Ohtani joins Francisco Lindor as New Balance’s premier baseball athletes. The brand plans to have Ohtani debut the limited-edition 574 cleat.
Two-time MLB All-Star Shohei Ohtani has signed an endorsement deal with New Balance, the company announced on Tuesday. New Balance says it plans to highlight Ohtani in various campaigns, including making him the first player to wear a limited-edition 574 cleat.
Ohtani is one of the few great two-way players in MLB history. Furthermore, he’s the only player to be honored as a hitter and pitcher on All-MLB First Teams. Ohtani joins the New Balance baseball family alongside New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor. Overall, New Balance’s heavy-hitting list of high-profile athletes includes Kawhi Leonard, Zach Lavine, Sydney McLaughlin, Coco Gauff, Raheem Sterling, Sadio Mane, and more.
“As I continue my journey in baseball, I am excited to join the New Balance family,” Ohtani said in a press release. “New Balance is a global brand known for having incredible product innovation. And for being an authentic brand that allows its athletes to be themselves. I am excited to join them to change the game.”
The collaboration will aim to merge ballpark culture with fashion. Ohtani will don a 574 cleat that shares a matching upper and familiar overall aesthetic to previous 574 models. Initial images of the cleat feature the sneaker’s iconic core grey/white colorway, however the cleat variation will incorporate intricate changes to the shoe’s interior to ensure a proper gameday-worthy fit with support over nine innings.
“Shohei is a once-in-a-generation athlete who fits with our larger roster of athletes in their approach to their respective sports,” said Neil Brooks, Head of Baseball Sports Marketing. “Shohei is never satisfied and constantly pushes himself and his team to improve while letting his on-field performance speak for itself. We look forward to building the relationship and helping Shohei achieve his dreams and, in the process, truly change the game as we know it.”
Ohtani signed his first MLB contract in 2018 and took the league by storm as both a player and collectibles icon. He won the American League Rookie of the Year Award that year, slugging 22 home runs and amassing 63 strikeouts. Since then, the two-way marvel has set a series MLB records untouchable to most other players. For example, he became the first player in MLB history to hit 30 homers and register 10 wins on the mound in the same season, and the first player with 200 strikeouts as a pitcher and 30 homers as a hitter in the same year.
Heading into his sixth MLB season, the Japanese sensation’s two-way dominance has earned him a laundry list of awards:
- 2X MLB All-Star
- 2021 American League Most Valuable Player
- 2X All-MLB First team
- Silver Slugger Award (2021)
- AP Athlete of the Year (2012)
- 2018 American League Rookie of the Year
- First Player in MLB to be an All-Star as pitcher and hitter
- 5X Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) All-Star
- Japan Series Champion (2016)
- NPB Pacific League MVP (2016)
- 28 Years Old
The limited-edition 574 Cleat will launch in February at www.newbalance.com, with the suggested retail price starting at $120.
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