Behind The Design Of The Under Armour Harper 6

Behind The Design Of The Under Armour Harper 6

Bryce Harper is a force on the diamond, and he needs a baseball cleat that can keep up with his grind. We sat down with footwear designer Spencer Hawkins to find out what it takes to create a cleat for one of the game’s greatest. As the designer of the Under Armour Harper 6 baseball cleat, Hawkins had to combine fresh style with trusted performance to create a shoe that would be the perfect fit for Bryce and for young baseball players looking to take their game to the next level. 

Here’s what Hawkins had to say about his design process, pushing the limits of style, and keeping things fresh in the Harper line:

Can you walk us through your design process and how you gather inspiration for a new shoe?

Art, science, and culture are the three things I try to think about in terms of what the aesthetic is going to be. What inspiration can I draw from, and is Bryce going to relate to whatever that is? Are the consumers? And then it comes down to the science. What’s the tech or feature that’s going to make Bryce better as well as any athlete who puts it on.

I try to think about how it will be marketed. If the design tells a story, can that story be boiled down to a tagline that Bryce connects to and that a 16-year-old high schooler can also relate to. If it can, then I know I’m on the right track.

What is that design story for the Harper 6?

When I was creating the story, it was to have the cleat provide a clear advantage. That evolved from the aesthetic of transparent materials and Bryce thinking it was cool and something he hasn’t really seen before.

The aesthetic of baseball cleats has a lot of heritage, just like in the sport, so things are held onto a lot longer than they might be in other sports. So having those transparent materials, we thought was a fresh aesthetic to go after. I wanted to tie in why we were using transparent materials. Why are we using it culturally? Why are we using it scientifically to make athletes better? And the art piece, just connecting to the trend of transparency in fashion.

We tried to strip down to the essential parts of the cleat and then either emphasize and highlight them. So, using the transparency in places where we’re adding support or structure as a way to showcase those elements. The transparent materials on the shoe also provide a benefit or feature. Like the overlay piece that is transparent on the toe adds durability and protection and it also comes up and protects the lace.

How involved was Bryce in the creation of the Harper 6?

Normally we’ll meet three or four times in person just going over the story, going over initial inspiration, going over the samples, what to change, the color stories, etc. So, he’s heavily involved with that. This season was different with COVID. Luckily, I’ve been working with him since the Harper 3, so we have a relationship where we can work very loosely without very formal meetings. I can text him certain questions that I have, and he’s learned what I’m looking for as far as that marketing story. He can tell me he likes the look of something and the reasons why and how we can build that into a story he feels good about telling and that he thinks kids will enjoy. So, he was pivotal in terms of the jumping off point.

Then we came with a final design that he liked on paper. Once we both like what we’re seeing on paper, the real work starts in terms of making what’s on paper real and tangible and making sure it passes all our wear test standards and isn’t causing any fit issues. It’s a fine line balancing between “this is something I’ve never seen before” and something that’s still going to perform better than what we’ve made in the past.

So, Bryce has different touchpoints all the way through. And luckily, he trusts our team a lot in terms of what we’ve been able to build in the past and where we take things.

Which tech features in the Harper 6 were chosen to complement Bryce’s style of play?

A lot of things on the Harper 6 are engineered towards what he’s looking for and how he plays. With all the years that he’s been playing, all the standing out in the outfield, he has suffered from a few foot injuries in the past, so how do we make sure this cleat more comfortable, more supportive, keep his foot on the plate. Those are the things we were working with engineering to fix.

Bryce is a player who’s always evolving. When he started playing, he was known as almost brash – very fiery type personality – and that came out in his play. I think that still comes out but it’s much more now as an overarching leader of a team. So, it’s hitting the style, the unique aesthetic for baseball, it’s having the tech features that are making you better, so more comfortable underfoot, more breathable. It’s not overbuilt, but it’s showcasing the layers through transparency. Those were all the things we were thinking about in terms of checking all the boxes for Bryce.

Under Armour Harper 6 Baseball Cleat

When you’re designing multiple iterations of a shoe, how do you balance staying true to that athlete’s signature style with making sure the model stays fresh and interesting?

