Over the years baseball cleats have truly evolved. Whether it has been the move from rubber spikes to plastic spikes, or metal cleats being built stronger while getting lighter, these changes have been applauded by athletes.
As companies continue to create new cleats and innovative tech features for them, New Balance has taken a step ahead of the rest.
With the launch of the CompV1, New Balance is the first to offer a cleat with a mix of glass fiber reinforced TPU and standard TPU spikes. To go along with this, a number of pros will sport the CompV1 during the 2018 season. But a pair of stars got early access to the shoe during the 2017 playoffs. Athletes Fransisco Lindor and Jose Altuve were the in-game wear-testers of the new cleat, helping the product team get to the final version to bring to market.
This cleat is way more than just your average molded spike, so in order to take a deeper dive into the shoe, we chatted with the New Balance baseball product team.
How The Cleat Came To Life
A lot of information was brought to the attention of the New Balance baseball team over the past few years. In their research three big things stood out:
- The fact that high school athletes are playing more and more baseball games today —some even 100 plus games a year. This led parents to be a lot more thoughtful about the health of their teenagers’ feet. In response, they built a shoe that has metal spike performance with the comfort of a TPU spike.
- Turf baseball fields are popping up all over the country, and many of these fields don’t allow you to wear metal cleats on them. This makes an alternative option so important. In response New Balance designed a cleat that works on dirt and turf fields.
- Most professionals today are wearing plastic cleats, and these are the guys that kids are watching play every night. In response the CompV1 was created to give the comfort and performance the pros get.
These three things gave New Balance a nudge to create something new. They were looking to create something different in a stale market that was producing only metal and TPU cleats. In response to this the product team decided to build something they could tell a story around, and this turned out to be the fiberglass TPU cleat known as the CompV1.
The Tech That Makes It Stand Out
Francisco Lindor is a game-changer. Whether he’s at the plate on an 0-2 count with the bases loaded or diving after a sharp grounder at his shortstop position, the 23 year old is a big play waiting to happen. But he didn’t get so good overnight — he’s put in decades of hard work to get to this point.
“For me, I use the offseason to get ahead (of the competition),” Lindor explained. “There are 162 games plus the playoffs so it can really wear you out if you’re not careful. That extra preparation pays off big time down the line.”
His typical offseason training schedule is just ridiculous too. Look at this:
- He wakes up at 7:30.
- Before long, he eats a quick, healthy breakfast.
- After that, Lindor heads to the gym to get some quality lifting in.
- Then it’s time for some on-field work, as he fields grounders and gets some swings in.
- He’ll head back home around noon for a lunch.
- But then, he heads back to the field where he does even more fielding drills.
- He will spend the rest of the afternoon doing more workouts at home where he has a pool and tires.
Yeah… that’s quite the busy day. But at least he has some time later to wind down at the end of it. So what does he do to relax?
BC. Francisco Lindor carries those two letters around with him wherever he goes. From his fielding glove to his cleats to even his Twitter handle, he places that simple acronym wherever he can. So what’s the big deal? And what does it mean? No, it isn’t a call back to a certain period of time thousands and thousands of years ago — it stands for his motto. The words he lives by on and off the baseball field: Be consistent.
“That phrase comes from my dad,” Lindor explained. “It means that you need to be successful at every part of your life. Whether I’m on the diamond or in my house, I always try to be the best person I can be. I’ve learned that there will be plenty of highs and lows in everything, but you need to stay within yourself and never get carried away.”
That mindset seems more likely to come from a grizzled vet and less from an up-and-coming 23-year-old shortstop, but Lindor has had to grow up quickly. Despite his youth, he is already being asked to play a major role offensively and defensively for a talented Cleveland team with very high
If that pressure ever got to him, you would never know based off of his performance. He had an outstanding rookie year in 2015, making big plays on both sides of the ball. By 2016, his sophomore season, he shattered any mention of a ‘slump’ by setting numerous career and team highs and helping lead his squad to the World Series.
“What really helped me adjust (in the majors) was understanding my role on the team and learning to listen,” Lindor admitted. “Growing up, I was stubborn and there were times people would try to give me advice about my game or life, and I’d be like ‘Nooo, I don’t think you’re right.’ But I realized I’m surrounded by teammates who have been in the league for decades and they can give me a lot of great advice. That learning has helped me grow my game.”
He’s having another outstanding season this year but we won’t start listing the stats here. Because, frankly, that’s not what Cleveland’s young superstar cares about. See, getting so close to winning it all and coming up just short left a bad taste in his mouth. The only thing he cares about nowadays is capturing that world championship.