Our verdict

With its well-grounded legacy in the hip-hop and basketball scene, the Air Force 1 07 is an instantly recognizable silhouette. We adore its clean leather profile that can be styled with anything - from laidback outfits to business casual suits. Considering its quality and longevity, we also find the AF 1 07 a very reasonably priced piece. Its elegance lies in the shoe's low-key and practical appeal.

Pros

  • Crisp and classic look
  • Can be dressed up or down
  • Great leather quality for the price
  • Responsive Air cushioning
  • Highly stable and supportive
  • Decent airflow for a leather shoe
  • Reasonably priced
  • Can last for years

Cons

  • Quite heavy
  • Creases easily
  • Not for all-day wear
  • Arduous break-in period

Audience verdict

91
Great!

Who should buy

We believe that the Nike Air Force 1 07 belongs in your sneaker stack if:

  • you need a practical but good-looking pair to match most of your outfits (from active wear to semi-formal pieces)
  • you are aiming for an elegant and classic vibe through a leather sneaker
  • you want to enjoy an iconic Nike sneaker at a reasonable price

Nike Air Force 1 07 review

Who should NOT buy

We've got two main knocks on the Air Force 1 07:

  • it is too heavy for comfortable all-day wear
  • it takes forever to break in the shoe

We found that the Nike Air Max 1 offers a much more supportive underfoot experience for long hours on the feet and the Nike Dunk Low has a much more flexible design.

Nike Air Force 1 07 lab test

Breathability

For an all-leather sneaker that it is, we discovered a surprising amount of ventilation in the Air Force 1 07.

Filling up the shoe's upper with smoke, we were surprised at how effortlessly it escaped through the eyelets and perforations on the sides.

In our transparency test above, you can see that the AF 1 07 has more eyelets than the average sneaker as well as two ventilation holes at the bottom of the midfoot.

Nike Air Force 1 07 ventilation

Even though this Nike shoe doesn't feel super breezy on foot, we still bumped its breathability score up to 3 out of 5. It has a slightly better airflow than similar Nike models. But we still do not recommend it for summer.

Nike Air Force 1 07 Breathability ventilation holes

Test results
Air Force 1 07 3
Average 3
Compared to 47 sneakers
Number of shoes
1
Breathability
5

Durability

Leather/Suede quality

For what is now considered a "moderate" retail price of $115, the quality of the Air Force leather is surprisingly good!

Shooting fire from a butane torch to every major panel on the sneaker, we are happy to report that they did not melt or catch flames. This is a good indicator of leather quality.

There was also no gloss on the burned areas unlike what we saw on the Air Jordan 1 Low (a sign of a plastic finish).

The Swoosh, on the other hand, appears to be covered in a thick synthetic finish. You can see how it almost bubbles up under the fire.

Nike Air Force 1 07 creasing

A common issue for all leather Nike sneakers is that they crease like crazy! Even though the wrinkles don't affect the shoe's integrity, they definitely ruin the look.

To minimize creasing we recommend the following maintenance:

  • applying water-repellent spray and leather conditioner
  • storing shoes with shoe trees, paper balls, or rolled-up socks
  • giving your kicks a day of "rest" in between uses
  • treating early creases with leather oil
Test results
Air Force 1 07 Real leather

Toebox durability

If you are cautious about blowing through good-looking sneakers too soon, the Air Force 1 will minimize your worries. This shoe can really take a beating!

We go pretty hard on all our lab-tested shoes using a Dremel with a sandpaper tip.

In this test, we apply the tool to the shoe's toebox material with a consistent speed (5K RPM) and pressure (3.2N).

Nike Air Force 1 07 Toebox durability comparison

As you can see, the Air Force 1 07 demonstrates stunning wear resistance compared to mesh-covered kicks!

On a 1-5 scale, it earned the highest score for toebox durability.

Test results
Air Force 1 07 5
Average 3.7
Compared to 47 sneakers
Number of shoes
1
Toebox durability
5

Heel padding durability

Even the inner lining of this Nike sneaker proved to be more durable than average.

A 4-second touch of the Dremel at the speed of 5K RPM left very minor damage on the shoe's textile.

You can see that it looks almost identical to the heel lining of the red shoe and yet, the difference in abrasion resistance is stunning!

Nike Air Force 1 07 Heel padding durability comparison

4 points to Gryffi... Nike Air Force!