That’s always the toughest part. Luckily with signature, I think having the shoe be its own personality from the 3 to 4 to 5 to 6 is always a good thing. So, I’m not afraid of drastically changing things. I think with the last two or three we’ve overall maintained a similar silhouette in terms of having it be a low cut, whereas before his models were either mids or highs. So, he’s been on board with that, just in terms of what he likes to play in and what the market has been trending towards, so it’s certain things like that where I’ll pick and choose a few features to stay the same or similar and then drastically change the others. So, for example, if we’re keeping the same silhouette and a similar material play, then I’ll drastically change up the colors and the graphics. Or it could be the opposite.

What type of ball player do you think these cleats are best for?

If you relate to Bryce, you’re going to relate to this cleat. It’s for someone who puts in the work to stand out. It doesn’t have to be the one with the biggest personality on the team. It’s about leading by example and standing out for the right reasons.

It’s that balance of creating energy, creating limited edition colorways – things that connect with Bryce – but also creating fresh team colors. It’s the balance of staying on palette of your team’s colors while also bringing excitement and energy in that space.

How important is that style element to the performance of the athlete?

It definitely depends on the athlete. To Bryce, it’s one of his number one things. Obviously, the cleat needs to work. It needs to not cause any distractions, it needs to feel more comfortable, stable, breathable, supportive – all those things – but at this point he takes those things as a given with the products we have. So, as long as we’re not taking steps backwards in that department, his number one thing is style. It’s that saying, “look good, feel good, play good.”

What was your favorite part of designing this cleat and your favorite element on the cleat itself?

This was the first one during the pandemic and what makes it special is what we went through as a team trying to bring this product to life during an unprecedented time.

One of my favorite features is the lace shield. It’s just something I haven’t seen before with that transparent piece coming up a little bit over the laces. So, being able to merge that aesthetic of transparency with the performance benefit while protecting your laces during slides and the different movements of baseball, that’s what my favorite part is.

What do you think sets the Harper 6 apart?

I think it goes back to being that melting pot of all the things that you want. I think it’s easy to have cleats that are super unique or very provocative in how they’re styled, but because of how it looks it’s not as comfortable or it’s super supportive but because of that, it’s maybe overbuilt with a lot of materials and it’s a little heavy. The Harper 6 is just kind of the perfect melting pot of style, performance, and the way it incorporates the story. That’s what set it apart. It has a unique visual from far away in terms of having that dot pattern around the transparent pieces, giving it a unique on-field, on-tv aesthetic. But then when you have it in your hand, it’s simplified and has a lot of details up close. So just being that universal solution in all those areas is what makes it stand out.

Under Armour Harper 6 GIF

Make sure you grab your own pair of the UA Harper 6 today from Eastbay and gear up with all the best Under Armour baseball gear for your season.

Eastbay Performance Explained: Why You Should Buy Eastbay’s New Athletic Apparel

Eastbay Performance Explained: Why You Should Buy Eastbay’s New Athletic Apparel

Eastbay Performance is here! The new apparel line is designed for the 24/7 athlete – those who want to look and feel their best in the gym, on the training field, and everywhere in between. Athletes like Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts, who trusts Eastbay Performance to get him through tough quarterback workouts, travel days, or two-a-days.

The Eastbay Performance line includes a few different collections, including Compression, GymTech, WindTech, and TempTech. Each collection is built to meet the specific needs of an athlete, both in and outside the game.

Eastbay Performance Athletic Apparel Compression Collection

Eastbay Compression

Compression is a must-have for every athlete in every sport. Eastbay’s new collection includes shorts, tights, tanks, and tops in a variety of staple colors so you always have the support you need to put in the work. They’re perfect for layering under GymTech apparel when you’re in the weight room or running drills or under your uniform on gamedays, and their moisture-wicking fabric pulls sweat away from your body so you stay comfortable and focused.

Stock up on new Eastbay Compression here ->

 

Eastbay Performance Athletic Apparel GymTech Collection

Eastbay GymTech

Eastbay’s GymTech collection is apparel designed to be light and comfortable for any type of workout and every sport. These shorts, tops, and jackets are made from stretchy, breathable fabric cut in a regular fit for comfort and a full range of motion. So whether you’re lifting, lunging, or lounging around before practice starts, you’ll be cool and comfortable. Jalen Hurts swears by the GymTech Short-Sleeve Tee for all his workouts.

