In a perfect world, every NFL player would have his own signature cleat. Unfortunately, we don't live in such a place. Since Nike took over as official sponsor, we've gotten our fair share of cleats like the Vapor Talon Elite. Despite its superior performance and sweet design, seeing 32 variations (naturally, each team his its own colorway) of the same shoe gets real old, real quick. While we agree that it may not be feasible to give every player a custom show, the following 25 NFL superstars certainly deserve some custom kicks.
RELATED: The 10 Most Important Gear Innovations in Football History
RELATED: The 10 Healthiest Beers for Tallgating
No. 25 - Troy Polamalu
He’s got the hair, the Samoan pride and the relentless will on the field. If Polamalu can sell shampoo, he can sell shoes. Polamalu is already signed to Nike so it’d be nothing for The Swoosh to come up with a USC Trojan/Pittsburgh Steeler inspired shoe and his logo has to have the hair of course!
No. 24 - Ndamukong Suh
Suh is already signed to Nike and he’s an absolute beast. Every kid that plays the interior line offense or defense would be in line to buy a pair of “Nike Air Swoosh Suh’s”. Marvel Comics Beast character is the perfect theme for Suh’s shoe. Both Beast and Suh were very intelligent (Suh had over a 3.0 GPA in college) Beast is blue and so are the Lions. This shoe would look awesome.
No. 23 - Jared Allen
He’s got a mullet and he’s one of the leagues best sack artist. Every quirky country defensive football player in America would buy his shoe. The shoe would be called the Country Viking and would embody everything about the Vikings and Allen’s Idaho roots.
No. 22 - Greg Jennings
Jennings is one of the premiere wide receivers in the leagues. Over the last few years, no player has had more sure hands than the Packers’ top wideout. Surely, this calls for a signature cleat for No. 85.
No. 21 - Reggie Bush
He burst on the scene and every expected big things but they never came. His name still carries weight with kids and now he’s finally carrying his weight on his football team shoe an adidas Reggie Bush cleat would move units. Bush hails from San Diego and often wears 619 (San Diego area code) on his eye black during games. Several other great running backs like Marcus Allen and Terrell Davis have hailed from San Diego. The logo could be an evolution of Allen and Davis into Bush.
No. 20 - Eli Manning
Manning currently signed to Reebok. Two-time Super Bowl champion, finally emerged out of his older brother’s shadow. He plays in New York, it’s a no brainer that Eli deserves a shoe. The shoe could tell a great story of toughness and durability because that’s exactly what Eli is all about.
No. 19 - Ray Lewis
Ray Lewis is a better hypeman the Flava Flav and one of the best linebackers to ever play the game. The shoe could be a dud, but if Lewis did the voiceover for the commercial, he’d influence millions to cop the shoe! The shoe has to have as many famous quotes that Lewis has ever said. It would be the most motivational shoe ever.
No. 18 - Charles Woodson
Woodson is signed to Team Jordan. The only defensive player to ever win a Heisman Trophy is still around and kicking in the league today. Even though he already has his custom edition Jordan Super.Fly cleats, we thing Woodson definitely deserves his very own signature shoe.
No. 17 - Tom Brady
Brady is currently signed to Under Armour. Why wouldn’t you buy Tom Brady’s shoe? He was a 6th round draft pick that made it, he’s won three super bowls, his wife is hot — Brady is the American Dream. The shoe would have to have an Independence Day feel to it with Brady playing for the Patriots and having the nickname “Captain America”.
No. 16 - Larry Fitzgerald
Fitz is currently signed to Nike. If the best WR in the game can’t sell a signature trainer/cleat then there is no hope for anyone. Fitzgerald grew up in Minnesota as a ball boy for the Minnesota Vikigns and has known Vikings legends Chris Carter and Randy Moss since he was young. The shoe could tell a great story about Fitzgerald, who plays for the Arizona Cardinals in Phoenix — ascended to his destiny like the rising Phoenix to be a NFL WR.
No. 15 - Clay Matthews
Matthews has it all. The NFL lineage (his dad and uncle played over 15 years in the NFL), he plays for the Packers, he’s already signed to Nike, he’s a sackmaster and his hair makes him look like Thor on the football field. His shoes would sell easily.
No. 14 - Andrew Luck
The Future of the NFL is already signed to Nike. There has never been a QB more prepared to play as a rookie than Luck. A smart kid with brains and a dry sense of humor ala Peyton Manning, who can sell anything! The shoe’s would have to be the lightest on the market, not because Luck is fleet of feet, but because of his “no pressure” approach he takes to replacing one of the greatest QBs of all-time in Peyton Manning.
