While not widely collected, autographed basketball shoes or baseball/football cleats are becoming more and more popular. Fans try to collect nearly anything that is game-worn and footwear is no exception. While game-worn shoes are collected in nearly any sport, the most popular are probably baseball cleats, football cleats, and basketball sneakers.
Many players prefer a fresh set of sneakers or cleats when they play and more and more pieces of footwear are getting out into the public.
Baseball and Football Cleats
Because they’re used in outdoor sports, baseball and football cleats show obvious signs of wear. Crease and dirt and grass stains are commonly seen on game-used cleats. The amount of wear preferred is dependent upon the opinion of the collector. Some collectors desire cleats that are heavily worn as it generally means they were used in several games. Other collectors want cleats that have little wear as they may give a better appearance.
When autographed, it’s best to have athletes sign white or light-colored cleats with a dark blue or black marker. Gold or silver markers work best on black or darker colored cleats.
Unlike baseball and football, basketball is played indoors. So obvious wear and tear such as mud or grass stains aren’t going to be there. Still, it’s easy to spot a pair of worn sneakers. Game worn sneakers, even if worn for only a few games, should have obvious signs of wear such as creases or scuff marks. The insides of the sneakers will even display some sign of wear. When having a pair of game worn sneakers autographed, the same rules apply as they do for cleats – dark markers on light shoes and silver or gold markers for dark shoes. And as with cleats, the amount of wear preferred is up to the individual collector.
Obtaining Game Worn Cleats or Sneakers
The best time to get a pair of game worn cleats or sneakers directly from the players might be the ends of a season. After the last game of the year, as a fan appreciation effort, many players will give away their equipment to fans in attendance. Players will also sometimes give items away after a game in the middle of the season, but your chances are best at the end of a year as some players continually use the same equipment over several games.
Team auctions and in-stadium team stores are another good place to look for game-worn sneakers. They may not come autographed, but you can take them to a public signing or try to catch your favorite player at the stadium to add his or her signature.
Charity auctions are another good option as many players donate their game-worn memorabilia to a local charity or to their own foundation.
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