The Ever-Rising Icon: The Journey of Nike Air Force 1

The History of the Nike Air Force 1

Since their initial release in 1982, the Nike Air Force 1 has become one of the most iconic sneakers ever. From designer collaborations with the likes of Supreme and Riccardo Tisci to its appearance as Quicksilver’s footwear in X-Men movies, this silhouette is a true icon.

Yet, the AF1’s story is far from over. This sneaker is constantly rising to new heights, thanks to its versatility.

Origins

Nike’s first shoe with Air cushioning was initially designed for basketball—a popular sport that benefits from the extra support and bounce. It’s also the sneaker that made Tinker Hatfield switch from architecture to footwear design, after he took a pair of AF-1s to test them out on the court and fell in love with the silhouette.

The AF-1 birthed collaborations and retros, and it became a status symbol for athletes, entertainers and even rappers. One of the most memorable examples came from Saint Louis-born Nelly, who used a song to promote his love for the shoe and help it reach global acclaim.

The 35th anniversary of the AF-1 saw Nike release several low-top custom designs, with each tailored to a city that influenced street and hip-hop culture over the years. Most recently, Milwaukee Bucks player Giannis Antetokounmpo has brought a newfound appreciation for the silhouette to the NBA by wearing his white on white AF-1s while winning championships.

Styles

Besides the classic white-on-white colorway, Nike has introduced versions that represent cities where street culture helped push the shoe to fame. The newest AF-1 lows have been customized for Memphis, New York, Los Angeles, and Houston. In a fitting gesture, the company named the collection “Join Forces.”

Another popular option is the pine green incarnation of this iconic sneaker. The dark hue adds a deep, earthy touch to the shoe, while the gold accents and embossed AF-1 deubre add a touch of shine.

The AF-1 has a wide range of colors, styles, and lace options to suit every style. The simplest way to dress up a pair of AF-1s is by wearing them with blue jeans and t-shirts or jerseys. The shoe also looks great with baggy or relaxed-fit pants that offer plenty of breathing room. To take your look to the next level, try lacing your sneakers in a crisscross pattern and skipping every other hole.

Materials

Since the 1982 release of the Nike Air Force One, the shoe has transcended culture and become one of the most popular sneakers ever. It is available in a variety of colors, styles, and designs, making it an ideal choice for anyone who wants to express themselves on their footwear.

The majority of AF-1s are made of leather, which gives the shoe its signature look and durability. However, some pairs are made of other materials, including textiles, canvas, and synthetic rubber. These are often referred to as premium pairs and are usually more expensive than standard AF-1s.

The upper of the shoe is made of Nike Flyleather, which is a blend of recycled leather fibers and other synthetic materials. This material is a great alternative to real leather and has a lower environmental impact. The sole is made of a mixture of rubber and Nike Grind, which is compressed from unused scraps and leftover materials at the factory.

Releases

Nike’s original intent was to discontinue the shoe, but it wasn’t long before sneakerheads on both coasts were clamoring for more. To keep up with demand, Nike began dropping new Air Force 1 lows almost monthly.

As the AF-1 rose in popularity, streetwear culture became more prevalent. Hip-hop artists incorporated the sneakers into their fashion, and even wore them out and about in public. They paired the shoes with baggy jeans and white tees for a uniform of dope boy anonymity.

The footwear made its way into pop culture as well, appearing on the feet of characters in the FX biker gang drama Sons of Anarchy. The white Air Force 1s were a signature look for Jax, the show’s lead character played by Charlie Hunnam. Nike continued to release new styles in simple designs, and teamed with many popular brands for collaborations. One of the most notable was Virgil Abloh’s deconstructed take on the silhouette, which is distinguished by its removal of typical layers and the use of transparent materials.

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