NewsPositively Detroit


Pontiac Middle School students receive free Detroit-themed Air Jordans

Roland Coit, the shoe’s designer, said he wanted to bring the shoes to Pontiac, the place he grew up and calls home
Posted at 6:47 PM, Oct 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-20 18:55:05-04

PONTIAC, Mich. (WXYZ) — Detroit is one of three cities in the world to get its own city-themed Air Jordans. Detroiters have been able to buy them, but starting Friday, the shoes go on sale globally.

Over 100 eighth graders at Pontiac Middle School received their very own pairs for free.

Sean Parker-Smith was one of the lucky eighth graders.

“I’m grateful for that,” Parker-Smith said.

He said he has worn them once and he’ll wear them again.

“But don’t know about right now. I have to wear them for important occasions,” Parker-Smith said.

Faith Smith is also an eighth grader at Pontiac Middle School. She also received a pair. She was impressed to see her town prominently featured.

“Usually you don’t see places in Michigan be represented. It’s usually other big states and cities,” Smith explained.

She said shoes are important.

“The people I’m around, shoes are, I can say, a big deal because depending on what you wear, it shows what your personality is and I guess in a way who you are,” Smith said.

Roland Coit, the designer and owner of Two 18 and Burn Rubber sneaker boutiques, knows this intimately. He explained he decided to give over a hundred pairs away to students at Pontiac Middle School after attending a career day there last year.

“I knew in a year I would have this platform and I would have these eyes. And I’m like, what better place to bring them than the place I grew up and called home,” Coit said.

The first thing many people will notice if they pick up a pair is how many areas are represented in the design.

“It’s bigger than me, it’s bigger than us, it’s bigger than one city. If I’m given an opportunity to tell that story, that’s what I’m going to tell,” Coit said.

He pulled open the shoe box and explained what’s inside.

“This is the first thing they see is a map of southeastern Michigan. Detroit is circled. You can’t see it on this, but Pontiac is underlined. My first store, Burn Rubber, is in Royal Oak, so there’s an X there,” Coit said.

He also explained why Flint had a heart circled around it.

“Flint is like this forgotten land in time. I put a heart around it just to show it’s love. It’s always loved,” Coit said.

He explained the shoe itself is made of super premium materials.

“The outside is kind of a semi-nappy suede and the inside is kind of the croc print,” Coit said.

Even the bottom sole is symbolic.

“This Flint water crisis was a major thing and they didn’t just turn the switch back on and it’s all good. People are still going through this. We had the idea to represent that on the shoe starting with the color of the dirty, murky water and as we move forward to get back to clean, fresh water,” Coit explained.

He admitted that the moment and whole experience had not fully hit him yet.

“To get this opportunity and to finally feel like we’re being seen and we’re being recognized, and me being the vessel or the vehicle that’s able to kind of bring that to this area and our people, is awesome and fulfilling to me,” Coit said.