One of the many highlights of the Little League World Series in Williamsport is a collaboration between the World Series and Major League Baseball, where two MLB teams play in the tiny Pennsylvania town and give kids a personal look at the big leagues. With that event in the books and championship weekend coming up for the little leaguers, however, the two baseball entities have one more collaboration in mind.
Adidas, which makes the uniforms and cleats for the annual event, created a Maker’s Lab in the LLWS play lounge to let them customize gear and come up with ideas. And the results are cleats designed specifically for Major League Baseball’s Player’s Weekend, which takes place from August 23-25. Players can wear special jerseys with nicknames and hashtags on them, and unique footwear to boot.
Aaron Judge, Kiké Hernandez, Justin Turner, A.J. Pollack, Liam Hendriks, Joe Kelly, Kolten Wong and Ross Stripling will all wear special cleats this weekend, and each athlete had a special theme to their designs. Judge used the “unity” theme and has cleats that feature the signatures of all 216 players in the Little League World Series.
The shoes all lack the polish you might expect from adidas colorways, but using the shoe as a rough guide for kids to draw on makes these extremely charming. Most of the designs are centered around where the team or player is from. Turner is from L.A., and the squad from Mexico embraced the area’s rich Mexican heritage that by adding designs around a sombrero. Liam Hendriks is from Australia, and the Australian team went all-out for his shoe, including an Australian flag, chants you’ll hear at sporting events and even a drawing of (I believe) a koala.
It’s a really cool idea to give kids the chance to customize shoes, and it’s great that players are willing to wear what’s essentially white cleats with Sharpie on them and trust kids to come up with something fun. Because that’s what baseball’s supposed to be, right?