All eyes in the sporting world are on Los Angeles, California, this week for the MLB All-Star Game. When fans hear signature sneakers, they often think of hoopers. However, there are a handful of baseball players that have enjoyed the level of popularity required to earn a signature sneaker line. Below are those transcendent players.
Bo Jackson is one of the great athletes of all time. He could do it all – football, baseball, and sell shoes. That is why Nike released the Nike Air Trainer SC in 1990. Jackson’s kicks still regularly get retro treatment thanks to nostalgia and their timeless appeal.
Sticking with the theme of the greatest athletes of all time, Deion Sanders has to be on that list. Like Bo Jackson, Sanders played in the NFL and MLB (sometimes on the same day). Beginning in 1993, Nike released the Nike Air Diamond Turf, Turf II, and eventually the Air DT Max 4. After his playing days ended, Sanders teamed up with Under Armour.
Although his baseball career was short-lived, Michael Jordan did play professionally during his hiatus from the NBA. When discussing sneakers, the conversation begins and ends with ‘MJ.’ Just two weeks ago, the Air Jordan 37 was officially announced by Nike.
Ken Griffey Jr.
Few, if any, MLB players in the 1990s were more popular than Ken Griffey Jr. The only thing smoother than his silky left-handed swing was his signature sneaker line with Nike. Beginning in 1995, Nike released a litany of shoes in Griffey’s name. Over the past 27 years, fans have gotten the Nike Air Diamond Fury Mid, Air Griffey Max 1, 2, 3, Total Air Griffey Max, Air Griffey Max GD II, Shox Griffey, and Air Griffey Max 360.
Derek Jeter was one of the initial ‘Jordan Brand’ athletes back in the 1990s. It’s no surprise that ‘The Captain’ received the royal treatment. Jeter received his first signature sneaker, the Jordan Jeter DJ, in 2001. By our count, 13 different Jordan Brand sneakers were released in Jeter’s name.
Reebok was a major player in the sneaker world during the 1990s and early 2000s. That is why they enlisted the help of Frank Thomas. The Reebok Big Hurt dropped in 1996. In 2014, Thomas sued Reebok for releasing the shoes again without his approval, according to Yahoo! Sports.
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Kenny Lofton’s speed was legendary. Adding a Swoosh Logo onto his feet only made them appear to move faster. Nike teamed up with Lofton on the Nike Air K-Low in 1996 and followed it up with Air Zoom Diamond in 1997.
You were not a ’90s kid if you did not imitate Hideo Nomo’s windup. The pitching sensation enjoyed global popularity, which is why Nike released the Nike Air Nomo Max and Max 2 in 1996 and 1997 and re-released the sneakers over the years.
Fila also had plenty of credibility in the 1990s, thanks to Grant Hill, Barry Bonds, and Sammy Sosa. In 1999, fans were able to purchase the Fila Sosa after the wild home-run-filled summer that made Sosa and Mark McGuire household names.
Barry Bonds, the home run king*, also had a signature sneaker with Fila. In 2003, the Fila Bonds XT was released to the public.
The best player in baseball has a signature sneaker line. Mike Trout signed with Nike in 2014 and has enjoyed multiple releases, including the Nike Lunar Vapor Trout and the Force Zoom Trout LTD Turf.
Beginning in 2016, Under Armour went all in on Bryce Harper. They have released signature shoes and cleats under Harper’s name thanks to his popularity and unquestionable skill.
New Balance made the wise move of signing one of the game’s most exciting players to a contract. The New Balance ‘Lindor 1’ is available for purchase now. Like the shortstop’s game, his sneaker collection shows no signs of slowing down.
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