How an artist and an athlete came together for a $200,000 footwear project — and why it’s only the beginning.
Odell Beckham Jr., Jalen Ramsey, Cooper Kupp, and Von Miller will wear custom cleats crafted by the world-famous designer known as The Shoe Surgeon. Like the athletes he’s outfitting, the artist born Dominic Ciambrone has spent the last two weeks laser-focused in preparation for the Big Game.
“The planning for the Super Bowl cleats? It happened as soon as they won the last game,” Ciambrone told Boardroom.
Working with Jason of Beverly Hills on a $200,000 warm-up cleat for OBJ, the collaboration between the cobbler and the jeweler shines through 1,494 brilliant white diamonds and 150 grams of 14 karat yellow gold. While the work started immediately after the Rams defeated the 49ers in the NFC Championship game, the stylistic synergy between the artist and the athlete has been going on for years.
Long before Drake put his money on OBJ, the OVO rapper’s New Year’s Eve party proved the meeting grounds for the flashy wideout and far-out designer. The introductory exchange between Beckham and Ciambrone was short, leading latter to conversation through DMs and a slew of custom cleats. From Virgil Abloh homages on the gridiron to Louis Vuitton Air Jordans designed for arrival, the two have continued to push the limits of lavishness in all arenas.
“He knows what he likes. He likes to be swaggy, he likes to be flashy,” Ciambrone said of Beckham.
On both sides of the ball, the Rams’ roster will be full of flexes crafted by Ciambrone. Defensive back Ramsey is set to rock a set of custom cleats inspired by his three daughters, while OBJ’s running mate, Kupp, commissioned Ciambrone to cut up a Comme des Garcons x KAWS dress shirt to outfit his feet.
Whether miked up or simply letting their game speak, fans with an eye for the avant-garde will know exactly the sentiment LA’s biggest stars strive to express on the world’s biggest stage.
“Creating a feeling without having to say anything? I think that’s what fashion is,” Ciambrone said.
For OBJ and Ramsey, procedures from Ciambrone have been the calling card for staying fresh on the field. Ramsey’s rocked custom cleats by The Shoe Surgeon, showing love to classic Kobes and contemporary Kanyes alike, while Beckham Jr. has made house calls for gridiron gear inspired by Supreme and The Black Mamba’s Prelude Pack.
When it comes to top-tier athletes, Ciambrone is the go-to guy for the most expensive and extravagant on-foot art. Take, for example in 2018, when Nike called The Shoe Surgeon to celebrate LeBron James’ 30,000-point milestone. Putting the King’s signature Nike LeBron 15 under the knife, the final product was a $100,000 Diamond and Gold sneaker that LeBron liked so much he wore them for a GQ cover shoot.
This level of luxury demands an equal level of greatness and confidence. On Sunday, Ciambrone sees OBJ reaching the same stature as sporting champion and style icon.
“You can’t just be the best at what you do,” Ciambrone said. “You have to have that swag and care for what you wear. For Odell, it’s both.”
This weekend, the road to the Super Bowl leads to the place the Rams call home. While Ramsey, Kupp, and Miller will all be dressed for success, there’s a good chance the collaborations between Ciambrone and OBJ have only just begun.
“Eventually I’ll be helping him design his house or redoing his car,” he said.