The Force is strong in this one
A few weeks back we went to a celebration of three decades of Nike’s Air Force 1. The night also acted as the launch of the new Lunar Force 1 range. So we thought we’d have a little look back at the past and also ahead to the future of the iconic footwear.
Let’s start with the classic blue and white Carolina Blue AF1 (below), which featured the light blue & white colorway of the North Carolina Tarheels. This evolved into a very popular sneaker and clothing colour scheme ever since Michael Jordan starred at the university in the 1980s. Classic.
Less classic and more headache-inducing was this women’s-only special edition launched in 2008. It was a limited release, produced in one single colorway. This edition is “Bright Cactus” all over, including the sole, inner sole, stitching and laces. Hmmm.
Snakeskin shoes are either totally awesome or the sleaziest things in the world, depending on whose feet they are on. However, there is no denying that this 2005 Japanese exclusive is pretty rad. It was part of an illustrious snakeskin portfolio and extremely limited in number. The “Un-Cocoa” takes the colorway of an earlier AF1 and flips it, with supple black suede on the sidepanel and toebox.
The mita x Nike Air Force 1 Low (right) is heralded as one of the greatest ever, and rightly so in our opinion. White leather toe-boxes were contrasted with ostrich-skin toeguard (lah-dee-dah indeed), a dark black nubuck on the mid-panel, swoosh, and lace-placket, a glossy patent leather on the heel, and one under-represented decision of Nike Dri-Fit on the interior lining completes this pretttty siiiick design.
Designers tapped into sunny vibes for the Caribbean-spiced 4-colourway West Indies pack. The “West Indies 2” celebrates island life and culture with a white base and a yellow sockliner, heel tab and outsole trifecta. As with all shoes in the pack, the West Indies palm tree logo appears on the heel and the names of the Caribbean Islands graced the footbed.
THE FUTURE: Air, attitude & innovation – The FUTURE ONES
Tapping the U.S. presidential plane for its name, the Nike AF1 (left) debuted in 1982 (hense the whole 30 year celebration thang). The first Nike basketball sneaker with Air technology, it looked fresh while delivering a game-changing, comfortable on and off-court ride. Three decades later, it’s still a bit of an icon.
Propelling the legacy of the Nike AF1 into the future, the Nike Lunar Force 1 takes the inspiration from principles of breathability and comfort. Apparently, a “signature Lunarlon sole unites with an Air-sole heel unit for unrivaled support and reactivity, while Hyperfuse construction further transforms the sneaker’s trademark style.” We don’t really know what any of that means, so we’ll just nod, smile and pretend we do.
We’re not sure what we think of the whole sneaker/shoe crossover. For instance, heeled trainers make us feel ill, so we are approaching the Nike AF1 Boots with caution. It might “infuse the Nike AF1’s signature silhouette with the protective fundamentals and scooped collar of traditional duckboots,” and have “an encapsulated Air-sole heel unit and tenacious grip,” but does that make it okay? The jury is out.
We’re more sure about the Nike AF1 Downtown (right), which plays on the inverse of the original Nike AF1, nicknamed The Uptown. It has a low-profile cupsole and streamlined silhouette. Lightweight, with an encapsulated Air-sole heel unit and discreet Phylon midsole for durability, stability and cushioning, these sneakers may be understated but they claim just as much street cred as their predecessors.
And as we all know, street cred is as important a trait as any when it come to footwear. After all, wearing a pair of supermarket trainers to school is gonna get you happy-slapped, so you need to look the part, and here seems a decent place to start.
What will the next 30 years hold? We’ll tell you what we want to see… hoverboots!