Button: Pride 2020

High School Student Gives Jordans To Bullied Classmate

Every era has its sneaker, from the no-nonsense, egalitarian Converse of the '70s to the sk8er-approved Vans of the '90s. One shoe has managed to retain its glamour, its exclusivity, and its cultural cache for 30 years (and counting): the Air Jordan. The highly collectable kick gets redesigned every year, and is credited with bringing color and flash to the athletic-footwear arena — and for launching the whole "sneakerhead" phenomenon, with hundreds of shoppers lining up (even fighting) for a shot at the latest must-have pair, which all makes Yaovi Mawuli's story so heartwarming. The North Carolina high school senior recently gifted a classmate a pair of these coveted kickers after seeing bullies making fun of his shoes during a French class. Aw!
"I could not live with the fact that such a cool guy would be made fun of in this way," Mawuli said in an interview with sneaker site Nice Kicks. "I remember I got made fun of for wearing some shoes that had 2006 on them while we were in year 2008."
Giving up a pair of enviable shoes — ultra-rare "Concord" Air Jordan XIs, no less — couldn't have been easy, particularly for a high schooler, for whom having the right shoes or clothes can make academic life either passable or a living hell. In that light, Mawuli's selflessness is particularly inspiring. It's a nice respite from the usual bad press surrounding sneaker culture and the violence that can spring up during trumped-up releases. Mawuli is also a neatly packaged seasonal reminder of the joy in giving — he's made our day, at least.

More from Trends

R29 Original Series