Robert Griffin’s finesse on the football field earned him the Heisman Trophy, but now his fashion flair has created a surge of interest for foot apparel featuring the Man of Steel.
The whimsical Superman socks, complete with a red cape, that Griffin wore to the televised awards ceremony Saturday became a hot topic online immediately after he debuted them in an interview during the ESPN program.
The Baylor University quarterback donned them again Monday on the “Late Show With David Letterman,” where he presented the “Top Ten Thoughts That Went Through Robert Griffin III’s Mind When He Won the Heisman Trophy.”
Griffin purchased the superhero socks from Spencer’s Gifts in Richland Mall, store manager Sam Johnstone said.
She sold them to him a few weeks ago, she said, and didn’t think about it again until he lifted a pant leg to reveal them on TV on Saturday,
“When I saw them, I was like, ‘Oh, my goodness! He bought those from me,’ ” said Johnstone, who watched the ceremony at home with her husband. “I was so excited.”
But fans of the fancy socks are having a hard time getting ahold of them. Spencer’s sold its last pair of Superman socks Monday morning; the store is working on getting more. In the meantime, Johnstone said, customers have been buying other Superman items with capes, like a shirt, backpacks and even glasses.
“I was surprised when we got the glasses in. I thought they were kind of silly, but when people found out the socks were gone they wanted anything else with the cape on it,” Johnstone said.
Online retailers like Amazon.com also were out of the socks. And on eBay, the normally $12 socks were going for $32 to as much as $180 on Monday afternoon.
Baylor football season ticketholder Anthony George, of Waco, said his wife looked for the caped socks online as soon as Griffin unveiled them at the ceremony.
She found a pair through the Superman Museum in Metropolis, Ill. She browsed other websites looking for the socks with no luck, and when she returned to the museum’s site 10 minutes later, the socks were unavailable.
“My parents live about 15 miles from the museum. My mother drove over there today and they said, ‘We had online orders that filled all we had in stock, so we can’t give them to you,’ ” said George, who wanted the socks for his 13-year-old son as a Christmas present.
George said his mother did buy a pair of argyle-patterned Superman socks but, alas, they have no cape.
Irving, Texas-based Bioworld Merchandising is the manufacturer of the caped socks, a design it debuted during the summer and sold directly to retailers. The socks were picked up by Spencer’s, 80s Tees and The Hush Radar, but by October they were completely sold out.
It was unclear how many pairs of socks were available for purchase last weekend.
More on the way
April Graves, brand and marketing manager for Bioworld, said the socks will be relaunched in January and sold exclusively online at www.thehushradar.com, one of its affiliated brands.
She said the company is honored that Griffin has taken a liking to its products.
The quarterback wore a pair of Elmo socks Bioworld makes during a separate ESPN interview, but she did not know if those socks have seen a similar boost in popularity.
“He’s such an amazing player,” Graves said. “It’s really great to see someone so young have so much success and show such dignity with themselves, and for him to be associated with us was just an honor.”
Griffin’s socks aren’t the only piece of clothing in hot demand since he became the first Baylor player to win the coveted Heisman.
Today, QTI Apparel of Waco will begin selling official green and gold Heisman winner T-shirts featuring Griffin’s No. 10.
Jeffrey Paul, retail and licensing manager for the store, said QTI ordered the shirts as soon as the Heisman trust began printing them Sunday. The company sent two truck drivers in an 18-wheeler to drive nonstop to Jacksonville, Fla., where the shirts were being printed, so they could have 3,000 available for purchase this afternoon.
“When we have someone that is so successful as Robert, and who is just a great ambassador for the community, everybody wants to be a part of it,” Paul said. “For a lot of people, that means having something like a T-shirt or pennant or a hat, something they can look back 10 years from now and relive all that excitement that we experienced Saturday night.”
Paul said QTI has a temporary retail store at 300 S. Valley Mills, at the intersection with Franklin Avenue.
The shirts also will be sold at Academy Sports and Outdoors and local Bush’s Chicken stores.
QTI also is sending shirts to a Bush’s Chicken in Copperas Cove, where Griffin played high school football.
QTI also has six different Alamo Bowl T-shirt designs for sale commemorating the Bears’ bowl appearance later this month.