Princeton native designs custom cleats for WVU football

Published: Apr. 30, 2022 at 2:17 AM EDT
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BLUEFIELD, W.Va. (WVVA) - One Princeton native is taking his talents to Division I college athletics. While he did get his foot in the door, it’s not to play a position on the field... but in a sense -- Jason Farley will be the sole of the team.

Beginning as a pandemic hobby in 2021, Farley brings a natural talent to designing athletic footwear. His day job: nursing.

“I’m an ICU nurse,” Farley said. “I get to see a lot of bad things happen... and COVID -- everybody kind of felt the brunt of it. I needed something to cope with not being the outgoing person I usually am.”

...Thirteen months later, his hobby is off and running.

“I never imagined I would be where I am right now,” he said.

Farley is designing custom cleats for a Division I football program.

“I was like... nobody is going to get this done for me,” Farley said. “If I want to grow and get better and get my name out there, I’m going to have to reach out.”

Living in North Carolina -- the Mercer County native pitched his designs to UNC, Duke and Wake Forest... with no success, his mind took him down country roads.

“I was like dude, you’re from West Virginia,” Farley said. “Why have you not hit up WVU?”

“So for West Virginia, I had reached out to the head equipment manager at WVU. He immediately reached back out to me the next day after I had emailed him...”

After working through the details -- just like a favorite pair of footwear -- it was the perfect fit.

“I did 14 pair for them,” Farley said. “I did two for the director of football operations, two for the head coach, Neal Brown, and 10 for players. That was five different designs that I did. I did that in two and a half weeks, and it took me like 70 hours to complete.”

But Farley’s feet hadn’t crossed the finish line...

“On short notice, I was told that they wanted me to come up the day before the spring game to present the shoes at a team meeting. I immediately arranged some plans...”

“We were walking to the meeting room, and the director of football said ‘are you ready to talk in front of a bunch of guys?...’ I said -- ‘No, but let’s do it.’”

“The coolest experience I’ve literally ever had in my life. Everybody seemed to love my designs I did for them, everybody treated me with way more respect than I thought I would get... I knew I would get a great amount of respect from everybody, but they treated me like one of their own,” he said.

While nursing still pays the bills for now, a full-time shoe customization career isn’t out of the question...

“If I can get some professional athletes, maybe one day,” Farley said.

For now, he is enjoying his pace -- as he is just beginning his race into big-time athletic footwear design... a journey that started at his kitchen table and has taken him all the way to Division I in a year’s time.

“Coming from Princeton, big things don’t always happen for people back home. So it’s been a really cool way to represent.”

If you’re interested in custom shoes from Farley -- you can connect with him on social media: @farleycustoms.

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