New Balance has a new addition to the family: two-time Major League Baseball All-Star and 2021 American League MVP Shohei Ohtani.
The only player to ever be named as both a starting pitcher and leadoff hitter in the league’s annual All-Star Game, the Japanese native has signed a long-term deal with the Boston-based sports brand.
The deal includes the co-creation of a limited-edition 574 Cleat, an updated version of one of the brand’s classic models, which will now be worn on the field for the first time. The 574 Cleat is similar to the original shoe but includes changes to the interior that ensure it is suitable for the field and offers the fit, support and performance elements that are important to today’s athletes. The 574 Cleat will launch in February on the New Balance website and will retail starting at $120.
“Shohei is a once-in-a-generation athlete who fits with our larger roster of athletes in their approach to their respective sports,” said Neil Brooks, head of baseball sports marketing for New Balance. “Shohei is never satisfied and is constantly pushing himself and his team to be better while letting his on-field performance speak for itself. We look forward to building the relationship and helping Shohei achieve his dreams and in the process truly change the game as we know it.”
Ohtani was already a star in his native country when he signed with the Los Angeles Angels in 2018, the year he was also named American League Rookie of the Year.
“As I continue my journey in baseball I am excited to join the New Balance family,” Ohtani said. “New Balance is a global brand that is known for having incredible product innovation but also for being an authentic brand who allows their athletes to be themselves. I am excited to join with them to change the game.”
Ohtani joins other New Balance athlete ambassadors across a variety of sports including Kawhi Leonard, Sydney McLaughlin, Coco Gauff, Raheem Sterling and Sadio Mané.