Grab new gym gear from Eastbay’s GymTech collection here ->
Eastbay Performance Athletic Apparel WindTech Collection

Eastbay WindTech

Designed for warmups, cooldowns, or going to and from practice, Eastbay’s WindTech collection features pants, shorts, and jackets in classic colors so you can easily pair them with any of the Eastbay Performance pieces. Ultra-lightweight with built-in ventilation panels and reflective details, the WindTech pieces are great for when the weather starts getting a little cooler and you want to keep your muscles warmed up and ready to go.

Check out the full WindTech collection here ->
Eastbay Performance Athletic Apparel TempTech Collection

Eastbay TempTech

Being an athlete never stops. It’s more than a game – it’s a lifestyle – so even when you’re not training or playing, you need apparel that’s comfortable and flattering while still bringing that competitive edge. Eastbay’s TempTech collection has sweats, hoodies, and full-zips that deliver all three. These pieces are warm with a regular fit that keeps you comfortable and relaxed in class, on the bus, or hanging with the team. Jalen Hurts’ favorite way to rock TempTech is as a full sweatsuit. His go-tos are the Pullover Hoodie and matching Fleece Pant.

Layer up in TempTech here ->
Eastbay Performance Athletic Apparel Game. Train. Live.

We know you’re focused on crushing goals and breaking records this season, so make sure your athletic apparel is up to the challenge. Eastbay Performance is a must-have for every athlete.

Shop the full collection at eastbay.com

Game. Train. Live.

A Look At The Top High School Baseball Prospects

A Look At The Top High School Baseball Prospects

Football may be the sport everyone associates with being the religion of the South, but no one should overlook baseball. Many of the top teams in the country call states like Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arizona home. In fact, every team in MaxPreps current top 10 is from the South. All these teams are made up of extraordinary talent but we’re going to highlight one player from each team who really makes a difference.

Dylan Lesko is off to a hot start this season and has Buford ranked #1 nationally according to MaxPreps. The big righthander, a Vanderbilt commit, has a fastball that can touch the mid-90s and filthy secondary pitches. Lesko is going to be a problem for batters all season long.

Jack Walker is a master at making kids walk back to the dugout. Coming off Tommy John surgery Walker is rounding into form and his fastball is hitting the low-90s again. The Mississippi State commit has one of the better changeups in his class and is a threat with a bat in his hands as well. Walker has helped Barbe capture the #2 spot in MaxPreps rankings.

Wes Mendes is a true dual threat player. The sophomore at Jesuit is a balanced hitter who makes consistent contact and has strong exit velocity. Defensively, he’s got a quick release on throws and is accurate to every spot. Mendes, another Vandy commit, is helping power Jesuit off to a strong 11-1 start this season, good for #3 in MaxPreps rankings.

Brock Selvidge looks the part of every scout’s dream prospect and plays like it too. Standing 6’3” with a fiery fastball and a made-you-look-silly slider, he’s Hamilton’s ace this season and one of their most dangerous hitters. In a recent game against Chaparral he had two homers and struck out six to carry Hamilton to a 6-4 win.

Andy Painter is one of the most physically imposing pitchers in America. 6’7” and 230 pounds, the Calvary Christian Academy senior and Florida commit is the number one right-handed prospect in the nation and seems destined for the big leagues with a fastball that is already hitting the upper 90s. Calvary Christian Academy is currently sitting seventh in the rankings after a loss to Pembroke Pines Charter.

IMG Academy got thumped this past week by Calvary Christian Academy though Elijah Green certainly did his part to try and rally the team. One of the premier players in his class, Elijah displays the type of power that every coach loves. The future Hurricane has shown the ability to hit to all spots of the field with an easy swing and is solid defensively as well.

Madison Central is having a fantastic season so far as they sit fourth in the MaxPreps rankings and are still undefeated at 11-0. Braden Montgomery is a big reason why the Jaguars are playing so well. The senior has put together a strong season showcasing his versatility from both sides of the plate and a live arm in the outfield.

