On “Ballers,” the characters and storylines are larger than life — and so are the kicks.
The HBO drama, which returned for Season 2 in July, follows the lives of the athletes and executives behind a Miami football team.
Whether it’s businessmen in Gucci loafers or players donning the latest Jordans when they’re off the field, costume designer Tiffany Hasbourne told Footwear News that while the series portrays the excess of the industry through character wardrobes, it’s a pity that viewers don’t always get to see the full look on their screens.
“I have a love-hate relationship with shoes,” Hasbourne shared on Wednesday after participating in the Sourcing at Magic costume designers panel in Las Vegas. “On ‘Ballers,’ it’s all about the boys’ shoe game on there. We complete the look head to toe; we don’t know if they will see it, but it’s there just in case.”
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson stars as an NFL financial manager and wears a lot of formal shoes by Magnanni, as well as other styles through his partnership with Under Armour, Hasbourne said. Meanwhile, actors John David Washington and Donovan W. Carter, who portray football players, rock “high-end boy sneakers” by labels such as Maison Margiella, Balenciaga and Jordans.
For Carter, a former professional football player, and Johnson, a longtime professional wrestler, finding the right footwear means tapping labels that produce multiple large sizes.
“We’re loyal to brands that will help us get big sizes,” Hasbourne explained. “I know there are certain high-end designers that carry up to a 14, like Balenciaga and Giuseppe Zanotti. For the girls we use Giuseppe, Louboutin, Givenchy and Alaia.”
Some of the new storylines and characters introduced in the second season also affected shoe styles. “We had Andy Garcia this season, and we did a lot of Gucci loafers on him,” Hasbourne said of Johnson’s on-screen rival.
“Vernon’s character [actor Donovan W. Carter] this season got hurt playing paintball,” Hasbourne added, “and his character was at home depressed with a boot on his foot, so it was a matter of finding a house slipper or cool socks or buying a sneaker that we would use only one of — you don’t want to spend $400 on a sneaker that he uses only one.”