No. 13 - James Harrison
The NFL’s resident hitman. There’s money to be made in a signature shoe off of Harrison’s image. Harrision’s shoe would tell a great story because Harrison was cut four times by the Steelers before they signed him. It would be a great story of perseverance and fight that everyone in the Steel City could relate too.
No. 12 - Chris Johnson
He’s fallen off recently, but he’s a Florida boy and say what you want about Texas and California, but the best high school football athletes are coming out of Florida. Where most brands would shy away from Johnson’s dreadlocks and gold teeth, he’s signed to Nike. Now all Nike needs to do is give him his own shoe, because the kids in Florida all virtually look like CJ2K, come from a similar background and want to get to where he is today.
No. 11 - Calvin Johnson
He’s already signed to Nike. Just think…. The Swoosh logo + Calvin Johnson’s shoe logo = Nike selling trainer/cleats faster than email. The shoe would have to have the sliver highlights that both the Detroit Lions and Megatron share and of course, the Megatron logo.
No. 10 - Julius Peppers
Easily the best athlete in the NFL. Every young high school defensive lineman that aspired to be somebody would cop Peppers’ kicks if they existed. The shoes could have a DC Comics feel to them since Peppers is the human Incredible Hulk.
No. 9 - Patrick Peterson
Peterson is currently signed to Nike. He’s one major ego away from being the next Deion Sanders and even if that never happens, if he had his own shoe people would still buy it. The shoe could be all about “Power of Patrick = P2”. It’s also got to tell the story about him setting the record for most kick off returns for touchdowns as a rookie tying only the great Devin Hester.
No. 8 - Michael Vick
Vick is currently signed to Nike. He may not be the best NFL quarterback, but he’s the most exciting. Vick’s story of turning his huge mistake into a remarkable comeback is very relatable for most of America. Vick’s shoe would tell a great story of perseverance. Parents would have no problem buying their kids a shoe from this man who was up, down and found a way to get back up.
No. 7 - Devin Hester
The baddest man with a football in his hand. Devin Hester is arguably the most exciting player to watch in the NFL and it makes all the sense in the world for this man to have a signature shoe. Hester plays in the same city as Michael Jordan, so his shoe would have to resemble the Air Jordan 10’s in a Chicago Bears color way with all of Hester’s return records on the bottom.
No. 6 - Darrelle Revis
Revis is currently signed to Nik. He’s the best cornerback in the league. He plays for the most controversial team in the league in the country’s biggest media market. There’s no reason he shouldn’t have his own signature shoe. The possibilities for a Revis shoe are endless, but it has to have a strap because Revis is all about lockdown coverage.
No. 5 - DeSean Jackson
Jackson is currently signed to Nike. D-Jax gives hope to every skinny punk kid with no meat on his bones but enough pure speed to prove all of his doubters wrong and make it to the league. It’s not easy to relate to the 6’4” 220 lbs. wide receiver, but it’s very easy to relate to the 5’9” 168 lbs. wide receiver though. A shoe for Jackson would definitely have to be a low top shoe with track wings that could double as Eagles wings.
No. 4 - Victor Cruz
Cruz is currently signed to Nike. This guy is a something from nothing undrafted free agent. He plays in the largest media market and for the Super Bowl champion and his touchdown dance is known worldwide. Shoe this man up please! With Cruz’s Puerto Rican background, the Puerto Rican flag having the same colors as the New York Giants, a shoe for Cruz would look great!
No. 3 - Adrian Peterson
He’s been the best running back in the league since he stepped on the field five years ago and that’s not changing anytime soon. He already has a nickname, All Day, the highlights, the Nike endorsement and the fans willing to buy his shoes…now he just needs a shoe. Peterson is the closest thing to Bo Jackson and Nike could have made a great reincarnation of the SC Trainer called the SC-AD Trainers.
No. 2 - Aaron Rodgers
The best quarterback in the game is signed to Nike, but he doesn’t have a shoe? Okay, cool, that makes sense. Imagine the amount of shoes the Swoosh would sell in Wisconsin alone if they gave Rodgers his own shoe. The shoe could tell a great story with Rodgers being drafted 24th overall in the draft when he was expected to be drafted 2nd overall.
No. 1 - Robert Griffin III
The most exciting rookie to enter the league in a very long time is signed to adidas, and the brand is making a great push with advertising RGIII, but where is his signature shoe? He’s advertising the adizero 5 star cleats, but his name isn’t on them, no RGIII branding is found anywhere, he doesn’t have his own logo either. RGII definitely needs his own cleat. If adidas can give Derrick Rose his own shoe, then RGIII deserves one too. It would be so easy for adidas to come out with an awesome shoe that incorporates their three stripes and RGIII’s name.