Summary

We spent 6 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what sneaker fanatics think:

9 reasons to buy

  • The retro Nike Air Force 1 High offers good ankle support, some critics have mentioned.
  • The outsole is sturdy and will surely last for a long time, according to several reviewers.
  • This sneaker with an adjustable strap around the ankle and desirable length of laces provide a good lockdown fit.
  • According to buyers, the high top Air Force 1 does not need a long break-in time.
  • Its vivid colors make an attire stylish.
  • The cushioning is good for walking around.
  • This high-top shoe stays clean for a long time.
  • The padding around the ankle provides support and cushioning.
  • The Nike Air Force 1 High is affordable, with some designs available in marked down prices.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Some reviewers are unhappy with the ventilation holes on the upper as these don’t provide enough air to the foot.
  • A Nike fan who was enthralled with the Air Force 1 Low has been dissatisfied with this version as it’s heavy on the feet.

Bottom line

The comeback version of the much-adored 1980s Nike Air Force 1, garbed in a range of bold color palettes, draws attention for those who prefer an exciting and fresh match for their outfits. This edition offers cushioning around the ankle and a secure fit.

This classic-style Air Force 1 High may no longer be fitted for serious b-ball games, but it scored high as a street-appropriate option like other AF1 sneakers. Its decent price tag is a come-on too.

Facts

Rankings

A top rated sneaker
A top rated Nike sneaker
Top 4% most popular sneakers

Expert Reviews

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Become an expert

These Nike casual sneakers are available in sizes in men’s and women’s sizes. Most of the Nike Air Force 1 high top sneakers held on to the classic b-ball image, particularly in reference to the original Kilgore model. The fresh versions mostly offer an adjustable lacing system for a customized, comfortable, and snug fit that may feel a bit tight in the beginning, as such sneakers are chiefly constructed out of leather.

Majority of the Nike Air Force 1 High retained the well-adored silhouette of the original version, which is redefined with updated details and an array of colorways to keep its iconic status among sneaker fans, enthusiasts, and collectors.

Among the much sought after colorways for this court-inspired Nike Air Force 1 high top are white, black, wheat, red, and blue. If you want your shoe to be the focal point of your casual attire, try teaming this above the ankle form with skinny bottoms, rolled up tight pants, or leggings.

The classic style Nike Air Force 1 High continues to gain traction globally among sneaker patrons as it is built with a timeless design that embodies a rich heritage. Its appeal to a considerable number of basketball legends, mainstream celebrities, and music icons has inspired communities and people of different races. This style is deeply rooted in streetwear culture and continues to get upgrades in terms of color and material combinations. It may have lost its functional appeal as a former basketball sneaker, but it remains to be amply cushioned.

The Air Force 1 or AF1 is one of Nike’s highly celebrated, best-selling shoe designed by Bruce Kilgore. Its popularity remained even beyond three decades after the OG high-cut was dropped in 1982. This sneaker that’s made into tons of variations generates an estimated annual revenue of $800 million, with an approximate turnover of $28 billion in its 35th year. Needless to say, this shoe that’s named after the official aircraft of the US President is the highest-selling sports shoe of all time.

The Nike Air Force I was initially designed as a high-top ball shoe that incorporated the proprietary Air cushioning unit in its midsole. In fact, AF1 is the first sports shoe that utilized this innovative technology of compressed air. This air-filled pocket delivers the needed support and responsiveness while on the court.

Another feature of the AF1 that’s highly noticeable apart from the embedded cushioning system is the lacing ornament found near the forefoot. The original silhouette has a nearly oval-shaped lace medallion engraved with the “AF-1” and “82” label in pewter material. This piece of shoestring accessory was referred to as a tiny ornament back in the day until Nike footwear designer Damon Clegg called it his Scottish accent, “doobrie” in 1994. It was later coined deubre by the brand.

Nike was successful in marketing the Air Force 1 during that time which was initially sold at $89 by using limited regional releases to build up interest over the shoe and increase its market. From the Beaverton headquarters, Nike carved a niche for the AF1 in the East Coast, a densely populated seaboard in the US, by supplying the area with limited pairs.

The popularity of this shoe became widespread creating a cult of followers from the hardwood to the hip-hop communities. The AF1 was later endorsed by influential icons elevating its status to a prominent spot, making it one of the coveted shoes in the market, particularly between the ‘80s and ‘90s. Nike amplified this by producing regulated drops of the AF1, which proved to be an effective marketing strategy that kept the model one of the in-demand classics until today.    

In 2007, Nike unveiled a special collection of the AF1 commemorating the model’s 25th anniversary, aptly named the Air Force 1 ‘07. The model’s distinct deubre or ornamental piece on the forefoot shoelaces was redesigned for this particular product line and was given a more refined, rectangular Air Force 1 shape. The inscription retained the abbreviation of the Nike model while it eliminated the year of AF1’s original release.

This most recognized silhouette has pervaded sneaker culture for a number of years and continue to be a fashion staple to this day. More iterations are expected to be released in the coming years as this Air Force 1 remains to be a much sought blank canvas for collaboration endeavors and a self-promotional platform by its throngs of fan base.

