words_Brandon Richard New Balance is generally known for producing some of the best running shoes in the market. However, they've recently attempted to make a big splash in the area of baseball performance. They kicked off that movement by adding Red Sox pitcher Manny Declarmen and second basemen Dustin Pedroia to their athlete roster. Their latest acquisition is another big step forward in becoming a baseball performance apparel powerhouse. Yesterday, New Balance announced that they have signed New York Mets ace pitcher Johan Santana to a multi-year deal. In addition to providing Santana with on-field footwear and off-field apparel, New Balance will sponsor Santana's charity events, including the Johan Santana All-Star Bowling Classic on June 21 to benefit the Johan Santana Foundation. "It is extremely important to me to give back to my community, here in the U.S. and in Venezuela, so I am excited to have New Balance's support at my upcoming bowling event," says Santana. "The New Balance cleats are comfortable pitch after pitch, which makes a big difference on the mound." "We are thrilled to partner with Johan, an athlete at the top of his game, who shares our passion and enthusiasm for giving back to communities in which we live and work," says Mark Cavanaugh, General Manager for Team Sports at New Balance. "We look forward to supporting him both on the diamond and off the field in his charitable endeavors." On the diamond, Santana is wearing a special Mets make-up of the New Balance 1101 baseball cleat. The 1101 has been dubbed a "running shoe on spikes" and features high performance running technologies to eliminate spike pressure and give an athlete unparalleled comfort and fit on the diamond. Check out photos of Santana's exclusive cleat below.

via New Balance Baseball & Yahoo