Test results
Air Force 1 07 4
Average 3.4
Compared to 47 sneakers
Number of shoes
1
Heel padding durability
5

Outsole hardness

We also found that the bottom of the AF 1 07 is guarded by a pretty hard rubber compound.

Nike Air Force 1 07 Outsole hardness

Measuring it with a Shore C durometer returned a slightly higher-than-average reading of 88.1 HC.

Test results
Air Force 1 07 88.1 HC
Average 85.2 HC
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 47 sneakers
Number of shoes
72.9 HC
Outsole hardness
90.3 HC

Outsole durability

But it didn't help the sneaker perform better than most kicks in our Dremel test.

Exposing the shoe's outsole to sandpaper for 22 seconds at an unrelenting speed of 10K RPM resulted in noticeable but not critical damage.

Nike Air Force 1 07 Outsole durability test

Measuring it with a tread gauge, we got 1.2 mm. About the same as the average 1-mm dents on other sneakers.

Test results
Air Force 1 07 1.2 mm
Average 1.0 mm
Compared to 47 sneakers
Number of shoes
0.0 mm
Outsole wear
2.0 mm

Outsole thickness

Gladly, the AF 1 07 features a sufficiently thick rubber outsole to prevent premature wear.

Nike Air Force 1 07 Outsole thickness

It is 4.6 mm thick according to our caliper measurement.

Test results
Air Force 1 07 4.6 mm
Average 5.4 mm
Compared to 48 sneakers
Number of shoes
3.4 mm
Outsole thickness
8.2 mm

Weight

As soon as we got our hands on the Nike Air Force 1 07, we knew - it is a BRICK.

Nike Air Force 1 07 Weight

At 16.4 oz (465g) in a men's US size 9, the AF is heavier than all the other iconic Nile silhouettes we tested - the Dunks, the Air Jordans, the Air Maxes...even in their high-top versions!

Nike Air Force 1 07 shoe weight

The sneakers felt pretty substantial on foot and after a few hours of wear testing, we were looking forward to taking them off, to be honest.

Test results
Air Force 1 07 16.40 oz (465g)
Average 14.18 oz (402g)
Compared to 48 sneakers
Number of shoes
8.54 oz (242g)
Weight
22.61 oz (641g)

Cushioning

Heel stack

The high topline of the Air Force 1 07's cupsole makes it look like a platform sneaker but in fact, it has an average stack height.

Nike Air Force 1 07 Heel stack

Measuring its thickness with a caliper returned 31.7 mm. That's a typical heel stack for lifestyle sneakers. Not among the tallest. 

Test results
Air Force 1 07 31.7 mm
Average 29.6 mm
Compared to 48 sneakers
Number of shoes
18.2 mm
Heel stack
41.8 mm

Forefoot stack

In the shoe's forefoot measurement, our caliper measured 17.2 mm of stack height which is actually a bit thinner than average.

Nike Air Force 1 07 Forefoot stack

But because the Air Max unit takes up about 3/4 of the shoe's length, it reaches the balls of our feet as well, adding a nice touch of cushioning.

Test results
Air Force 1 07 17.2 mm
Average 18.8 mm
Compared to 48 sneakers
Number of shoes
10.6 mm
Forefoot stack
28.3 mm

Drop

At first glance, the Air Force 1 07 has a very steep heel-to-toe drop. Based on our caliper measurements alone, it comes in at 14.5 mm.

Nike Air Force 1 07 Drop

But because the Air unit and the rubber pillars underneath it compress under pressure, the offset becomes more balanced when the shoe is on foot.

Slight elevation of the heel above the toes made us feel comfortably supported taking the strain off our Achilles tendons.

Test results
Air Force 1 07 14.5 mm
Average 10.8 mm
Compared to 48 sneakers
Number of shoes
6.7 mm
Drop
17.2 mm

Midsole softness

Note: a low durometer measurement equals a soft material, whereas a high measurement means it's firm.

The nearly full-length Air unit inside the AF1 adds comfort and responsiveness to the otherwise rigid platform.

We were also surprised to find that the foam around the Air unit is more on the soft side. Pressing our durometer against it returned 20.9 HA which is 40% softer than the average sneaker midsole!

Nike Air Force 1 07 Midsole softness

These two components make the direct underfoot experience quite pleasant. But the AF1 is NOT a plush shoe by any means!

