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Exclusive: Inside Kyrie Irving & Sneaker Room’s Newest “Mom” Tribute Shoe

For their fourth “I Love You Mom” collab honoring Kyrie Irving’s mother Elizabeth and Suraj Kaufman’s mom Ellen, the duo brings a new mismatched color approach to the Nike Kyrie 7.

Since 2017, one of the bright spots of the sneaker community has been the annual “I Love You Mom” edition of Kyrie Irving’s signature Nike series. A longtime collaboration with Jersey City’s Sneaker Room boutique, the ongoing theme has highlighted moms each and every fall, specifically honoring store owner Suraj Kaufman’s late mother Ellen and Kyrie’s late mom Elizabeth.

“What’s really crazy about these shoes, is we don’t sell them for the actual retail price that the shoe goes for,” said Suraj Kaufman. “Let’s say the box says $130. We’ll raise the price to $175 or $250 because all the proceeds go to charity.”

100% of the proceeds from the launches have gone on to benefit a web of community programs and organizations in the New Jersey area, along with the Jersey City Medical Center. In all, a total of more than $500,000 is projected to be raised over the years through all of the launches.

Last night in Chicago, Kyrie unveiled the newest “I Love You Mom” theme in a Friends & Family version, to highlight his sister Asia’s birthday. Only a handful of the teal, light violet and purple pairs were made, with Irving expected to debut the mis-matched editions in Brooklyn Nets games on Monday and Wednesday of next week. 

“This year, we wanted to take it to another level,” explains Kaufman. “Kyrie, being part Native American and doing so much with Standing Rock, the tribe that his mom belonged to – we were talking about mothers and how we come to be: Mother Nature. Mother Earth. Let’s touch that aspect, and not be so symbolic of just a red heart, or using gold if that’s what you’d give as a gift. Let’s touch the elements.”

As a result, two pairs of the shoes were created for the release, each in a mismatched look hearkening back to the universe’s elements of fire, water, heart, and air. In theory, if you get your hands on both pairs, you can mix and match the elements into a new set. 

The pairs will launch later next week on the SnkrRoom.com website, with 1996 pairs of the green and yellow set available for $175, and only 525 pairs of the blue and orange edition priced at $250. 

“When you purchase these shoes, really understand, like, you’re part of the process. You’re part of the impact,” Kaufman said of the fundraising launch with Kyrie Irving. 

To hear all about the impact the duo has made in the community over the years and the inspiration behind their newest “I Love You Mom” sneaker, Boardroom caught up with store owner Suraj Kaufman at Sneaker Room in Jersey City for a full overview of the ongoing collaborative series.

“This shoe is something that gives hope,” he added. “That’s why it’s so much bigger than a shoe — and it’s so much bigger than any individual.”

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