Cleat Heat #1 | Kicking Off the 2024 MLB Season

The Best Cleats to Open the 2024 Season

Date: Apr 16, 2024
Topics: Baseball, Cleat Heat, MLB
Length: 708 Words
Reading Time: ~4 Minutes

Welcome to “Cleat Heat,” where we’re diving into the scorching fusion of baseball and sneaker culture for the 2024 MLB season. Gone are the days when cleats were merely functional; they’ve evolved into a statement of style and individuality, with players using them to elevate their on-field presence and build massive followings. From custom designs that reflect personality to rocking unreleased prototypes, players are rewriting the rules of baseball fashion, reshaping how the game is marketed and connecting with a broader audience. Welcome to the future of baseball, where the cleat heat is turning up the temperature on America’s favorite pastime.

Cleats of the 1st Week

2024 MLB TOPPS NOW® Card 43 O’Neil Cruz/ Air Jordan 1 Breds

Jordan 1 Retro’s are a staple in the athlete community. The noted hoop shoe created in 1984 and once worn by Michael Jordan himself made its way onto the turf and diamond, as numerous football and baseball players have rocked them on the field, including O’Neil Cruz, who elevated the cleats’ mystique vs. the Orioles on April 6, 2024. With the red and black 1s on his feet, Cruz cranked out a walk-off single, leading the Pirates to a 5-4 victory. Topps commemorated the moment with the Topps Now above.

 2024 MLB TOPPS NOW® Card 46 Ronel Blanco/ Nike Force Zoom 9 Trout Elite

After throwing a no-no in his 2024 debut, Blanco took the mound vs. the Rangers and extended his hitless streak to five and 2/3 innings. The Astros’ ace’s 44 outs in a row without allowing a hit became the longest streak to open a campaign since the expansion era in 1961. A Hall of Fame-like performance by Blanco in future HOFer Mike Trout‘s signature cleats, the Nike Force Zoom 9 Trout Elite. Sounds like some elite feet.

2024 Topps Series 1 #127 Ha-Seong Kim/ New Balance FuelCell 4040v7

According to Sports Illustrated, about 20 percent of MLB starters wore New Balances in 2023, making it the second-most worn cleat after Nikes. With that said, several of the league’s players, including Kim, have been donning the New Balance FuelCell 4040v7. I can’t even fake it; the colorway Kim’s wearing in the pic above looks so clean with the Padres’ unis. We have to respect the fresh.

2023 Topps Update Series #US226 Matt Strahm/ Adidas Card life Customs

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen custom cleats. But this might be the coolest pair we’ve ever seen. Sorry, we’re biased. Strahm is an avid card collector, who actually did an interview with the good folks here at Ripped. And when we mean avid, we’re talking he owns a million cards and has a brand that dives into card collecting called “The Card Life.” Oh, and yes, that’s the 2023 Topps Update Series #US226 Matt Strahm painted prominently on his cleats. The Card Life brand looks mighty brolic.

2024 Topps Series One #110 Zac Gallen/ Air Jordan 13

Gallen came out with elite heat to open the 2024 season, fanning three batters and allowing only one run in 5.1 innings during the Diamondbacks’ 16-1 Opening Day victory over the Rockies. He did so in Jordan 13s, keeping his feet figuratively on the gas. Released during the 1997-98 season, The Jordan 13s are synonymous with the Bulls’ second three-peat. Maybe Gallen will add jewelry to his collection this season.

2024 Topps Series One #23 Fernando Tatis/ Air Jordan 1 Customs

Tatis partnered with XAMPLE’s CEO and founder, Nick Drbal and the SURGEON on 50 custom cleats for the 2024 season. The star shortstop pulled up to San Diego’s home opener with custom Air Jordan 1s crafted to honor fallen Padres owner Peter Siedler. Not only did Tatis honor Sielder with his face, he also drew inspiration from the Padres logo for the upper part of the cleat and featured elements of San Diego’s coastline. Can’t wait to see more from Tatis.

2024 Topps Series One #134 Adolis Garcia/ Adidas Afterburner 9 Customs

Garcia’s one of baseball’s hottest names, having helped the Rangers to its first World Series in 2023 with several memorable “El Bombi” blasts. The star slugger opened the 2024 season with the same flare he brought in last year. While keepin’ it cool in the Adidas Afterburner 9 customs, Garcia homered and helped his squad to a 4-3 win over the Cubs.

More Kicks x Cards


Kicks on Cards #5 | Dennis Rodman Birthday Set
May 13, 2024
Kicks on Cards #4 | Sneakers Designed by Tinker Hatfield
Apr 30, 2024
Cleat Heat #3
Apr 29, 2024
Kicks on Cards #2 | Air Max Day
Mar 26, 2024
Back to Top