Stoneman Douglas has leaped into the top 5 of MaxPreps rankings with a 14-1 record. One of the reasons the Eagles are having such a strong season is Chris Arroyo. The outfielder displays two-way potential that makes him a threat on the mound and at the plate. He has a devastating slider that makes left-handed hitters look foolish and has a ton of power when he gets his barrel on the ball.

Jake Fox has powered Lakeland Christian into the top 10, despite being unranked previously. The lefty infielder has strong, quick hands and gets the barrel through the ball quickly. In the field he’s mastered the fundamentals. He charges the ball well and has a nice quick release to get the ball out in a hurry.

Calvary Christian round out the top 10 of MaxPreps rankings with a record of 14-2. Matt Rose has been one of their standout performers this season. The infielder, and South Florida commit, has been a force at the plate this season where his quick hands and angry swing give him gap to gap power.

Great Lakes Baseball Academy Partners Up with Eastbay

Great Lakes Baseball Academy Partners Up with Eastbay

Woodbury & Arden Hills, Minnesota – Brian Bambenek, the Founder and Owner of Great Lakes Baseball Academy, announced the Academy has signed a five-year agreement with Eastbay to provide Nike footwear, apparel, and gear for the academy.

Eastbay has been a leader in the athletic performance and lifestyle product market for over 40 years, with a vast selection of gear from all the biggest brands.

Bambenek said “To partner alongside two of the most recognizable brands in sports – Nike and Eastbay – was a no-brainer for us. This partnership will give our athletes access to the best gear and training opportunities on the market. Our loyalty to both brands existed well before this partnership, but this five-year contract only solidifies our belief in both Eastbay and Nike moving forward. Our staff and coaches appreciate the trust both Nike and Eastbay are placing in us to represent their brands.”

Bambenek went on to talk about the future of the organization. “Our Academy is still in the infancy stages of where I see our organization in 5-7 years. From our facilities to our programming, in five years I hope the only thing our alumni recognize is our coaching staff. We’re currently working to build a sports performance team that will specialize in training premier athletes based on data analytics using state-of-the-art equipment and technology. Our vision is to become the #1 baseball center in the midwest, guided by the research where training hard meets training smart and athleticism, injury mitigation, and longevity are equal priorities.”

Eastbay representative Brad Raymond worked closely with Great Lakes Baseball Academy to organize the partnership.

Garciaparra Baseball Group Partners Up with Eastbay

Garciaparra Baseball Group Partners Up with Eastbay

Indianapolis, Indiana – Michael Garciaparra, the founder of Garciaparra Baseball Group (GBG), announced the organization has signed a one-year agreement with Eastbay to provide Nike footwear, apparel, and gear for the club.

Eastbay has been a leader in the athletic performance and lifestyle product market for over 40 years, with a vast selection of gear from all the biggest brands.

Garciaparra, who founded GBG with his father Ramon, is excited for what the partnership will bring saying, “It’s awesome that our families and our players are going to have access to so many great products. A lot of us have been fans of Eastbay since we were young kids getting the catalog. As an organization with players across the country, it’s awesome to be with a company that can get product into our players’ hands fast and efficiently.”

GBG recently won the 2020 WWBA World Championship, the largest event in travel baseball, down in Ft. Myers, Florida. Ninety-six teams from around the country, and teams from Canada and Puerto Rico, battled it out with some of the top players in the country going head to head. GBG was able to place first in their pool, winning two games and drawing one. They battled to the final, where they overcame an early deficit en route to a 9-1 win.

Garciaparra said the team showed a lot of fight despite barely practicing and playing together due to the pandemic. “We haven’t had official games and our practices have been limited. The time we did get to play together we had to go to Arizona or Nevada, and we could only do that so many times because we were trying to be COVID conscious.”

2021 will see the club participating in several huge USA Baseball events during the summer and the Perfect Game 17U World Series out in Arizona.

Eastbay representative Shay Maltese worked closely with GBG to organize the partnership. “I’m excited to be working with one of the top clubs in the US. I love interacting on the baseball side daily with them.”