In the sultry days of summer, it was the bitter cold days that forced Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos to change the shoes he’d be wearing this season.
Through 2015, Santos sports two different Nike cleats: a football cleat for his plant foot, a soccer cleat for his kicking foot. That kicking cleat was a Nike Vapor, but the leather padding on the toe was so thin that it left Santos’ foot bruised when he went through his pre-game kicks with footballs hardened by cold winter weather.
This year, he’s switched to a Nike Tiempo shoe on his kicking foot, which includes a more padded toe to protect his foot.
“I kind of had to limit myself in warmups so my foot wouldn’t bruise, and that actually happened late in the year,” Santos said. “I”m hoping that (the new shoe is) going to absorb a little bit of that cold weather.”
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Though his career so far, Santos is 14-of-16 in games where the temperature drops below 40 degrees. The only two kicks he’s missed have been more than 50 yards long.
Through his two-year career, his longest field goal is a 53-yarder, which he’s hit twice. But he’s struggled with long distance kicks in general, going 4-for-8 last season from beyond 50 yards.
In his third training camp, he feels like his leg is continuing to progress, and, right now, is the strongest its ever been. As he moved into Scanlon Hall at Missouri Western on Friday, he said his longest distance he’s comfortable with is 63 yards.
“I don’t know if it’s cause I’m growing, or just because I’m getting stronger, but I just feel like every year I’m kicking farther and farther,” Santos said. “I keep always pushing myself. … If the team needs me, I can perform at those kind of distances.”