Ichiro’s cleats have always looked different than spikes worn by most other MLB players.
Surprising, because you don’t see much Asics baseball gear in the U.S. (There’s no mention of baseball on AsicsAmerica’s website.) Oddly familiar, because the uppers remind you of Asics wrestling shoes. And mysteriously appealing, because you have to wonder if their sleek fit would add even the tiniest bit of Ichiro’s speed and grace to the way you move.
Although we might never get to try a pair of Ichiro’s player-exclusive Asics cleats, at least we can see exactly what he’s worn each year, courtesy of Asics Japan’s ICHIRO SPIKE HISTORY. (for robotic English translation, click here)
Asics lays out a timeline, taking you through Ichiro’s cleats year-by-year from the current 2010 models all the way back to the low-tops Ichiro wore in 1995, midway through his career with NPB’s Orix BlueWave.
For each year Asics comments on the materials and artistic inspiration used in the design, as well as notes on striving to satisfy Ichiro’s obsession with making his cleats lighter and lighter — all the way down to 250 grams, or just 8.8 ounces! (The popular Nike Air Huarache cleats weigh over 14 ounces each.)
A few notable years for Ichiro’s cleats
- 1995-97 & 2000 – leather soles
- 1999 – first high-tops, his signature today
- 2001 – 10-spike configuration used through 2010
- 2009 – World Baseball Classic special edition with Japan flag
P.S. You might notice the word “yakyu” in the URLs on the Asics Japan Baseball website.
Main page – http://www.asics.co.jp/yakyu
Ichiro page – http://www.asics.co.jp/yakyu/ichiro
“Yakyu” is how they say “baseball” in Japanese.