Whether they're working out at the gym or walking to Lenoir to grab a bite, students are showing off their Tar Heel pride — and looking trendy — through UNC colorway shoes.
These sneakers, produced by brands like Nike and its subsidiary, Air Jordan, feature the school’s distinctive Carolina Blue. Men's basketball head coach Roy Williams has often been spotted wearing these kicks courtside, and they’ve even appeared on stars such as LeBron James. Some University students wear and collect them, including sophomore business student Devin Street, who has UNC colorway Air Jordan 1 Mid shoes.
“Coming to UNC, I wanted to have a certain type of UNC-colored shoes,” Street said. "I already owned the UNC Pegasus shoes, and then I decided I wanted something less athletic-based and more lifestyle-based, so that’s what really drew me to the Jordan 1’s."
Street said researching the shoes and learning about their popularity made him more interested in shoes in general. He gets most of his shoes through limited-supply initial releases or through StockX, a popular resale website. Meanwhile, first-year economics student Victoria Du chooses to get many of her shoes through the GOAT app, another resale outlet.
Du appreciates the shoes in part for their appearance. She has a pair of UNC colorway Air Jordan 1 Low shoes.
“They’re very versatile when you’re pairing them with outfits,” Du said.
In addition to looking stylish, teaching assistant professor at the Hussman School Livis Freeman said the shoes help convey a sense of school spirit. He said these shoes help the University stand out.
“I think it does so much for our University in general and for our athletic program,” Freeman said. “Everybody knows it’s not sky blue, it’s Carolina Blue. And when you talk about ‘blue bloods,' there’s Kentucky, there’s Duke, and we always stand out with our Carolina Blue.”
Freeman said that Williams’ choice to wear UNC colorway shoes at games helps draw attention and popularity to these shoes — and that his nonchalant approach to wearing them adds even more swagger to the look.
Because these shoes are inspired by the University and its color scheme, some would like to see UNC students get early access to these exclusive shoes.
“I would love for there one day to be a student-exclusive shoe,” Street said. “With the way it is right now, very few students are able to get their hands on UNC colorway shoes in the first place.”
Du agreed, saying that this would afford students the opportunity to avoid overpriced resales.
A new UNC colorway shoe is expected to come out on March 6 – the Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG "University Blue."
Freeman, who has worked with the Air Jordan brand, said outside of making shoes inspired by the University, the company walks the walk by helping students who aspire to work in the industry.
“They understand how valuable it is to have these relationships,” Freeman said. “Not just putting out shoes and exclusive orders, but actually working with students and having them be a part of the process.”
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