By Ya Zhou
Michael Jordan’s latest sneaker won’t go on sale till the weekend, but eager buyers were already lined up downtown by mid-week.
Approximately 100 lawn chairs were set up in a line outside Nike’s Jordan Brand retail shop on South State Street, with a handful of eager buyers waiting for the release of the new Air Jordan Retro 2 Just Don sneaker package.
Bundled up against the cold on an overcast day, several people sat on their chairs while others stood in line, willing to wait to fork over $650 for the adult shoe package or $350 for children’s shoes. The packages will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis.
Some of those in line prepared tents and covered them with waterproof cloth before the chilly night.
Jacee Cuadrado, 38, who said he had been waiting since Monday afternoon, was one of those who sat in chairs that reached a half-block south to East Monroe Street.
“When I got here yesterday morning, the line was already very long.” said Cuadrado, who had a blanket and planned to camp out all night. He said he was lined up to hold spots for several friends.
“I am just sitting out here for them until Friday and then they will be here to purchase the shoes on their own,” he said. “Some people like to collect shoes, some people like to wear them, and some people re-sell them. It’s more like business now.”
The latest Jordan sneaker package comes in a red box that holds the cream-colored leather Just Don shoe, decorated with red tags inside the heel—one that reads “Just Don” and one labeled with “23,” Jordan’s number on the Chicago Bulls–plus a red leather baseball cap and a gold Air Jordan pin. The package and a matching leather jacket (not included in the package) were shown in the display box at the Jordan shop. The Just Don tag was attached to the shoelaces.
The Just Don shoes were designed by Don C, a Chicago native and designer from the South Side who also collaborated with Nike on the first Just Don shoe in 2015.
Karina Martinez and her friend sat chatting with each other. They had been in the line for two hours. “To be honest, I don’t even know the name of the shoe. We are just here to take care of other people’s spots [in line],” said Martinez.
Keaton Deez, 23, a self-described sneaker collector, had arrived at the store early Monday. “No one really knows how many shoes will come out,” he said. “Basically people take shifts for the line. They call their friend to take over for a few hours and watch their seats. So they can do their own things and come back to take the shift.”
Jordan Brand is also releasing the Air Jordan 5 Retro Alternate 90 on Jan. 30, which will sell for $175.