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Pittsburgh Artist Makes Cole Holcomb Mullet-Inspired Cleats



Steelers LB Cole Holcomb
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Cole Holcomb at training camp, Aug. 2, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Pittsburgh-based artist Cody Sabol might have finally outdone himself with his latest cleats for Steelers linebacker Cole Holcomb.

Sabol is a painter who makes custom cleats for football players, outside of his other art, and members of the Pittsburgh Steelers have been frequent customers over the years.

But no one has ever had a pair of cleats anything like the ones Sabol made for Holcomb this week.

“These are crazy,” Holcomb said when Sabol delivered them to the Steelers facility on Thursday, and with good reason. Sabol came up with the idea on his own, and the Steelers equipment staff encouraged him to go through with it before he even met or talked with Holcomb.

The mullet has been Holcomb’s visual signature for some time now — it spawned a Twitter account when he was in Washington — and he says it’s sticking around for good.

“It ain’t going anywhere,” Holcomb said in March. “I did trim it up a little in the season. It was getting as long as my wife’s hair. It’s definitely become a part of the brand, part of what I am. It’s grown on me. I love it. I wouldn’t cut it for my wedding. I don’t play on cutting it anytime soon.”

Sabol envisioned each cleat as like a miniature helmet, with the Steelers logo on the side, a gold stripe down the middle, Holcomb’s 55 on the front in the team’s familiar italic font, and of course, some flowing locks out the back.

Steelers Cole Holcomb

Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Cole Holcomb at training camp, Aug. 2, 2023. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The construction proved a bit more difficult than the idea, but Sabol eventually was able to find wigs designed for American Girl dolls that would look the part and hold up to being glued and stitched into the back of the cleat.

Holcomb will obviously not wear the cleats in a game, but he may wear them for warmups.

Sabol has made cleats for a number of different Steelers players, including T.J. Watt, Kenny Pickett, Cam Heyward and Pat Freiermuth, but he’s never done anything as outrageous as this latest design.

Sabol does all kinds of painting, not just cleats — he recently painted a portrait of Terry Bradshaw in eight minutes — and he’s fine with the cleats side of things being an outlet for whatever inspiration he has, however off-the-wall it may be.

“If there’s a really good idea out there, then we’ll do it,” Sabol said. “I have about one good idea a season. That was it.”

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