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Nike Air Force 1

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One of the most legendary sneakers of all time, the Nike Air Force 1 has been a staple of street style for decades. It’s a sneaker that’s been worn by everyone from professional basketball players to hip hop kings, from Japan to the streets of Baltimore. The Air Force 1’s clean and simple design has traversed countries and decades to become a truly iconic sneaker.

Born on the Hardwood

The Nike Air Force 1 was originally made for basketball. It was the first shoe to bring Nike Air technology to the court, but its ingenuity didn’t stop there. Designer Bruce Kilgore incorporated a slanted cut to the high-top upper, increasing mobility without compromising support. Then he ditched the herringbone traction pattern typical of basketball shoes in the ’80s; in its place, Kilgore developed a circular outsole tread, giving basketball players a pivot point for easier movement down in the post. An on-court weapon was created.

The Air Force 1 Low ‘White-on-White’

It didn’t take long before the sleek silhouette of the Air Force 1 made its way off the court and onto the streets. The release of the Nike Air Force 1 Low ‘White-on-White’ was an instant casual footwear success. By losing the high-top, the shoe became more adaptable for streetwear, while the white-on-white colorway offered a clean, timeless finish to any outfit.

The Air Force 1 Low became so popular in the ’80s that when Nike limited production on the shoe, three retail stores in Baltimore formed a cartel and lobbied Nike to give them exclusive AF1 releases. After some hesitation, Nike agreed. The shoes sold like wildfire, and the Air Force 1 became the first sneaker to be retro’d, paving the path for the Jordan Retros that sneakerheads would demand a decade later.

AF1 on the Runway and Beyond

As the Air Force 1 rose to prominence, they were quickly adopted by hip hop culture. Rappers like Jay-Z and Nelly were mentioning the iconic sneaker in their songs. It had become more than a shoe – it was a symbol of fresh.

Later, the fashion world would take notice too. Companies like Supreme were lining up to collaborate and design the nostalgic silhouette.

Today, the Air Force 1 can be found in any sneakerhead’s closet. It’s a staple of the culture, and the timeless design shows no sign of ever going out of style.