Seahawks shoes: One size, or style, does NOT fit all
Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka has to search each offseason for his favorite shoes, a style Nike doesn’t make any more. Some Seahawks get by on a couple pairs of cleats a season, while others wear a different pair each game.
/ Seattle Times staff reporter
49ers @ Seahawks, 1:25 p.m., Ch. 13
RENTON – Seahawks kicker Steven Hauschka doesn’t usually like shopping for shoes, but his job requires it each offseason.
Not just any shoes, mind you, but the shoes he will wear in games, the shoes with which he has made 92 percent of his field-goal attempts the past two seasons, the shoes that will earn him nearly $2 million this year.
There’s only one problem.
“They don’t make them anymore,” Hauschka says. “I just scour the Internet and find them on like eBay or something.”
That’s right: The trusted right foot of Hauschka, the kicker who booted two game-winning field goals last season, is dependent on eBay for his most important apparel.
Hauschka’s case is extreme, but it highlights the importance of footwear in football. More specifically, it highlights the nature of professional football, where everything from technique to, yes, shoes, matters.
Hauschka is also proof that one size doesn’t fit all — not even for his own feet. Hauschka normally wears a size 12, but each game day he puts on a size-10½ shoe on his right foot and an 11½ on his left.
“I get better contact on the ball when I kick with a smaller shoe,” he says.
In September he found and purchased three pairs of his elusive shoe — Nike Vapor 7s — for the upcoming season. One has longer cleats for bad field conditions, and two have shorter cleats for FieldTurf.
“It fits my foot for whatever reason really well,” Hauschka says. “It’s composite. It’s not leather, so it keeps its shape really well, and it has just the right thickness to kick a football, whereas nowadays they’re making the cleats thinner and thinner. They’re not as good to kick a football with.”
Not everyone is so particular.
Running back Robert Turbin doesn’t abandon his size-12 shoes until he has to.
“I’m blue collar,” he says.
The same can be said of linebacker K.J. Wright and his size 13s.
“I’m a simple man,” he says.
Upon hearing that Wright, who gives his old shoes to his high school, has only gone through three pairs all season, defensive end Cliff Avril perks up.
Avril is a rarity in the Seahawks’ locker room. He likes the stiffness of new shoes, so he trots out a brand-new pair of size 13s every week. The old boots get the boot until he ships them to his high school halfway through the season because his locker gets too full.
Sure, shoes can also be unnecessary: Richard Sherman returned an interception for a touchdown last year in Houston while wearing only one shoe.
And, yes, the NFL doesn’t allow much out-of-the-box thinking when the shoes are out of the box: Marshawn Lynch was fined $10,000 in 2011 for wearing shoes with a Skittles design on the sides.
Rams guard Davin Joseph used his shoes as a walking billboard last week when he wrote “I can’t breathe” on them.
And many of the Seahawks follow Avril’s footsteps and give away their shoes to their high schools or at their camps. That’s how Sherman’s old stomping ground, Dominguez High School, ended up with mismatched colors.
“It’s pretty fun if you see us during practice,” said Uriah Leiataua, a senior at Dominguez last year. “Our colors are black, yellow and red, but you’ll see us wearing these bright green and bright blue cleats.”
As for Hauschka’s shoes from last season’s Super Bowl run? You won’t find those on eBay any time soon. He’s keeping them as a souvenir.
Jayson Jenks: 206-464-8277 or email@example.com