Nike Air Force 1 - A Piece of Basketball History

Hardly any sneaker tells as much history as the Nike Air Force 1, but what many people don’t know is that perhaps the most conspicuous sneaker from Nike is already several years old. The very first version came out many years ago—in 1982, to be more precise. In 2020, the Air Force 1 will be an incredible 48 years old. So, the Beaverton sneaker has a very long story to tell.

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Hardly anyone knows that the Nike Air Force 1 has already been reissued thousands of times. In 2010 alone, a whopping 1,800 versions of the Nike Air Force 1 were produced. Its iconic shape has been updated with perhaps every material and colour that the colour palette has to offer. And, if you think the icon is coming to an end, you’re wrong. If you look at the latest issues of Nike, you can see that there is still a lot of potential in the AF1.

Recently, the Beaverton-based brand even went on the deconstructed path. A cut-out Swoosh and exposed accents give the icon a whole new shape and silhouette. Even double details upgrade the Air Force 1. The Nike Air Force 1 Shadow is in fact the latest edition of Nike. Every feature is doubled. The mudguard, heel, and even the Air feature on the white Air unit is doubled.

The Birth of the Nike Air Force 1

Bruce Kilgore was the genius behind the Air Force 1. In 1979, the former sculptor and designer came to Nike and shortly after, he then designed what was perhaps the best sneaker of Nike. At the same time, Nike’s latest cushioning technology was launched. Up to now, the Air cushioning is still a very big part of Nike’s history. At the end of the ’70s, Nike worked on a noble gas mixture that was then added to the sole of the shoes.

Many people think that the Air sole is just air. So, here we will reveal the secret and tell you that it’s not exactly what you think.

With the new mixture, Nike’s goal is to reduce the stress that arises in sports. You know what we are getting at, right? Exactly! Back then, the Nike Air Force 1 was supposed to revolutionize basketball. Athletes needed a sneaker that could provide maximum cushioning with every step. Only a few would have thought that the sneakers were going to look really fashionable.

Nike rode the next big wave with this sneaker. The first retailers in Baltimore immediately recognized the high potential and value of the Air Force 1. In 1984, some stores approached Nike and asked for more colours of the Air Force 1. The lifestyle sneaker was then officially born.

A short time later, Nike focused again on the Air Force 1 and gave it even more colours, adding more iterations to the range.

But, why did the sporty sneaker get such a push? Not only did the basketball players look at the Air Force, but also those in the hip-hop scene. Rappers, songwriters, and hip-hop groups got to dress up with the classic sneaker. This made the silhouette viral not only in the sports sector, but Nike also became rather popular in the music industry.

Why is the Nike called Air Force 1?

If you search for Air Force 1 on the net, you will hardly find a match. The Nike Air Force 1 name is actually quite vague. But, still most people assume that the sneaker got its name from Air Force One. In the USA, the US Air Force names the president’s plane, and there it’s called the “Air Force One”. The only difference is the advertised “One” on the plane. So, the naming of the Nike Air Force One comes very close to this.

Why is the Nike Air Force 1 still so successful?

After all these years, the silhouette from 1982 has established itself in the sneaker scene. Sneakerheads all over the world own not only one Air Force 1, but several versions as well. But, not only do the special colourways or the new versions make the sneaker so special, but also other elements contribute to the great success of the Nike Air Force 1. An important point are those versions that are released on special occasions.

For example, every Easter, Nike works on an Easter version of the Air Force 1. The colours, materials, and details change every year and make the Air Force 1 a collector’s item.

But, designers and rappers also play a big role in the life of the AF1. In 2017, world-famous rapper Travis Scott released an Air Force 1 with Nike, and it is through such special editions and collabs that the hype level of the sneaker rises.

Above all, designers have also developed an eye for the highly recognized Air Force 1. Off-white designer Virgil Abloh is one of those who uses the Air Force 1 as a canvas and gives it a completely new look using his designs. In recent years, Abloh released several Air Force 1 iterations, such as an Off-white x Nike Air Force 1 “Black”, “Volt” or the famous “MCA”.

In terms of price, the extraordinary colourways are far away from the usual market range. The cheapest Off-White x Nike Air Force 1 “MCA” costs 1.550€ on StockX, while the most expensive version is 2.580€.

The Best Nike Air Force 1

Of course, it is hard to say which Nike Air Force 1 is actually the best. The silhouettes alone are already very different. Besides the regular Nike Air Force 1 Low, there is also a Nike Air Force 1 High, Air Force 1 Foamposite, and Nike SF Air Force 1. But, this is only a small part of an even wider selection. There are in fact even more silhouettes that build on the DNA of Nike’s primary rock.

With this selection, it is really up to each sneakerhead himself. But, it is clear that the normal Nike Air Force 1 Low is one of the most popular models worldwide. Its unmistakable shape gives most of the oldies among us a major flashback to the ’80s and ’90s. Most of them actually grew up with the low-cut Air Force. Even then and until today, the clean sneaker is one of the best colourways of all time.

The first Nike Air Force 1 has a white upper and builds on a white Air sole. We already know the colorway today as “Triple White”. White sneakers should not be missing in any wardrobe. The clean look makes every outfit look perfect. In the past, you would normally wear casual jeans and a tee with the Air Force 1, but today, the outfit fits well with light joggers and a comfortable hoodie.

What can we expect from the Nike Air Force 1 in 2020?

Hardly any other sporting goods manufacturer keeps its secrets as well as the Beaverton-based brand. Their ideas, mock-ups, and other collabs rarely come to light and we are often just left speculating. But, insiders usually find a way to feature the leaks of the new sneakers or colourways on social media. But, these rumours are not always true.

But, what we can say with 100% probability is that Nike releases at least one new silhouette every year. Since the Nike Air Force 1 offers a perfect base, one could think that maybe this year, a new silhouette will be released as well, using the heritage of Air Force 1.