The foam and the Air unit are encased in a firm and solid cupsole construction which has little-to-no give to it. That's why the Air Force 1 07, as a whole feels firm.

Test results
Air Force 1 07 20.9 HA
Average 28.6 HA
We use an average of four tests. The photo shows one of those tests.
Compared to 38 sneakers
Number of shoes
15.0 HA
Midsole softness (soft to firm)
46.4 HA

Insole thickness

The shoe's midsole is topped off with a well-padded foam insole.

Showing a thickness of 5.0 mm in the heel, it is just about as thick as the average sneaker insole.  

Nike Air Force 1 07 Insole thickness
Test results
Air Force 1 07 5.0 mm
Average 5.4 mm
Compared to 48 sneakers
Number of shoes
3.1 mm
Insole thickness
13.9 mm

Stability

Lateral stability test

The Air Force 1 07 made us feel like our foot was sitting inside a tank.

It is an incredibly stiff, sturdy, and structured sneaker that keeps the foot and ankle very firmly in place.

Nike Air Force 1 07 vs Nike Dunk Low profile

Its cupsole walls are pretty tall embracing the foot from the bottom while the collar sits a bit higher up the ankle compared to most low-top sneakers.

Torsional rigidity

Attempting to twist the AF1 07 with our hands yielded no results.

This Nike sneaker has an impressively high level of torsional rigidity earning it the highest score on our stiffness scale.

We believe that this kick has enough lateral support to prevent the foot from collapsing inwards. That way, people with overpronation can also enjoy this iconic Air Force silhouette.

Test results
Air Force 1 07 5
Average 3.5
Compared to 47 sneakers
Number of shoes
1
Torsional rigidity
5

Heel counter stiffness

What's more, the sneaker offers a ton of rearfoot support with its highly stiff heel counter.

There is barely any give to it! Our manual test confirmed that it takes significantly more effort to squeeze and push the shoe's heel counter.

On foot, it translates to a much more secure heel hold with no shifting or heel slippage.

Test results
Air Force 1 07 5
Average 3.2
Compared to 47 sneakers
Number of shoes
1
Heel counter stiffness
5

Midsole width in the forefoot

The Air Force 1 07 managed to achieve that level of stability without a wide base!

Nike Air Force 1 07 Midsole width in the forefoot

Measuring its platform in the widest part of the forefoot, our caliper showed 104 mm. That's even a few millimeters narrower than average.

Test results
Air Force 1 07 104.0 mm
Average 108.6 mm
Compared to 48 sneakers
Number of shoes
100.0 mm
Midsole width in the forefoot
121.0 mm

Midsole width in the heel

In the heel, the AF1 07 also proved to be narrower than average. Its widest area comes in at only 77.7 mm.

Nike Air Force 1 07 Midsole width in the heel

We are amazed at how this Nike sneaker combines a high level of stability with a sleek and minimal profile.

Test results
Air Force 1 07 77.7 mm
Average 82.7 mm
Compared to 48 sneakers
Number of shoes
69.4 mm
Midsole width in the heel
103.1 mm

Flexibility

Stiffness

In addition to paying money for wearing the Nike Air Force 1 07, you also pay with an excruciatingly long break-in period.

And the worst part is... The shoe never really feels fully broken in!

Nike Air Force 1 07 flexibility

To put its stiffness into context, we measured how much force it takes to bend the shoe to a 90-degree angle. Turns out, the AF 1 07 requires 40% more force (32.5N) than the average sneaker! Even the Air Jordan 1 Low needs less (21.8N).

We assume that it was the shoe's stiffness that contributed to our early foot fatigue during the wear test.

Test results
Air Force 1 07 32.5N
Average 23.0N
We use an average of four tests. The video shows one of those tests.
Compared to 48 sneakers
Number of shoes
5.8N
Stiffness
51.8N

Grip / Traction

At the time of its release in 1982, the Nike AF 1 was the first basketball shoe that moved form away from the traditional herringbone pattern.

It featured the ground-breaking pivot points on the ball of the foot and on the heel allowing basketball players to change directions with less effort.

Nike Air Force 1 07 outsole

These pivot points rarely come in handy for casual wear but we love its sporty aesthetics.

Size and fit

Internal length

Nike warns that the Air Force 1 07 runs large and going down a half size is necessary.

Nike Air Force 1 07 sizing

However, we found that the sneaker runs true to size in our regular men's US 9.

