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NFL Pro Bowler Victor Cruz Talks Sneakers, Style, and Playoffs

There's a big difference between tight and fitting.

Whether it’s a sharp cut that shakes a defender out of his cleats, an end-zone Salsa dance, or an impeccably tailored Calvin Klein Collection suit, New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz has always stood out for his style.

The New Jersey-born Pro Bowler has built his reputation on speed, but he’s quickly been making a name for himself as a style expert, popping up at runway shows as well as Paris Fashion Week. A self-proclaimed sneakerhead, Cruz has been noticed more for his sharp suits than his extensive sneaker collection, but he says both styles compliment his personality.

Cruz was able to take some time out while promoting his partnership with Foot Locker to offer some style advice, talk about his sneaker obsession, and talk a little football.

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Men’s Fitness: You’re working on an Instagram contest with Foot Locker. Tell us about that.

Victor Cruz: It’s called #CruzDayTuesday, and every Tuesday people can go on their Twitter or Instagram and post their sneakers for the day with the hashtag #Kickstagram. I physically go through all of it and pick my favorite sneakers for the day and post it to my own Instagram account (@TeamVic). The ones I choose win a $100 Foot Locker gift card.

MF: Are you a big sneakerhead?

VC: Absolutely.

MF: What’s your criteria for winning?

VC: It starts with a unique picture. They have to be on your feet, not just a picture of your shoe. The exclusivity is always good. Sometimes I just pick whatever sneaker I think is hot depending on how I’m feeling that day.

MF: What’s your go-to sneaker? Some sneakerheads are more into Nike SB Dunks or Nike Air Foamposites or Jordans. What’s yours?

VC: Jordan IIIs are like the Holy Grail to me because of the story behind them. Those came out on Jordan’s birthday, or the retros coming out on Jordan’s 40th birthday. When they first came out back in ’88, he wore the black ones for the dunk contest and the white ones for the All-Star game.

MF: Have you always been a collector?

VC: I’ve always kind of been a collector. It’s just that when I was younger I didn’t have the funds to collect as many as I wanted to. So now that I have the opportunity, I want to take advantage of it. I’ve been collecting for about seven years now. I started with Jordans and then I evolved to Air Forces and Foams and then Air Max 1s, Air Max 90s. I’m more well-rounded now.

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MF: You’ve been more and more involved in fashion. How has your personal style grown and broadened?

VC: We can go back to my high school years with baggy jeans and big T-shirts. Then that evolved to more formfitting clothes—things that fit and look well. I think it’s more that my taste is growing and I’m influenced by the people I’m around and things that I see and things that I grew up around. So everything that I see influences me. So being around business people or as I’ve grown in my career and people I’ve been around influence me. I’ve definitely grown from the baggy jeans to more tight-fitting or formfitting things that fit properly and aren’t oversize.

MF: I noticed you corrected yourself when you said tight versus fitting. Talk about that a little bit and how you pay attention to those details.

VC: There’s a big difference between tight and fitting. Tight is when you’re uncomfortable and you can barely walk and it looks uncomfortable. You can see that from a mile away. But fitting is when everything looks proper. The key to things fitting well is getting a tailor. Whether it’s regular clothes or a suit you should get them tailored so they fit properly. You get it tailored around the waist or around the shoulders. For athletes, I know legs are always an issue for me. But you worry about the back and shoulders because you don’t have a normal everyday body. So you have to play attention to how things fit, and a tailor is a No. 1 priority for how to address that.

I have one guy, his name is Leroy, and he’s my guy. He’s, like, my barber, man. I don’t change guys. I’ve had the same barber since I was 14 and I’ve had the same tailor for almost two years now. He’s going nowhere, unless he tries to move to China or something.

MF: What are some of those little things that guys can add to an outfit that bring it to the next level?

VC: Definitely a watch. My Audemar Piguet is something that I wear all the time. Tie bars can definitely bring some pop to a suit. I wear these lapel pins. I have a ton of them that I switch out depending on the look, from gold ones to silver ones. I just recently got into these collar bars, kind of Boardwalk Empire. I haven’t seen anyone doing that as of late. So I guess I can claim to being the first. I also have a David Yurman bracelet that’s amazing.

MF: Congrats on the win Sunday against the Washington Redskins. Talk about where the New York Giants are right now.

VC: Thanks. We needed that one. We’re in a good place. It’s been such a roller coaster for us, especially from the first half of the season to the second half. But we’re a team that stays together. We understand exactly where we are and have such good leaders that help in keeping this team together. We’re definitely in it to the very end. We’re going to fight each and every week to get to where we need to be to sneak into these playoffs and see what happens.

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