  Extraordinary Nike Air Force 1 High Iterations

  Supreme x Nike Air Force 1 High

Nike and Supreme brought heat during the fall/winter season in 2014 when their dynamic partnership dropped a sensational three-sneaker set of the Air Force 1 High, specifically on October 23. Branded as the “World Famous,” the Forces arrived in red, black, and white premium leather upper as part of the 20th anniversary of the AF1.

  Nike AF 1 High Unlimited Glory Pack  

Nike granted customization for the Air Force 1 High through the NIKEiD. In line with the Unlimited Glory pack released on August 5, 2016, sneaker fans had the option to choose their desired color among the Swoosh brand’s metallic offerings of gold, silver, and bronze. Shoppers were also given the liberty to incorporate inscriptions, country icons, and UN country codes into these kicks.

  Nike Air Force 1 High “Black Gum”

The classic, high-top Force appeared in an all-black suede exterior while its customary white sole received a gum medium brown treatment when it went out for a global release in October 2017. It also came out with a reflective Nike Swoosh branding, ankle strap, and heel tab. This statuesque beauty was made available in women’s sizes for an initial retail cost of $110.

  Just Don Air Force 1 Hi “White/White/White”

From the tarmac to the streets, the Air Force 1 got a luxurious treatment with an elegant release of the Just Don Air Force 1 High through a collaboration between Nike and Don C. This Nike casual shoe is brimming with textural detailing using premium materials such as smooth, tumbled, and snakeskin leather. This Air Force 1 High white/white sneaker is the most ambitious in the AF100 lineup dropped as part of the Complex Con 2017 held in December.

Influenced by the Air Force 1, Air Force 2, and Air Force 3, this sneaker profile boasts some gold accent on the strap ring, top end eyelets, aglets, and lace locks that bears “Just” on one pair and “Don” on the other pair. This much-favored design initially retailed at $200.

  Nike Air Force 1 High BHM

Nike has been observing the Black History Month since 2005 by emphasizing the unique elements of the Pan-African heritage through annual commemorative sneaker releases. The AF1 is one of the silhouettes that have been part of the annual BHM pack from the time this tradition in Nike started.

For the 2018 collection, the Pan-African flag was the inspiration behind the design of the Nike AF1 which displayed the red, green and black colors across the entire upper down to the midsole. Apart from having a soft tumbled leather upper, it bears a gold detailing on its Swoosh branding, aglets, and heel logo, while the wordmark EQUALITY stretches around the ankle strap.

  PSNY  x AF1 High

New York’s design duo and masterminds behind the street savvy clothing label the Public School, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne created their own vision of the iconic sneaker with a deconstructed PSNY x AF1 High silhouette. Dropped on September 5, 2018, this Public School New York AF1 kick turned up in black, white, and grey colorways.

The resurfaced look, a mishmash version of the Air Force 1 Low, Mid, and High dished out the customary ankle strap and instead added a pull strap on the heel. The extended paneling on the rear sides are takeaways from the typical Highs which appear like the tail of the Air Force One aircraft. The eyestay was also tweaked and turned into a reversible and removable form that encourages users to experiment on their casual wear styling.

  • The creative mind behind AF1, Bruce Kilgore took cues from the façade of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in designing the contours of the sole.
  • The original prototype of the Air Force 1 apparently has mesh material and not of full leather.
  • This shoe was inspired by Nike Air Approach hiking cleats.
  • One of the initial wear testers of the Air Force 1 is Nike’s stalwart designer Tinker Hatfield who joined Nike in the early 1980s.
  • The AF1 has created a strong force in the market, stemming from the East Coast, since the early 1980s. There were several hip-hop icons whose names were linked to the Air Force 1, namely: 3rd Bass Prime Minister Pete Nice, Jay Z, Belizean rapper Shyne, trios The LOX and G-Unit.
  • Upon its release in 1982, Nike enlisted six NBA players to introduce the Air Force 1. Later known as the “original six,” the group is comprised of Moses Malone, Mychal Thompson, Bobby Jones, Calvin Natt, Jamaal Wilkes, and Michael Cooper. To endorse and market the new shoe, each of the six players was among the first ones to receive the AF1 in the OG white/gray colorway.
  • During the 25th year commemoration of the Air Force 1, Nike created the “Second Coming” campaign that featured new generation of top NBA players Rasheed Wallace, Shawn Marion, Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Paul Pierce, Jermaine O’Neal, and Tony Parker to endorse the Air Force 1 ’07.
  • The Air Force 1 is nicknamed Uptowns, while the 2007 version is also branded Air Force XXV.
Author
Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny McLoughlin is a researcher for RunRepeat covering football, sneakers and running. After graduating with a degree in computer science from The University of Strathclyde, Danny makes sure never to miss a game of his beloved Glasgow Rangers or the Scotland national football team. He has been featured in prestigious publications such as The Washington Post, The Irish Times, Footwear News and the like.

daniel@runrepeat.com