Victor Cruz Speaks On The Air Trainer Cruz

We all already know that Victor Cruz loves his sneakers. So there’s no surprise that he landed his own sneaker with Nike, and while its the first ever lifestyle sneaker the Swoosh has created in tandem with a football player — it all makes sense. Even though the Giants wide receiver has sat out for the bulk of the year, and just revealed that he has another season-ending injury to tend, the footballer is still as relevant as ever. Cruz speaks to Complex about the inspirations behind the collection, and why his injury was a blessing in disguise, for the sneakers anyway. Read the entire interview here.
Where does the release of your own signature sneaker rank among your career accomplishments?
I think it’s right next to that Super Bowl ring. It’s definitely that high. I mean mainly because of the culture I was raised in. The culture I was from, signature sneakers were given to high-level athletes that are at the top of their game and, you know, are really changing the culture. For me to be an on-the-field athlete and have a lifestyle shoe that speaks to not only what I do on the field but what I do off the field as well. It’s a dream come true to have both of those things evolve into a shoe and into hopefully a lifestyle.
What do you remember about the moment when Nike told you they wanted you to have a signature sneaker?
After a long hard battle of talking back and forth and just, you know, negotiating it and getting the guys on board, getting Nike on board, it was amazing. Once they solidified it and once we… it really became real when I went to Portland and sat down and kind of gave them all of my ideas. All of the things that inspired me as a kid, all the stories, my favorite car, my favorite color, all of that stuff, and that’s when it became real. On that flight home I was like wow, man, this is actually happening and it’s a big deal.
How long did the process take from Nike expressing its interest in designing your signature sneaker to you actually holding it in your hands?
It took about maybe a little over a year just to get the first silhouette down. We met, I mean it was funny; our first meeting where I saw the first mockups on the computer were in Paris during Fashion Week. So they showed me there, saw the ideology, made some tweaks and then about maybe four or five months later I saw the first rendering of it as an actual sample. Made some more changes, couple of months later. So it was very much a process of, you know, understanding what we’ve got and then making little tweaks and changes and then getting another sample and color ways and it kind of went from there.
What’s your favorite element of the shoe?
My favorite element of the shoe is the second strap. The strap on the heel, the heel strap is rare, you don’t see it often and it has my signature on it as well, kind of tonal on the strap. It was just different. I feel like there’s always, you know…one thing to make a shoe standout is being ok with having something that’s different or something that’s unique that you may not like at first. But as you see it more and more, you get used to it, you get comfortable with it and then it becomes something that the people love.
You have multiple references to your late father on this shoe—inside the mid-foot strap it reads “In Memory of Mike” and a No. 9 on the back strap that pays homage to him as well. Why did you incorporate those specific elements into the sneaker and why are those specific references so important to you?
The black and crimson pair pay homage to my dad on the inside strap as well as my high school number which is a number that he kind of gave me.
That was his firefighter ladder?
Yeah, it was his firefighter ladder and it just became my high school number. I wanted to pay homage to him because he taught me pretty much everything I know from football to being a man to being, you know, just accountable for all my actions. Everything that I learned to this day on being a man I learned through him. I wanted to honor him in some way, shape, or form. And when the sneaker came around and I started to spew out ideas and things like that, and numbers, the number nine came about and I was like, wait, why don’t I just try and put something on the inside strap. Instead of “Dance to Greatness” we put “in Memory of Mike” who was my dad and just apply these things to a person that meant so much to me in my life.

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