No matter what happens on the field tomorrow, the Miami vs. Nebraska game will make history. For the first time in NCAA history, every single player on the field (and bench for that matter) will be wearing individually customized cleats hand painted by an artist.
Nebraska’s shoes will be pretty simple. The main difference between each player’s shoes will be that their individual numbers will be featured. The Hurricanes’ cleats, naturally, will be a lot more complex and personalized.
Marcus Rivero, a Hialeah tire shop owner and 2005 graduate of UM who has amazingly become the go-to artist for custom kicks among athletes, will be handling Miami’s shows. According to the Associated Press, the designs will resemble, “a snake’s skin peeling off because Rivero wanted to symbolize the evolution of the program.”
But to really personalize the shoes, Rivero asked each player which former Hurricane truly inspired them. That player’s name will be featured on the inside of the right shoe. Popular choices included Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Vince Wilfork, and Sean Taylor.
Rivero also asked each player what they’d like to see on the shoe if they were designing it themselves. That feature is painted on the other shoe and includes hashtags like “#BeGreat” and things like “I Love You Mom.”
Rivero started out creating custom kicks for fun and occasional commissions a few years ago, but then Miami Dolphin player Nolan Carroll came across a photo of his work on Instagram and asked for a pair. Since then the trend has caught on among NFL players, and Rivero says he’s created shoes for more than 350 NFL players. In fact, six players wore his eye-popping designs during last year’s Super Bowl.