We also measured the internal length of the Air Force 1 07 at 271.0 mm which corresponds to the US 9 in Nike's shoe size chart.

Nike Air Force 1 07 Internal length

Its internal length is also consistent with the Air Jordan 1, the Nike Dunk, and the Air Max 1.

Test results
Air Force 1 07 271.0 mm
Average 272.2 mm
Compared to 44 sneakers
Number of shoes
265.3 mm
Internal length
280.1 mm

Toebox width at the widest part

Checking the shoe's toebox, we found that it was not very pointy and never squeezed or pinched our toes.

Nike Air Force 1 07 Toebox width at the widest part

Measuring the toebox in the widest part, we got an expected reading of 99.1 mm in a medium D width.

Test results
Air Force 1 07 99.1 mm
Average 99.1 mm
Compared to 48 sneakers
Number of shoes
94.0 mm
Toebox width at the widest part
107.7 mm

Toebox width at the big toe

Around the big toe, the shoe doesn't stray away from the average either.

Nike Air Force 1 07 Toebox width at the big toe

Our caliper shows the standard 74.4 mm for this part of the sneaker in a men's US 9.

But if you have wide feet, the AF may feel restrictive, and keep i mind that there is no give to its material either.

Test results
Air Force 1 07 74.7 mm
Average 74.8 mm
Compared to 47 sneakers
Number of shoes
63.7 mm
Toebox width at the big toe
82.7 mm

Tongue: gusset type

The tongue of the Air Force 1 07 is non-gusseted which is a norm for casual sneakers. Wearing the shoe, we experienced little to no tongue shifting anyways.

Nike Air Force 1 07 Tongue: gusset type
Test results
Air Force 1 07 None

Comfort

Tongue padding

We are satisfied with the tongue padding of this AF sneaker. At 8.0 mm, it is exactly as much foam as we want on top of our insteps.

Nike Air Force 1 07 Tongue padding
Test results
Air Force 1 07 8.0 mm
Average 9.3 mm
Compared to 48 sneakers
Number of shoes
1.0 mm
Tongue padding
38.4 mm

Heel tab

The shoe doesn't have any pull tabs or finger loops at the back. The on-and-off action involves both hands and a bit of fiddling with the laces.

Nike Air Force 1 07 Heel tab
Test results
Air Force 1 07 None

Removable insole

The insole of the AF 1 07 is removable but it is attached to the bottom with a sticky adhesive. You may need a little more effort than usual to take it out.

Nike Air Force 1 07 Removable insole
Test results
Air Force 1 07 Yes

Misc

Reflective elements

The base version of the Nike Air Force 1 07 doesn't feature any effective elements to glow in the dark.

Nike Air Force 1 07 Reflective elements
Test results
Air Force 1 07 No

The origins of the Nike Air Force 1 07

Named after the US President's aircraft, the Nike Air Force 1 was introduced in 1982.

It was the first ever basketball shoe to feature Nike's proprietary Air Max unit which was on the rise at the time.

Created by the brand's famous designer Bruce Kilgore, the Air Force silhouette quickly gained traction among athletes including the NBA stars Moses Malone and Michael Cooper. In more recent years, it was also worn by the star players Rasheed Wallace and even Kobe Bryant (during his phenomenal streetball performance).

Nike Air Force 1 07 air unit

But the AF 1 was nearly canceled by Nike back in the '80s! Believe it or not, it took three footwear retailers from Baltimore to convince the brand to keep producing the original design. That's how impactful the local demand was in the city.

Nike Air Force 1 07 style

In a matter of a decade, the Air Force 1 became a highly thought-after mainstay in street culture.

From drug dealers to rappers, the AF sneakers flooded the American cities. New Yorkers even came up with a nickname for the shoes calling them "uptowns" due to their insane popularity in Harlem.

In 2002, rapper Nelly released an entire single dedicated to the shoe. Called "Air Force Ones," it is basically an anthem for the silhouette.

Nike Air Force 1 07 versatile

In hip-hop culture, Jay-Z, Travis Scott, and many other icons pushed this Nike kick to the spotlight with hype and collaborations. Special editions came in like a hurricane passing the 2000 mark over the past 40 years.

Even though street subcultures have become the shoe's main driving force, it quickly caught fire among many different social groups across multiple generations.

The Air Force 1 is now a staple that goes from concrete to catwalks, from underground to red carpets, and blends in seamlessly everywhere.