Here’s The History of Nike’s Coveted Air Force Ones


Recently, Nike announced that they will be releasing five new collaborations for their classic Air Force One shoes with Travis Scott, Just Don’s Don C, Off White’s Virgil Abloh, Acronym’s Errolson Hugh, and Roc-A-Fella Records’ Kareem “Biggs” Burke. These shoes will all be released at Complex Con in Long Beach, California on November 4 and 5, with Virgil Abloh’s pair being exclusively sold at the event. All five collaborations are set to be based off of the classic white-on-white pair of Air Force Ones.

This is just the most recent set of collaborations with one of the most popular and versatile shoes of not only Nike’s history, but of all sneakers.

“There is no other shoe that can be connected to sport, music, fashion, art, street and the city all at the same time. The most ubiquitous of Air Force 1 is the white/white,” says Al Baik, Nike Senior Creative Director of Men’s Sportswear Footwear.

The Air Force One, initially named after Ronald Reagan’s airplane, has had a long history among sneaker lovers and casual shoe buyers for a long time ever since its creation in 1982. It was initially made for basketball players as it was “the first basketball shoe that featured a pocket filled with air in the heel for cushioning and support.”
Moses Malone
The first six NBA players that Nike signed to help promote the shoe were, Philadelphia 76ers legend, Moses Malone, Michael Cooper and Jamal Wilkes of the Los Angeles Lakers, Bobby Jones, also of the Philadelphia 76ers, and Calvin Natt and Mychal Thompson, father of current NBA superstar Klay Thompson, of the Portland Trail Blazers.

Back in 1984, the shoes were discontinued because Nike wanted to move on to something new, but the shoes were in such high of a demand that the company decided to bring it back in 1986.

Of course, the shoe itself had a strong level of support due to the constant demand of it from customers, but one thing that gave it an extra level of support, like Run D.M.C.’s promotion of the Adidas Superstars, was Nelly’s “Air Force Ones” song. Nelly was one of the biggest stars in music at the time, having released Country Grammar a few years earlier, which eventually reached diamond status in the United States with over 10,000,000 copies sold, so anything he promoted was sure to get fans of all over talking. The song was very successful, reaching #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and being included on his Nellyville album which has sold over 6,000,000 copies in the United States.

Ever since, though, the Air Force One has gone on to do big things for Nike as the company has made around 2,000 copies of the shoes since its debut in 1982, and is the best-selling athletic shoe of all time, for any brand.
Nikes Al Baik
It’s versatility, as mentioned earlier by Nike’s Al Baik, has played a crucial part in its sustainability, and plenty of variations and high-profile names like the five mentioned above will only help to keep it above its other sneaker competition.

Do any of you guys own any Air Force Ones, and if so, is it your favorite shoe to wear?

Let us know in the comments below!


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