Deion Sanders, the king of swag, coined the phrase, “If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good.”
Athletes want to come out looking their best every time. Their sneakers play a big part in that image. However, not all shoes are "good to go" during professional sporting events. Most people know that the Air Jordan 1 was called out for being illegal to the NBA, but Michael wasn't only guy to get his wallet dinged for a fashion statement.
This isn't just about taboo colorways, performance shoes have been banned in sports ranging from golf to soccer for crazy reasons (competitive advantage, you're joking right?). So before you get fined, check out the illegal sneaker moments that have costed athletes thousands.
Jared Swedler is a student at Baruch College living in New York City and writing for Sneaker Report. He can be found cheering on the Knicks and hitting vintage stores in the East Village to find throwback gear from the ’90s.
Penny Designs His Own PE
Shoe: Nike Air Foamposite One
Athlete: Penny Hardaway
Even back in 1997, David Stern was the curmudgeon we all know and love. He took one look at the now-iconic Foamposite One, and told Penny that he would be fined unless more black was incorporated into the shoe. Thankfully the design of the shoe was not touched. Hardaway is one of the most creative players ever, and he came up with a solution outside of the box. All he did was take a Sharpie and draw black lines down the grooves, satisfying grumpy old Stern. Good looks Penny.
All White Everything (Almost)
Shoe: Nike Vapor 9 Tour LE
Athlete: Roger Federer
Last year, Federer arrived at Wimbledon suited up in a fresh pair of Vapor 9 Tours. Unfortunately for him, officials but the kibosh on the predominantly white sneaker. Apparently the orange accents on the shoe were too much for them to handle and Federer was told to change. He proceeded to lose the first game without the Vapor 9’s on, once again proving Deion right.
Jones Soldiers on Without His PE
Shoe: Nike Air Swingman MVP
Athlete: Adam Jones
Jones currently has bigger things to worry about than his cleats, leading the Baltimore Orioles to the playoffs and a Game 1 win in the ALDS last night. Back in 2013 however, footwear was probably on his mind. Nike came up with this awesome PE of the Nike Air Swingman MVP, but before Jones could sport them, the league ruled that they were against the dress code. Apparently the camo print was just a little too fly for Bud Selig.
MJ's First Shoe Costs Him
Shoe: Nike Air Jordan I
Athlete: Michael Jordan
This one is stuff of legend. The first installment of the iconic Jordan line were banned from the NBA because they did not meet league uniform rules. Right away, Nike saw a chance to make a splash. They had Michael rock the shoes all season, picking up the tab on the $5,000 fines he was getting every game. Ultimately the publicity the ban generated, Jordan’s otherworldly play, and the brilliant commercial below made the AJ1 a legend.
Athletic Propulsion Labs Had the NBA Sweating
Shoe: APL Concepts
Athletes: Every NBA player not signed with the Swoosh or adidas.
My vertical leap is somewhere between zero and 15 inches, depending on what I've for lunch that day. So when I heard there was a shoe that could make me jump higher, I was all for it. By focusing their efforts on designing technologies near the forefoot, Athletic Propulsion Labs was able to create a shoe that enhances the vertical leap of the wearer. It seems like the NBA was not as keen on the idea as the rest of us were. In 2011, the shoe was officially banned from the NBA because of fears that it would give players an unfair advantage. Does this remind anyone else of that scene in Flubber?
Crabtree Dipped in Gold
Shoe: Jordan BCT Speed Low PE
Athlete: Michael Crabtree
Almost thirty years after Michael Jordan was penalized for rocking the Jordan 1, the fines just keep coming for the brand. During the 2011 season, Michael Crabtree laced up a sick pair of gold and red Jordan cleats, and was promptly fined $10,000. He learned his lesson however, and in the next game he switched back to a more standard red and black colorway.
Ruin Your Golf Course in the Adizero 2014
Shoe: adidas Adizero 2014
Athlete: Ealing Golf Club patrons
It looks like adidas should of done their homework before releasing the newest version of their Adizero golf shoes. Customers are furious as the cleats have been banned by several golf clubs in England, most notably the prominent Ealing Golf Club. The issue is the spikes. They are arranged like a football cleat, which does not distribute the weight of the wearer evenly. As a result, these shoes are ripping through greens all over the UK, leaving monstrous holes in their wake. Maybe next time adidas will field test the cleats before putting them out on the market.
Lynch Shows His Sweet Tooth
Shoe: Nike Vapor Talon Elite
Athlete: Marshawn Lynch
Marshawn Lynch is a character. Between ignoring the media during Super Bowl week and setting up velvet ropes around his car, he can always be counted on to show some personality. Perhaps his most famous trait, other than his unstoppable playoff runs, is his love for Skittles. So during the 2011 season, Nike cooked up this insane PE featuring the bright colored candies. Unfortunately for Lynch, the shoes cost him a cool $10k in fines.
adidas Predator Was LITERALLY a Predator
Shoe: adidas Predator
Athlete: Every adidas soccer player ever.
The Predator is one of the most popular soccer cleats in the world. The shoe has long been worn by superstars like David Beckham and Leo Messi. However, public opinion demanded adidas change the way the boot was manufactured. The cleat used kangaroo hide, which is praised by players for being lightweight and giving them a good feel for the ball. The problem is, thousands of kangaroos were being killed so the shoes could be produced. The first domino dropped in 2007, when California banned the sale of any products made from Kangaroo hide. Then in 2012, wildlife protection agencies won a resounding victory when adidas announced it would no longer manufacture cleats with kangaroo hide for its Premier League stars.
Marshall Does it Twice
Shoe: Nike Zoom Vapor Carbon Fly TD
Athlete: Brandon Marshall
When playing a nationally televised game, athletes want to show up looking fresh. In 2013, Marshall was fined for his efforts. He showed up to a Monday Night game against the Cowboys in bright orange cleats, only to be slapped with a $15,000 fine. It wasn’t even the first time that season he was fined, as he had to pay $10,000 for wearing green shoes earlier that year. Yo Goodell, let the man strut!