Interview by Nick Engvall (@NickEngvall)
At 6'1" and 245 pounds and covered in tattoos, Patrick Willis is the very definition of intimidating. So it's no surprise he's the defensive leader on the field for the NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers, not to mention in the locker room and on the sidelines. His life experiences have taken him through hard times and back again, but through it all he remains humble and thankful. Despite his ferocious nature on the field, Patrick maintains a great sense of humor off the field, which can be seen in his new commercial with ASICS and Foot Locker. On the day of the commercial launch, I got a chance to talk with Patrick about sneakers, the new partnership, and his love for cars.
First off, congratulations on a big season last season. Being a 49er fan, it’s good to have some excitement back.
My agency CAA came at me and they were discussing doing something. I wasn’t signed with anyone and they came at me with the proposal and it sounded good. I’m a big sneaker person. When they told me what they were trying to do and the route they were going, I was like, “Perfect, I’ll be your guy.” I am just very fortunate that the chose me to work this campaign with them.
The commercial just launched. It’s great, light-hearted and you bring a sense of fun to everything you’ve done off the field. I think the sneaker world needs that type of fun.
Most definitely man. They were telling me that they want to do, colors that run. You know, the campaign is “Stand Out With Colors That Run.” I was like “Colors, hmmm.” I’m a real basic dresser. When it comes to clothes my style is basic but I love my shoes to pop. When I saw some of the shoes– they have some good workout shoes and running shoes. I love to run. I gotta run. It made a lot of sense and the direction they wanted to go in, it’s perfect. I always go into Foot Locker myself and to work with them is truly a blessing to now be inside of Foot Lockers.
As of right now, I’m with ASICS. If I’m training — I can wear different shoes every now and then depending on what I’m doing. If I’m doing any running or training I’m gonna have on my ASICS. They have some other [lifestyle] shoes I really like that you can dress them down or you can dress them up. Hopefully they can get me some of those exclusives and I can rock those.
I know you’ve worn Under Armour and Nike cleats. What will you wear on the field?
They don’t have a cleat so cleat-wise, I’ll still be able to wear whatever cleat I want to wear. Right now we are doing our off season conditioning so I’ll be wearing ASICS. When I go on field for drills and stuff like that, I’ll put on cleats.
Aside from training, when you’re dressed down casual, just kinda chillin’, do you have any favorite sneakers?
I like Vans. I wear Vans from time to time. I wear Jordans every now and then. It depends on the outfit. I’ve got a bunch of shoes so it just depends on how I’m feeling. I’m trying to get ASICS to get me some of those exclusives so when I go out and dress ‘em up or dress ‘em down. You know?
[Laughs] Yeah. So with sneakerheads, they want to know, do you pick the outfit first or the sneakers first?
[Laughs] You know, I’m with ASICS now so it’s going to be all about ASICS. I’ll dress it down from there.
[Laughs] Cool. Let’s switch it up. I’ve seen you got plenty of nice rides. I know you’ve got a love for cars. What’s your favorite ride right now?
My favorite right now is my truck. I have a Ford Raptor truck that I love driving. Then I have an ’07 Chevy that I’m getting some work done to — that should be done, this week, actually. I call that my little flying toy car. Something you can get in and just kind of hot rod and just have some fun in. I’ve got an old school, a 1970 Super Sport Chevelle that I just got out of the paint shop. That’s gonna be fun to drive around in and just be old school in. I just sent my IROC Z28, an ’86 model, back to Tennessee. So when I go back to see my family in Tennessee, that will be the car that I get to drive around when I go back home.
That sounds like a lot of fun. OK, last question, lets bring it back to football. With the new stadium coming soon, are you going to be able to bring one home to close out Candlestick [Park]?
Aw, man. That’s the goal. Everyday. Everyday we work to do something to be a better football team. We want to be a better football team than we were last year and if we do that, there’s no reason why we can’t bring one home.
Sounds good to me! Any last words?
Make sure they know they can catch our new commercial during the [NBA] playoffs and if they don’t see it during the playoffs, they can go to youtube.com/footlocker and see it there.