49ers Tight End, George Kittle, Credits a Former Teammate With His Sneaker Obsession

George Kittle San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles
George Kittle San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia Eagles / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages

George Kittle, The San Francisco 49ers' star tight end, is gearing up for another season on the field, despite rumors that he may miss week one. Despite a lingering injury, Kittle is happy to do some rounds with the press. Recently, he sat down for an interview and got on the topic of fashion. Kittle isn't just a football star. He is an avid sneaker collector and a fashion aficionado, too. His sneaker collection has grown over the years to include 150 pairs, and he credits former teammate Jimmy Garoppolo with getting him interested in leveling up his sneaker game. 

George Kittle says Jimmy Garoppolo helped him build his sneaker collection 

While Kittle nurses a strain ahead of the 2023 season, he's talking about fashion. In an interview with NBC Sports, Kittle said Jimmy Garoppolo's move to the Bay Area inspired him to build out his sneaker collection. He said he noticed that Garoppolo always looked fresh wearing Jordans, which inspired Kittle to go after the sneaker brand, too. 

George Kittle and Jimmy Garoppolo are photographed in the locker room before a San Fransisco 49ers game
George Kittle and Jimmy Garoppolo / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

Garoppolo's influence was more hands-on, too. Kittle said that Garoppolo would gift him shoes. The former teammates are both a size 13. Once Garoppolo started dropping Jordans in Kittle's locker, his interest in shoes grew. Kittle now does the same with his friends. He told the publication that if he hasn't worn a pair of shoes in several months, he'll gift them to a friend who is the same size. He believes sneakers should be worn, and we agree. 

Garoppolo isn't the only teammate who got Kittle into sneakers 

While Kittle publicly credited Garoppolo with helping him build his current sneaker collection, he isn't the only footballer who inspired the tight end to jump into the sneaker game. In July, Kittle noted that two former teammates' sneaker obsessions inspired him to invest in shoes. 

According to Sneaker Throne, Rob Tonyan pulled Kittle into the sneaker game when they roomed together briefly in 2018. Tonyan was often spotted wearing Jordan cleats on the field. Tonyan has officially signed with Chicago Bears for a one-year deal. While he'll be far from Kittle geographically, the former roommates are still connected by their love of shoes. 

Robert Tonyan in the endzone during a Green Bay Packers game
Robert Tonyan / Rob Leiter/GettyImages

According to the publication, Kittle's college teammate, Drake Kulick, helped pique his interest in shoes, too. Kulick wore a pair of Off-White x Nike Blazer sneakers during their college years that Kittle loved. The sneakers were released in 2018 and retailed for just $130. Today, they are selling on StockX for over $600. Kulick was a fullback for the University of Iowa Hawkeyes. He did not move on to the NFL, but he certainly still identifies as a sneakerhead.