At the same time that four-time All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor is embarking on a new chapter in his baseball career -- he was traded to the New York Mets in January -- he will also be introducing his latest off-field undertaking.
On Monday, New Balance officially unveiled the brand's first-ever baseball signature shoe and apparel collection. Lindor, who first signed with New Balance in 2017, was integral throughout the entire brainstorming and designing process. And for as much joy that Lindor displays while playing baseball, his joy and passion for game also shines through in the new collection.
"Every time I hear Lindor 1 and the Lindor Pro collection, it just makes me smile," Lindor said in an interview with CBS Sports. "It's a dream."
Lindor, already used to the tedious nature of baseball and the sport's training, was able to easily translate that same precision, focus and patience into the designing of his new cleats, "The Lindor 1," and his clothing line. Lindor was there every step of the way, from decisions on the colors to material to the specific lettering and finishes.
"I remember going over ideas [with New Balance] and starting to put things together and then one of the shoe designers drew it up, brought it out to me and my agent, and then we took off from there," Lindor told CBS Sports. "It was very cool, and to be a part of this process, it's very humbling."
In combining his two passions -- baseball and fashion -- the collection features design motifs unique to Lindor's journey from growing up in Caguas, Puerto Rico to becoming one of the brightest young stars in the game.
"Few baseball stars have successfully been able to crossover to the lifestyle and fashion world," Pat Cassidy, Global Director, Consumer Brand Marketing and Athlete Activation at New Balance said in a press release Monday. "Lindor is a trendsetter on and off the diamond ... This collection allows us to authentically tell his story through innovative design, and inspire the next generation of stars to pursue their dreams."
The Lindor 1 footwear collection includes a classic baseball cleat style available in black and white as well as a lifestyle form. Included on all of the sneakers is a distinct floral pattern that Lindor says was inspired by his home country's national flower.
"The floral pattern is the national flower of Puerto Rico called Flor de Maga and it's hibiscus." Lindor, who has a tattoo of the flower, said. The inspiration to include the Flor de Maga design began with Lindor sharing a photo of the flowers with the New Balance team. From there, it took off and they decided that's what they were going to pick for the print of the shoes.
Along with the hibiscus design, Lindor's personal matras -- "Be Consistent" and "Stay Positive" -- are also embedded into both the apparel and footwear. Furthermore, there are several past New Balance logos mixed with Lindor's "FL" initials logo, merging both to create an old meets new look.
Lindor didn't just offer inspiration for the designs in the line, but he also gave input on the function and structure for each of his items. For the cleats, Lindor wanted to put the emphasis on support, especially after he suffered a high ankle sprain before the start of the 2019 MLB season.
"I expressed to them that I needed something that's going to give me support," Lindor said. "I don't want an ankle brace. I want something that's going to keep me steady, keep me in in the shoe and not move. And then I also wanted for outfielders to wear it and feel comfortable, infielders to wear it and feel comfortable, catchers, pitchers, everybody."
Lindor wanted to combine the comfort of a supportive sneaker and sole with a stylish look, and also have it be comfortable for all types of baseball players. The Lindor 1 offers two straps, one on the midfoot and a detachable strap to provide additional ankle support.
"That was the key, it was like how do we make it comfortable and very fashionable for the world to wear," Lindor said. "Not just on the batting cages, but to [also] wear it off the field, to the mall, to the club, to a restaurant, to any family event."
Recently, Major League Baseball has started to embrace the individuality and freedom of expression for players on the field, loosening the restrictions placed on colors and design of players' on-field footwear. Lindor thinks his new shoe comes at just the right time.
"To be able to mix fashion, baseball, my lifestyle, all of them, blend them all together and create this shoe and this collection, I think it's huge and now that we finally have more freedom of wearing different things on the field, this is a great shoe," he said.
When it comes to the fashion world, the 27-year-old Lindor is just getting starting. And, the timing of his move to New York -- a city considered a global fashion destination -- couldn't come at a better time.
"I know I'm a baseball player, my fans know I'm a baseball player, but now with these shoes and this collection, the goal is to reach those high, fashionable markets and it's great to be in New York," Lindor said. "I think to be able to connect with different people in New York is going to be very, very cool."
After his baseball career ends, Lindor says he wouldn't mind trying to expand more into the fashion world.
"I love wearing different things, I love wearing colors," Lindor said. "I think [what you wear] is a way of expressing yourself without talking. Letting people know you have an idea of what you do or how happy you are. I see myself going in that route eventually and hopefully this is the start of it."
Lindor wouldn't give any hints as to what look he'll go with for Opening Day 2021 -- his debut for the Mets. But, you can bet it's going to be boldly and confidently Francisco Lindor.
The full collection includes footwear, apparel and a headband. It will be available starting March 1, 2021.