Florida A&M University just got some new bragging rights with the release of their very own Nike Dunk Low. The sleek sneaker was launched exclusively on Friday at APB Store at CollegeTown.
Students, alumni and sneakerheads lined up outside the West Gaines Street store for a chance to purchase the shoes which are only available at the Tallahassee APB store while supplies last. No information has been released on how many $120 shoes are available.
“It’s something special for an HBCU to have their own pair of dunks,” said Angie Smith, an FAMU alumnus who came out to buy a pair of sneakers and support her friend. Caitlyn DavisFAMU graduate chosen by Nike to design the FAMU model of the shoe.
“FAMU is everything to me. I’m also a sneaker collector, so to get a shoe designed by my friend to come out, I had to come here and wait in line,” Smith said inside the store.
The sneaker is designed with FAMU’s campus and culture in mind. “WE BRAGG DIFFERENT,” with the school’s founding year, runs across the back of the shoes to represent Bragg Stadium.
Below the sneaker’s tongue is the wording “Strike, Strike and Strike Again” and the bottom is an orange and green snakeskin with an icy blue cover. The laces are adorned with “FAMULY” and embroidered in green with the acronym “COLAC”, for the “college of love and charity”.
The shoes will be available on Nike’s SNKRS app to Oct. 18, according to Davis’ Instagram.
Davis, an Atlanta native, said he worked on the shoe for more than a year, even consulting FAMU President Larry Robinson on design options. Davis graduated from FAMU in 2018 with a degree in biology/pre-medicine. She previously collaborated with Nike on the first Yardrunner campaign, which featured the HBCUs and their rich history and culture.
“We got to talk to some big executives at Nike and show them that HBCUs are the culture, and we’re the ones directing the dollars to their shoes,” Davis said of herself and other designers at the other Nike HBCU dunks. Other HBCUs with their own design are Clark University in Atlanta, A&T University in North Carolina, and Tennessee State University.
The Tallahassee APB store is run by Tallahassee native Lunden Austin. He invited local artist, Matthew Forrest, also known as Briteso, to do a live painting of the sneakers inside the store. DJ Demp provided the music and free food was available from Pineapple.
Two Marching 100 members were on hand to support Davis.
“They asked Marching 100 members to come out and support them and I think that’s really awesome,” said Rae’kwan Bostic, an alto saxophone member of Marching 100. “I love all the publicity FAMU gets. shoe.”
Hopeful shoppers lined the streets early, some queuing for hours and traveling far and wide for a chance to flirt with the fiery sneakers.
“I heard it was first come, first served, so I got out early,” said Quentin Williams, who was in line at 9 a.m. with friends for the noon opening.
On Thursday, the APB donated a pair of sneakers to Willie Simmons, the head football coach of Robinson and FAMU.
Jordan Smith, a FAMU business administration student and owner of a second-hand clothing company called Gar-bage, said he was inspired by designer Caitlyn Davis’ entrepreneurial spirit and her love for FAMU.
“We are truly here to recognize and respect all that FAMU has done and all that we are doing for FAMU.”
Andre Rhodes never attended FAMU, but he left Miami on Friday morning to buy the sneakers and add them to his sneaker collection.
“I think this is the best HBCU collection Nike has done so far,” Rhodes said.
Contact Democratic writer Alaijah Brown at ABrown1@gannett.com and on Twitter at @BrownAlaijah.