While others search through their bags and dig into their wallets, Victor Cruz is just chilling.

It’s a Monday in October at the windswept Meadowlands and the Giants wide receiver is outside MetLife Stadium where the setting sun and shadows will soon make it feel more like December. Everyone in Cruz’s party needs to show ID at the security gates to get inside the arena except for Cruz. One of the most recognizable faces in football doesn’t need any when he’s on his own turf. He gets a free pass.

“If Victor wants to show me his license, he can,” jokes the elderly guard.  

Cruz is in great spirits despite the fact he hasn’t played this year. Coming back from a devastating knee injury that ended his 2015 season early, he’s been battling a nagging calf injury suffered in training camp. Weeks before he dourly revealed the calf would require season ending surgery, he’s about to escort the party across an eerily empty stadium and into the Giants locker room where he will don the kind of immortality that’s rarer than a Super Bowl ring in his sport.

Once at his locker, Cruz slips on a fresh pair of the Air Trainer Cruz, his shoe and the first lifestyle sneaker designed for a Nike sponsored football player ever. It’s a tremendous honor and another feather in the cap for the Paterson, New Jersey boy who burst onto the scene in 2011, helped Big Blue capture its fourth Super Bowl and later established himself as one of the most stylish athletes in the world.

On the way to the stadium from his home in northern New Jersey, Complex talked to Cruz about the honor of having his own signature sneaker, the effect of his injury on production, the sneaker’s many inspirations, and what special plans he has in store for Friday's release.

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