It's in the MLS team's boot room.
Thanks to today's style of loud, bright designs for soccer boots, Toronto FC equipment manager Malcolm Phillips might want to consider donning shades when handling his team's footwear.
Fluorescent orange. Neon blue. Garish green. Hardly a smudge of black in sight.
"That's what they want. The young ones want the colours," said Phillips, a hint of sadness in his voice.
"They've got some really wicked colours nowadays," he added, with wicked clearly not a term of endearment in the Phillips lexicon.
Soccer boots have gone Miami Vice these days, but with electric colours taking over from pastels.
"When I first got my first shoes, they were black and white and that's all that was on offer," recalled the 47-year-old Phillips.
Not only are today's colours wild but they are mixed and matched, often making for an eye-popping palate.
"I don't know how many colours you can actually come up with. I think we've used most of the rainbow," said Phillips.
The colourful boots for the 28-man first team are all on display in a small room attached to TFC's stylish dressing room at its new training centre in Downsview Park in northern Toronto.
The players file through the room en route from the training field to their locker-room, storing the boots on wall pegs as they go. There are no name plates, the players remember where they are.
Each players has two or three pairs stored in the room. Those with individual shoe contracts might have as many as six or seven, some of which are stored in bags.
Phillips says new shoe models tend to appear south of the border first, although those with boot contracts tend to get them as soon as they come out.
Captain Torsten Frings is one of the few old-school players, even if his boot of choice is white. He wears a Nike six-stud model.
"He loves those," said Phillips. "He wears those every game."
Winger Joao Plata, currently on loan in his native Ecuador, likes the loudest colours.
"He wore every colour. It used to drive (former manager) Aron Winter mad," said Phillips.
Richard Eckersley wears electric blue and red.
"It's just a boot but we could only wear black when we were younger when I was at Manchester United," said the English defender. "The academy coach would never let us wear any colours so I think I'm trying to make up for it now."
Jeremy Hall is just as easy to spot in a boot that looks like it was carved out of an orange traffic cone, with black and yellow trim.
A member of the elite Generation Adidas sponsored class coming out of college, Hall says he wears what he is given.
"I prefer just the white basic cleats," the American defender confided.
Does anyone at TFC still wear black?
"The coaches," said Phillips.
Manager Paul Mariner, a 59-year-old former England international, favours the black-and-white Adidas Copa Mundial that dates back to 1979. "The greatest boots ever made," he said.
Goalie coach Stewart Kerr prefers the old-school black-and-yellow version of the Predator. And assistant coach Jim Brennan just got a black-and-green model.
"It's a fashion item," Mariner said of today's boot. "Adidas and Nike, they want to sell boots to the young kids. It's what the sponsors want the player to wear and it's as simple as that."
A neon lime boot has never graced his foot.
"Nope. Nor a white one," he said.
Today's boot essentially comes in two types: firm ground and soft ground, with different stud profiles to be used depending on field conditions.
The firm ground shoes come with moulded plastic studs that are not removable. The soft ground version may have nine longer and tougher studs, of which six can be replaced.
Goalies usually opt for the longer studs.
Both sets are ultra light but still manage to be pretty sturdy, according to Phillips.
Those without shoe contracts have to wait for Phillips to hand out new models when he gets them and deems that replacements are needed.
Colours change every six months or so, so you may be out of luck if you want a replacement pair.
Most players like to stick with one pair as long as possible.
"Because once you've got into them, they like the fit and they don't want to change," Phillips explained. "Some wear them until they literally fall off their feet — which sometimes isn't good during a game and then they have to put a new pair on.
"I try and get them to start a new pair, give it a week just to get your feel back into them."
Others may turn on a soccer game on TV and see something they like. The requests soon make their way to Phillips.
"All the time," he said.
The shoe may not be immediately available as shoe companies can use high-profile games or competitions to serve as a teaser for a new boot.
Across the hall in Phillips' domain, shoe boxes are piled high atop shelves. Each costs $200-plus in stores.
MLS is affiliated to Adidas these days, meaning every players has to wear that brand unless — like Frings — they entered the league under contract to a different shoe manufacturer.
During his MLS career as equipment manager, Phillips has also worked with Nike and Kappa.
Adidas sends a bulk shipment to Phillips in January. The equipment manager stocks up on popular sizes, usually in a range from seven to 12.5.
For those wondering, eight through 10 are the sizes most needed.
In olden days in England, young apprentice players used to clean the boots of established first-team players. Phillips has never seen it happen in MLS.Suggest a correction