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Colorado's 'Queen of Shoe Art' and Boys and Girls Club team up to design Broncos cleats

Breanna Berry customized 61 pairs of cleats and sneakers for Broncos players and executives for the 'My Cause, My Cleats' NFL campaign.

DENVER — Breanna Berry is the self-appointed 'Drip Queen' of Colorado shoe art. The professional customizer's studio is decked out with memorabilia from NFL and NBA athletes, as well as rappers and rock stars all holding her customized shoes. 

Berry's prized possession -- a golden converse sneaker -- is the centerpiece of the shelf in her basement studio.

"I won Paint Wars two years in a row," she said, holding her trophy. Paint Wars pitted the most competitive sneaker customizers against each other in a reality show format.

But for the past three years, Berry's top line on her resume is truly one to envy.

"This is my third year working with the Broncos. It's been so dope. It's fun pressure," she said.

Berry is the official shoe designer for the 'My Cause, My Cleats' campaign for the Denver Broncos. Each year, the NFL allows players to pick out a campaign to represent on their cleats during a game. The Broncos always have an enormous amount of representatives, and the team picks up the bill.

"This is the most I've done, this year. In 2019, I did 48 [pairs], in 2020, 51, and this year 61," she said. "All of these causes are near and dear to the players' hearts, so to be able to make that come to life for them, means everything."

The players chose the campaign and can request any specifics on their cleats. The rest is left up to the 'Queen' to design.

"Some people want like names, like of their family members, some people want them simple, some people want them to have fun and be crazy," Berry said. "I love the ASPCA ones, put a little dog on them! The ones with portraits, I like to do." 

The process for all 61 shoes takes roughly eight weeks to complete, which is rapid speed compared to the four weeks she requires for her regular customers. Berry said the end result is worth the overtime.

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"It's so sweet seeing the reactions of whoever they love and whoever they're representing. I love it! Honored, in 'all caps'!"

Berry isn't the only one who was honored. The Broncos teamed up with the Boys and Girls Club and found one additional shoe customizer.

"It was just like a total shock to see somebody seeing my potential and my work," Eunique Lee said. "So it was exciting to have that opportunity."

Broncos safety Justin Simmons met 16-year-old Eunique Lee during one of his frequent visits to the club last spring. He was inspired by her artwork and creativity.

"I showed him some of my work and he was like, 'if I bring you some shoes, any old shoes, can you do that?' and I was like, 'of course, anything,'" Lee said. "I kind of surprised him and made them look like they were Broncos shoes, but I did some research and found out his two favorite anime characters. He was just so surprised to see how I could turn those into what he actually wanted."

That first pair of kicks became a kickstarter for Lee to put her own spin on Simmons' cleats during this current campaign. 

"They're really, really, really cool. I think she did an amazing job. She's super talented," Simmons said. "I think that's what's so special and why I like doing what I do with our youth, they're so talented and so special and all you have to do is give them the time of day. And you can see it and you know, they need that."

Lee designed a pair of Simmons' cleats dedicated to his Justin Simmons Foundation. The trademark she left was a cartoon of kids playing on the back left cleat, as well as stick figure kids holding hands.

"I loved her cleats, I think she did a great job," Berry said, who also designed a separate pair for Simmons and his Play 60 campaign. "I think they blend in just perfect with all of the ones that I have done. I think they turned out beautiful."

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In this specific field of visual arts, the importance of visibility and empowerment isn't lost on either of these women.

"There's not really a lot of female shoe customizers, so I can like follow after and learn experiences from her through customizing shoes," Lee said.

Berry was humbled by the thought of being a role model to any young designer, but especially a young woman.

"I love that and I just want to continue to inspire, motivate, and lead everybody to a good path in their artwork," Berry said.

Inspiring the next generation, one step--and shoe--at a time.

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