DETROIT (CBS Detroit) RO Coit, co-owner of Burn Rubber, a Mecca for metro Detroit sneakerheads, will never forget the shoes that changed his life.
“It was all about Air Jordan, whatever Jordan was coming out with, the thing that kind of got me into the sneakerhead culture, it was a Heineken Dunk Low, maybe 2004, and I had never seen a shoe that played off another, a beer bottle … That kind of blew my mind and the thing was they were so hard to get, I found a kid that went to Michigan state and I drove to Michigan Sate and paid a kid like $200 … I had to have that shoe.”
He added that pair of shoes is still the most prized piece of his personal collection, adding, “It made me realize I could make a living off of sneakers.”
Coit talked to Evan Jankens, webmaster of 97.1 The Ticket, after the debut of his show “Burn Rubber,” on You Tube, which featured rap superstar Eminem and the Tigers’ Prince Fielder bonding over an ultra-rare pair of Air Jordan Eminem 4s.
“From the time he asked us, it was less than a day, it definitely is, close to impossible .. I was like ‘I’ve never seen this shoe in person, I don’t know anybody who has realistically held this shoe in their hand,” Coit said. ‘The only way to get this shoe was to be affiliated with Shady… It was like ‘We may have to call the big dog.'”
Coit said his clientele includes players from the major Detroit sports teams, and legends of the rap world. People in the know come from all over the world to get a souvenir from this unassuming store, which occupies a tiny footprint along the railroad tracks in downtown Royal Oak.
“We’re the name that everybody knows,” Coit said, adding they always carry shoes Michigan-themed shows, like the blue collar series.
He added he was at the Jay-Z concert where the big man highlighted people in the audience who were wearing Burn Rubber hats. The rapper asked for the Burn Rubber owners’ number backstage — and they ended up sending him “product,” Coit said.
But the biggest release they ever had was the Nike Air Yeezy 2, where “The line started, it was eight days, the first two people in line, the time that they lined up, we didn’t even know we were getting the shoe, it was unreal,” Coit said.
Where do sneaker collectors rate on a national scale alongside fans in Chicago and New York?
“I think we’re right there with them,” Coit said. “We’re right there with them, now, what we’ve done with our branding … They’re starting to recognize that you can put this here and it will be a great response… Nas bought our shoe in Japan”
So, what’s the shoe Coit covets right now?
“You know, it’s a shoe, it’s not everybody’s shoe, there was a Reebok, it’s like a running shoe and there was this technology they did in 1997 … I had ever color of this shoe, at the time I didn’t know they would stop making this shoe … They are re-releasing it in March … I’m like overjoyed, I’m getting four of every color.”
The show will continue going strong, Coit said, with a new release at 10 a.m. every Tuesday. New shows will show them working in the community, adding “You can hear us at any time talking about religion, politics sports … Sometimes people come on in here, don’t know what they’re talking about, it’s a lot of crazy antics.”