Place Kicking Shoes Question

This is a sports related question, so I assume it goes here…

I just noticed that the San Diego Chargers kicker is wearing two different colored football shoes. A black football shoe on his right (kicking) foot, and a white football shoe on his left foot.

I assume he wears different colored shoes because his ‘kicking shoe’ is a special shoe designed just for place kickers. Assuming that’s correct, why can’t he get his kicking shoe in the same color as his non-kicking shoe? What am I missing here? Or is this some kind of fashion statement?

(Former kicker in high school here)

Kickers generally wear a different style of shoe on their kicking foot. The plant foot needs good traction, but the kicking foot needs a good surface at the top of the shoe for contacting the ball. Why these are often different colors, I have no idea. I believe that they’re usually wearing a football cleat on the plant foot, and a soccer shoe on the kicking foot.

Kickers also were a different size shoe on their kicking foot (this seems to be an idea that took hold after I stopped kicking). Most kickers will wear a shoe that’s at least one size smaller, if not two sizes smaller, on their kicking foot. I imagine that this is danged uncomfortable, but the idea is to compress the foot, which is supposed to provide a more solid surface for contacting the ball.

Then again, it might all be superstition, since kickers tend to be a bit on the flaky side. (I remember punters who would lace their kicking shoes all in one direction, in the theory that this would let them impart a “rifling” action to the ball. :rolleyes: )

I would bet that the answer is “Why should he?”. Perhaps with some effort he could go find appropriate shoes in more-or-less matching colors, by why put forth the effort if nobody is making him?

Generally speaking, the NFL considers the color of the shoes to be part of the player’s uniform, and they do make players conform. A team will designate the color for their shoes as part of their uniform, and all of their players need to wear shoes of that same color, or face a fine (yes, the NFL is extremely rigid, to the point of ridiculousness, on their uniform code).

My guess would be that the league has given kickers an exemption to this rule, but only for the shoes on their kicking feet.

Here, in all its glorious detail, is the bit out of the NFL rulebook on shoes. I’ve bolded the section which contains separate rules for kickers and punters:

The last sentence shows that a kicker (or punter) can wear a shoe that’s white, black, or the “team color”, and “any combination” suggests that the shoes do not need to match in color.

** - Undoubtedly a rule that was put in due to Tom Dempsey (who was missing most of his kicking foot, though Dempsey did not wear a prosthesis when he kicked).

*** - Undoubtedly put in to address barefoot kickers (such as Tony Franklin) and kickers who only wore socks (such as Chuck Ramsey).

Good answers. Thanks!