McCormick alum Peter Hosbein creates cleat-cleaning device used by pro athletes


Source: Eugene Hong

The CleatClear, developed in part by Peter Hosbein (McCormick ‘19), is a new device specifically designed to clean dirt and grass out of athletes’ cleats.

Benjamin Rosenberg, Senior Staffer

Throughout the course of a baseball, football or soccer game, players are bound to get large amounts of dirt and grass stuck in their cleats. Athletes are often seen using popsicle sticks, garden tools and spiked mats to clean them.

But now, thanks in part to Peter Hosbein (McCormick ‘19), a more effective solution is on the market.

Hosbein, along with Luke Schneider, a Stetson University graduate, developed the CleatClear, a new device designed to clean dirt and grass out of athletes’ cleats. The CleatClear became available to the public at the beginning of September, but was already being used by professional baseball and football players.

The device looks similar to a wrench, but is open on both ends, with one opening significantly wider than the other so it can be used for cleats with both small and large spikes.

“I don’t think there is a similar product out there,” Hosbein said. “This is designed for metal cleats and plastic cleats. It’s pretty portable, it’s only five inches by one inch, so you can carry it around in your pocket. The mats they normally use are pretty big and bulky and sometimes don’t get all the dirt, so this is a little more specific in its utility.”

Schneider, who played baseball and soccer in high school, first came up with the idea for the product, but he didn’t have the skillset to digitally prototype it. That was where Hosbein came in.

Hosbein met Schneider through a mutual friend the summer after his first year at Northwestern. He did not work on the CleatClear while at school, but he was a star student, graduating magna cum laude with a degree in materials science and engineering. He also completed the Segal Design Certificate, receiving the Director’s Award. In 2018, Hosbein won an award for the most outstanding junior in the MSE department.

Schneider asked Hosbein, an engineer at W. L. Gore and Associates, to help him design the prototype, and once he did, they found contacts in South Carolina to mass produce it.

Schneider worked some of his contacts in baseball, knowing the device would quickly gain traction if major league players were using it. Logan Gilbert, a pitcher in the Seattle Mariners’ organization, and Alex Katz, another minor league pitcher in the Kansas City Royals’ farm system, gave testimonials on the product for the CleatClear’s website.

“Peter and I make a great team, and I saw that from the first time I met him,” Schneider said. “We have common interests, but definitely complementary skill sets. Peter is great at the engineering side of things and designing, so he knows about testing all the different materials we thought would be good for the product.”

McCormick Prof. Pam Daniels, who works in the Segal Design Institute and knew Hosbein well in college, said he is good at looking at things through a human-centered lens.

“He is really curious and willing to explore what the struggles that people face are,” Daniels said. “He has all of the traits necessary to become a successful engineer and a successful entrepreneur, if that’s what he chooses to do.”

Now that the CleatClear is publicly available, Hosbein and Schneider hope to sell it to amateur athletes, from youth leagues to high schools and colleges. They have a few other people helping them on design and marketing, but the business is owned and operated by Hosbein and Schneider.

Their next steps are to create different variations on the original design to be used in specific sports or on different types of cleats. The product is made in the United States — at the manufacturing facility in South Carolina — and is patent-pending.

“It would be nice to see if this gained some traction, if players are interested in tools designed specifically to help them perform at their best and perform more safely,” Hosbein said. “It’s something that’s designed with the player in mind. If it’s successful, then we’ll have a little bit more time to invest in the next generation.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @bxrosenberg

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