Bryce Harper started this season in a gold Harper One cleat, his first signature model from Under Armour. But when you upgrade gold, you do it to platinum, the latest design that Harper will unveil for the All-Star Game in San Diego.
While Harper’s signature style has adorned his feet since the spring, July 11 marks the first time the cleat will go on sale, in both the gold and platinum designs. And expect plenty more to follow.
After playing with the precious medals, Under Armour designer Josh Rattet tells SI.com it was time for a little neon, with an Aug. 1 release of a neon sunrise color “paying tribute to a mountain he used to visit with his dad in Las Vegas.”
That August release will also offer up two more colorways inspired by the fancy cars in Harper’s collection: an all-white version that ties to a tricked-out Mercedes (and when he dyed his hair white) and an all-black to commemorate his Camaro.
While colors tell a Harper-led story, Rattet used designs to build on that theme, a part of the process that Harper fully engaged. A southerwestern styling with chevrons tie to his roots in the Las Vegas desert, the skyline of Vegas plays subtly on the medial side of the cleat, and the mountain tops across the support strap tie to Vegas. Of course, the Harper signature comes on the tongue and his personal logo appears on the back left heel.
“Kids are asking for newness and freshness and you see things in American football translating into American baseball,” Rattet says of the elevating of design for baseball cleats. “They want a little bit of bling, a little bit of style. He’s the perfect icon to do this with. He has that young, fearless swagger.”
On a technology side, the Harper One includes the support strap around the ankle. “You don’t see a ton of straps in baseball, but it was really important to him,” Rattet says. “he played around with it in different places, but he felt most locked in up by the ankle.” The cleat also has an internal bootie and Under Armour’s Charged cushioning in the midsole.
Harper represents one of just two baseball athletes with a signature cleat—Mike Trout has a signature —and the franchise is only growing for the Under Armour athlete just a few miles from the company’s headquarters in Baltimore. Rattet says that along with the gold, platinum, neon, white and black, they expect to launch two more team-based colors in December and will build both youth-sized cleats and create graphic T-shirts and potentially signature gloves. “Those are conversations we are having now about building a franchise around Harper,” he says. “Authenticate it with the cleat first and give us some momentum. He definitely has that appeal to cross into lifestyle.”
Whether gold, neon or platinum, Under Armour wants to help Harper indeed make baseball fun again.
Tim Newcomb covers sports aesthetics—stadiums to sneakers—and training for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.