Nike Air Force 1 High History
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.