He wanted to make sure the the two logos of the teams he played for in Cuba made it on there.

So i started spraying and decided it was only right to use the 3D diamond pattern in the back of the cleat to make a cool textured Piña (pineapple), since he goes by “Piña Power”. When I say this year’s #PlayersWeekend cleats are going to be Wild, I’m probably under selling it.

#SolesBySir #1of1 #customCleats #LourdesGurriel
  • I’m honored to welcome “MR. 91” aka @vladdyjr27 to the 1of1 family.

Was a big fan of his dad @supervlad27 growing up so to be able to collab on a couple pairs this weekend, was super cool.

Im predicting 2 HOMERUNS these weekend.

#SolesBySir #1of1 #customCleats #VladimirGuerreroJr
  • 2 Days.

It’s great to be a MIAMI HURRICANE.

Just wrapped these bad boys up for my dude and fellow Alum @warrensapp.

#SolesBySir #1of1 #customKicks #WarenSapp
  • Cali kid vibes for my dude AND this year’s @mlb ALL STAR MVP, @shane_bieber.

Best part is, his players weekend nickname is “Not Justin” hahahaha.

#SolesBySir #1of1 #customCleats #ShaneBieber

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