Nike shoe designed by an A&T student from North Carolina

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Arial Robinson based his design on the university’s New Student Center.

GREENSBORO, NC — Storytelling comes easy for Arial Robinson, Senior A&T in North Carolina. As a multimedia journalism major, she tells stories through various mediums — even through shoes.

“So my shoe is mostly a gray shoe,” Robinson said. “It’s inspired by the New Student Center on campus. So it’s literally the building turned into a shoe.”

Robinson is the mastermind behind Nike’s new North Carolina A&T Dunks. His shoe design is part of Nike’s Yardrunner campaign.

“It’s basically a campaign to highlight the amazing people coming out of HBCUs who are doing great things in their respective careers,” Robinson said. “This year is all about the legacy and people continuing that HBCU legacy or starting their own legacy.”

The bright yellow tongue and laces represent the staircase inside the new NC A&T Student Center, while the bottom of the shoes symbolizes the short grass of the campus.

It’s all of these experiences that are happening not just in the New Student Center, but in the Memorial Student Union that was built in 1967,” Robinson said. “It was designed to be the heart of the campus. The campus lounge where people could come not only to study but to learn and meet.”

Robinson said she first came to Nike’s attention in 2020 after creating content on her Instagram inspired by the sports brand. The company recruited her as assistant artistic director, which eventually led to her creating her first real shoe.

“It’s amazing,” Robinson said. “I am very fortunate and honored to be able to tell such a rich story and to talk about my school in a deeper way. Really push people to not only experience the outdoors, but also to come into our physical spaces and let their children come here and carry on these traditions.”

Robinson said she hopes to work in brand marketing after graduation.

Presales of the North Carolina A&T Nike Dunks sold out quickly over the summer. The shoes will go on sale again on October 25 on Nike’s Sneaker app just in time for NC A&T’s comeback week.

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