Drawing Inspiration: Lyle Thompson's Story Behind Newest Nike Cleats

Lyle Thompson provided the inspiration for Nike's all-surface shoe, named the Alpha Huarache 6 LE "Eyes" cleat.


Today marked the release of the Nike Alpha Huarache 6 LE “Eyes” cleat, which it branded as the “next evolution of lacrosse cleat.” In our December issue, Chesapeake Bayhawks and Georgia Swarm star Lyle Thompson gives us the inspiration behind the new cleat.

Lyle Thompson draws every day.

Whether it’s tattoos for friends or graphics for Thompson Brothers Lacrosse, Thompson, a two-time Tewaaraton winner at Albany and the reigning NLL MVP with the Georgia Swarm, is nearly as gifted wielding a graphite pencil as he is a Nike Lakota.

“I like to do things with a pencil or a pen and let my mind do the work,” he says.

Thompson also is a self-proclaimed “sneaker head” whose closet overflows with Jordans, LeBrons and Kyries.

With the upcoming release of his signature Nike Alpha Huarache 6 Elite Eyes lacrosse cleat/turf shoe, Thompson has realized an opportunity to combine three of his greatest passions — drawing, lacrosse and shoes.

Not necessarily in that order, of course.

‘He’s flying over us’

Thompson grew up in the Onondaga Nation outside Syracuse, N.Y. He identifies with his native name, Deyhahsanoondey. It means, “He’s flying over us.”

An eagle eye drawn by Thompson adorns the insole of the new Huarache.

“That’s to represent an eagle’s vision and my style of play,” Thompson says.

When the Thompson brothers took their love of lacrosse from the backyard to the arena to play at the Peanuts level, Oren Lyons, faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan and a National Lacrosse Hall of Famer, told a story about the game of animals. Each had a strength. The brothers, all now playing professionally, chose their spirit animals.

“Jeremy was always the deer, Miles always the bear, Haina was always the wolf and I was always the eagle,” Thompson says.

‘On a mission’

The animal gained even greater significance to Thompson when he entered the public eye as a college lacrosse phenom at Albany. Thompson drew the eagle eye to look “fast like the shoe, but at the same time, mean as if on a mission.”

“No matter who we were playing, I had to perform, because some people were coming a long way just to watch me play,” Thompson says.







An all-surface shoe

Thompson wore the Nike Vapor Speed Turf shoes when playing on carpet or turf, but found they lacked traction for grass. With the Huarache 6 Elite Eyes, Nike created a cleat for all surfaces.

“We told them to find the in-between,” Thompson says of a Thompson Brothers Lacrosse visit to Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., to lay the groundwork for the new Huarache. “They did that, and it still performs the same way on turf or grass. The traction is just as good.”

Thompsons to a ‘T’

Thompson designed the stylized “T” logo — with a braided spine like his family’s recognizable hairstyle, one tip up and one tip down — for Thompson Brothers Lacrosse to “represent the history and the family of the game of lacrosse.”

It appears on the tongue and the back of the shoe.

Colorway

The Huarache 6 Elite Eyes are all-white with a sliver of silver in the form of a reflective feather “to represent an eagle and its strength,” Thompson says.

It always comes back to the eagle.

“His flying over us meant something, on and off the field,” he says. “That’s where the connection started.”

And with its connection to one of the sport’s transcendent talents, the Nike Alpha Huarache 6 Elite Eyes should fly off shelves.

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