Lewiston Teacher designs custom cleats for professional athletes

By Joel Crabtree
Excerpt from our January 2022 issue

Growing up, painting and football were Eamon White’s two loves. He picked up painting from his grandmother, a watercolor artist who lived in Damariscotta, and began playing college football in Portland before playing at the University of Maine and Merrimack College in Massachusetts. The 32-year-old has been teaching and coaching ever since – currently teaching art at schools in Lewiston and coaching Scarborough High’s JV football team. In 2020, however, he plunged into a parallel scramble that merged his aesthetic and sporting passions: styling cleats. He began contacting professional athletes cold on Instagram, and his first client was then New York Jets defensive back JT Hassell, who wanted a pair that promoted the Lucky Fin Project, a charity supporting children with hands under -developed. Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Cyril Grayson Jr. ordered a pair with a superhero theme. Portland Sea Dogs shortstop Ryan Fitzgerald requested a sky blue pair trimmed in pink and gold.

Shoes aren’t White’s only artistic endeavor. A portrait he did of George Floyd, after Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police, went viral in 2020. He has since held artist residencies at the Indigo Arts Alliance and Space gallery in Portland. Photograph by Samantha Jamison

White decorates the cleats using leather paint and a combination of brushes and airbrushes, and he charges around $250 a pair, depending on the scale of the design. Working on a small canvas in the shape of a foot is a challenge he enjoys. “Maybe it turns into a full-fledged business, maybe it doesn’t,” he says. “But it allows me to try new things, and I have fun with it.”


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