New Balance's rise in the world of baseball has been nothing short of spectacular.
In 2009, the company had zero endorsements from professional baseball players. Now, New Balance boasts a roster that's hundreds of MLB players strong, including stars such as Robinson Cano, Xander Bogaerts and Jose Altuve.
New Balance's rapid ascension can be attributed to ridiculously comfortable baseball cleats that perform remarkably well. Their latest model, the 3000v3, was released on Aug. 1. The company claims it's their most comfortable cleat yet, giving players "the feel of a running shoe on spikes" and allowing them to worry less about their feet and more about the game. But what makes the 3000v3 especially noteworthy is that it's New Balance's first fully customizable baseball cleat.
"The NB1 3000v3 allows baseball players to build custom-designed cleats to express their creativity and individuality while performing at the top of their game," the company said in a press release. But other brands have been offering customizable cleats for years now. What makes New Balance's different?
For one, the possibilities. The NB1 3000v3 features 16 different areas to customize and a wide array of colors to choose from. Those options combine to give consumers roughly 35 billion possible combinations, virtually guaranteeing that every NB1 3000v3 cleat will be unique.
In addition to the 16 customizable areas, players can also add embroidery to the heel and inside the tongue. Custom slogans or phrases inside the tongue is something New Balance has done for their pro players for years, and they're excited to finally offer that feature to the masses.
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"[New York Mets centerfielder] Curtis Granderson said he always used to write stuff on the inside brim of his hat just to remind him of things. He used to write 'Don't Think, Have Fun' with a Sharpie, all scribbled out. So we started putting things like that inside his shoe, and he just loved it," says Jonathan Grondin, Design Manager for New Balance's Field of Play division. "It's about being able to give players exactly what they want."
"It's something no one else on the field will ever see, it's your own personal message. Some of our MLB players put their family members, their kids, dogs, pets, somebody or something that's really special to them inside their shoe so they know it's always there," says Dave Millman, Strategic Business Unit Manager at New Balance Baseball.
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In addition to the color and embroidery options, players can choose from midcut or lowcut styles and whether they want molded or metal spikes. "I believe that if you think it looks good, and you feel good wearing it, it will definitely help your performance," Bogaerts says. Bogaerts can often be seen wearing a custom pair of 3000v3s that sport his "X-Man" nickname inside the tongue.
You might think that all these custom options would lead to extensive production time, but New Balance promises an industry-leading turnaround for the NB1 3000v3. Since the cleats are made in their Lawrence, Massachusetts manufacturing facility, customers inside the United States can expect to receive their custom designed cleats in two weeks or less.
New Balance says that new colors and materials will also become available on a seasonal basis. The NB1 3000v3s start at $145 and are available now at NewBalance.com.