Collection: BeastMode B.T.A. Cleat: Behind The Scenes

Marshawn Beastmode” Lynch x SoleWorks

Aaron Miller, founder of SoleWorks, Inc., the brand behind the brand, met Marshawn Lynch back in 2003 at the Nike Football Training Combine held on Stanford University’s campus. The annual event drew over 800 of the best high school football prospects in the country to showcase their skills in front of the top college coaching staff. Players hope to be recruited; coaches hope to find their next football star. As it turns out, Marshawn was one of those future football stars. Just one year later, he would go on to start for his hometown college football team, the California Golden Bears, and the rest is history. 

Back then, Marshawn was a young, mostly unknown running back from Oakland Tech High School. He was a thinner, slightly less muscular, 180lb 18-year-old version of who would later become the embodiment of Beastmode.” Although younger and (only slightly) smaller, Marshawn had the same charisma, energy, and love for football – both the game and the gear – as he does now. 

This original meeting between Aaron and Marshawn would go on to inspire SoleWorks product team to develop a similar recruiting method over the years. What better way to gather athlete insights than to attend a hotbed of athletic talent? To ask questions and get answers from those who know the terrain best? To take a bag of product prototypes and samples and get real-time feedback from the athletes themselves?  

At one of these events, Marshawn was shown a bag of football cleat samples and dove in headfirst. He knew exactly what he wanted – uncompromised performance, speed and agility, and most importantly, for the design to be unapologetically saucy.” 

As Nike founder Phil Knight says, the goal in building any performance product is to listen to the voice of the athlete.” So, we made it our mission to hunt for even the smallest bit of insight from athletes - whether that insight came from youth football players to full-fledged professional athletes. The secret is to listen; mine for details; seek critique; improve your product in any way possible; search for the newer and the better.  

During his time in the NFL, Marshawn consistently showed up as one of the most insightful athletes in the game. This, combined with Aaron and Marshawn’s mutual love of the craft, lead to the birth of the B.T.A. Elite Football Cleat. 

 Along the journey, the SoleWorks team has been able to learn from – and work with – numerous top athletes.  

 Our co-founder, E.Scott Morris, is perhaps best known for his groundbreaking work designing Michael Vick’s and LaDainian Tomlinson’s eponymous signature lines. Now, he’s casting his genius on the brand new Beastmode B.T.A. Elite Football Cleat.  

 Like all great players do, we’re changing the game – re-defining the football cleat industry and creating the most iconic cleats ever invented. 

The Beastmode B.T.A. Elite Football Cleat: The Idea 

 Our inspiration for this first iteration, our signature product, the Beastmode B.T.A. Elite Football Cleat, came from one of the most iconic individual plays in the history of football: Marshawn Lynch’s Beast Quake. 

On January 8, 2011, during the NFC Wild Card game, Super Bowl defending champs, the New Orleans Saints, faced off against the Seattle Seahawks, the first team to ever make the playoffs with a losing record through a full season. During their first face off earlier that season, the Saints defeated the Seahawks 34-19 causing many spectators to assume that this second matchup would be a blowout for the Saints. 

Not on Marshawn's watch though. With 3:38 left in the game, and the Saints up by 4, he broke tackle after tackle, ran through the Saints’ entire defensive line, and ultimately traveled a whopping 67 yards before somersaulting backwards into the endzone, cinching a win for the Seahawks.  

The crow crowd in Seattle went wild! The ensuring celebration created an actual seismic event of 1-2 on the Richter Scale, thus earning the play the name Beast Quake.” 

With the inaugural Beastmode football cleat, we wanted to pay homage to that unbelievable play. Our goal was to tell that story on the product itself – architectural beams, together with structural elements known as principal stress lines” tell the story. The Beastmode Richter logo on the heel depicts the actual seismic signature of the Beast Quake, and the shape of the lateral and medial speed frame” mimics the pressure waves and geographical map that an earthquake produces. Lastly, on many of the colors, we added a broken glass graphic that represents the aftermath of such energy and power that Marshawn and the Beast Quake represent. 

The Beastmode B.T.A. Elite Football Cleat: The Process 

The process of designing football cleats and performance products in general starts with athlete insights. These insights build the brief.” A good brief always answers the question what problem are we trying to solve?” and leads the design and development journey, including key elements such as: 

  • Target athlete 
  • Fit and feel 
  • Traction best practices (especially for artificial turf) 
  • Cost and retail price 

In the case of the B.T.A. Elite Football Cleat, we started by deconstructing some of Marshawn’s favorite football cleats from throughout his career to identify their best features and benefits. We evaluated the current football cleat market, and talked to other influential athletes and retailers to drill down to exactly what it is that people want. Once we’ve finalized the brief, it’s time to sketch the initial design.[Text Wrapping Break] 

Throughout the sketch process, our design team has what’s called ideation sessions,” where they collaborate and create dozens of concepts. From these concepts, we can decide what the focus of our show will be. In this case, we spent a lot of time on the outsole plate. In football cleats, this plate is called the chassis.” Like a great sports car, the chassis helps the athlete accelerate, brake, and cut at high speeds. 

At this stage in the process, the sketch becomes a tech pack” - a blueprint that includes different angles, cross-sections, materials, and color directions. It is translated into a 3D design, and 3D-printed parts bring the prototype to life. Then we review, tweak, ask for feedback, and listen some more. 

As part of this creation process, the SoleWorks team met with Marshawn throughout many of these different stages. Even when relying on industry-best practices and tried-and-true biomechanics, it is vital to get shoes on athletes, put those shoes in action, and get that real-time feedback – before ever confirming them for production.  

For this first football cleat model, we decided on two primary material choices. For our white-based colors, and the Electric Green”, the primary material is a premium microfiber synthetic – that wraps the forefoot (the part that acts as the support structure in the front of the shoe), has a soft feel, and is easy to break in.   

For the matte-black and team primary” colors, the forefoot has fuseconstruction — a base of high-performance mesh with a soft feel, which is then fused together with a super-thin TPU film. This fusion creates a soft, extra-light feel and immediate break in. 

Whatever your preference, the B.T.A. Elite Football Cleat is maximized for athletes’ needs: speed and acceleration.   

In either case, our mission was clear: look fast and play fast. We know every move on the football field requires precision, starting with the football cleat.  

We call this design a Turbo Low” - a low top silhouette together with an integrated bootie that hugs the ankle, and zero space fit. It’s ‘bout that action, boss.  

Each step in the production process is meticulously planned and overseen for craftsmanship. The B.T.A. Elite Football Clearcleat is produced by one of the world’s premier factory groups, with decades of experience and expertise. They know what to do and exactly how to do it. Some key elements of this process that ensure success are: 

  • 3D modeling and printing 
  • Industry-best last, foot form and fit first 
  • Back-part molding and heel counter shaping first (provides the heel lock and fit athletes need) 
  • Injection molding and use of Pebax™ Elastomer for pinnacle performance 
  • High frequency welding 
  • Premium material sourcing 
  • Sustainability - using recycled plastics and environmentally preferred materials  

All of these elements, proven and tested of over the last 15 years, make up a truly high-performance competition football cleat.   

There Is No Finish Line. 

 We’re combining elite athlete insights with elite engineering. Like any premier athlete, we keep pushing ourselves to be better. We listen. We collaborate. We involved our athlete and factory partners to continue to elevate and innovate our offerings. We will continue to stand by our mission and pledge to always listen to the athlete. We can’t get better without constructive feedback. As the saying goes, there is no finish line.”