Dallas Cowboys kicker Dan Bailey has worn the same cleats on game day since his rookie season in 2011, and doesn’t know when he’ll part ways with them.
Like a baseball player with a broken in glove, Bailey is just too comfortable with his cleats to change them. He’s had to use super glue and duct tape to hold them together, and will ride them till they completely fall apart.
“Literally, it’s going to have to come to that,” Bailey said of his most personal piece of equipment. “Because it gets comfortable, you know? I wouldn’t say it’s a superstition. It’s literally like not wearing a cleat. I’ve been wearing it for so long now it’s just like a sock.”
Bailey has the 2007 or 2008 version of the Nike Vapor, and wishes he would have stockpiled those cleats at the time. Instead, he scours the internet trying to find the same model and tests new cleats during practice and training camp.
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Nothing, though, has come close to his original pair.
“They’re still in tact enough to be functional, but they’re broken in pretty good,” Bailey said. “You go on Ebay and Amazon and try to find them, but they’re pretty hard to come by now.”
The cleats have served Bailey well in his career. The 28-year-old Oklahoma State product reached his first Pro Bowl last season, and is the most accurate kicker in NFL history (90.6 percent). He also is a consistent kickoff man with 207 touchbacks on 403 (51.4 percent) career kickoffs.
Finally, for what it’s worth, Bailey added that he only goes down a half-size from his regular shoes (11 1/2) to his cleats (11).
“I know some guys wore almost two sizes smaller and I’ve tried that, but you just run into too many problems,” Bailey said. “Your feet hurt all the time, so I’ve gotten comfortable wearing a half size down. It’s usually pretty good for me.”
Just like keeping the same cleats.