Kelenic's custom cleats: 'Best gift ever'

May 14th, 2021

SEATTLE -- Look good, feel good, play good. That’s the old adage, and certainly carried some loud footwear into his MLB debut on Thursday.

The Mariners’ prized outfield prospect, ranked No. 4 in baseball by MLB Pipeline, donned custom Air Jordan cleats made by Stadium Custom Kicks that had all sorts of Seattle swagger, drenched in Mariners’ Northwest green and navy. The skyline was etched just under the Nike swoosh, his No. 10 jersey number was imprinted on the front of his right foot and his area code from back home in Waukesha, Wis., was on the left. Also imprinted was Thursday’s date: May 13, 2021, to mark the occasion.

Even more cool was the backstory to how Kelenic came to acquire them.

They were a gift from his longtime girlfriend, Gina, who reached out to Stadium a few weeks back hoping to put together something special for Kelenic’s debut. With a tight timeline that became even tighter when the Mariners’ plans to call up Kelenic leaked on Monday, Stadium was able to ship them to Seattle by Wednesday.

So after Kelenic, Gina and his family powwowed over dinner, relishing in his accomplishment and enjoying each other’s company, Gina escorted him out of the restaurant and told him she had a surprise but needed to take him to an undisclosed location to retrieve it.

“So she takes me to this place, and she's like, ‘Just stay here,’” Kelenic recalled. “It was at somebody's house. And she goes walking up to the doorstep. And the whole time, I'm like, ‘What's going on?’ And she comes back with a box and shows me the box and shows me these cleats. And it was awesome.”

The cleats took roughly 14 hours to make. Stadium was founded by Cubs prospect Alex Katz, and Kelenic’s footwear was helped in its design by Ari Solomon and painted by Seattle native Andrew Urrutia.

“The best pair of cleats I've ever received -- probably the best gift I've ever received,” Kelenic said. “They're really special to me because she gave them to me.”