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  • The Nike Air Force 1 is undoubtedly

  • one of the greatest shoes of all time.

  • Many people would argue that the low-cut,

  • white-on-white model is literally the definition of fresh.

  • So fresh that If you owned a pair of AF1s

  • in the early 2000s, then you probably remember

  • experiencing paranoia about getting your AF1s dirty.

  • You experienced this and thousands of other sneaker

  • enthusiasts before you experienced this too.

  • What makes this shoe so great?

  • Why has it transcended years of sneaker innovation?

  • The origin of the Nike Air Force 1

  • can be traced back to one man, Bruce Kilgore.

  • Bruce was a product designer who designed

  • household appliances and cars for much of his career.

  • When Nike approached Bruce, he had never

  • worked in sneaker performance design.

  • Bruce is credited with designing iconic

  • shoes like the Jordan II and the Nike Sock Racer.

  • But his most famous, and arguably his most important design,

  • was the Nike Air Force 1.

  • One of Bruce's most memorable designs

  • was the Nike Track Spike.

  • Working closely with Bill Bowerman

  • and Nike's very first employee, Jeff Johnson,

  • Bruce and the team at Nike perfected the design

  • of the Nike Zoom Track Spike.

  • The track shoe was a major success

  • and it helped track and field athlete, Carl Lewis,

  • win four gold medals at the 1984 Olympics.

  • Back in 1978, Nike released The Nike Tailwind running shoe.

  • It was the first shoe to ever contain the now

  • famous Air Technology that we are all so familiar with.

  • After the success from the Tailwind,

  • Nike decided to focus their efforts on basketball shoes.

  • And with the growing popularity of basketball,

  • Nike assigned Bruce the task of designing

  • the first ever basketball shoe to contain Air Technology.

  • But the Nike Air Tech wasn't the only

  • groundbreaking technology in the shoe.

  • Bruce's design was to contain several innovative features.

  • The Nike Air Force 1 was also one of the first

  • basketball shoes to contain a cup sole,

  • making the shoe's durability unmatched.

  • In addition to the cup sole,

  • Bruce developed a threaded outsole,

  • which allowed basketball players

  • a greater ease of movement on the court.

  • These were profound advancements

  • in sneaker technology at the time.

  • We can also credit the Nike Air Force 1

  • for bringing the renowned sneaker designer,

  • Tinker Hatfield, into the Sneaker game.

  • Legend has it that Bruce Kilgore brought the prototypes

  • of the shoe to Nike's innovation lab

  • to have them stress tested.

  • One of the lucky designers

  • was none other than Tinker Hatfield.

  • Hatfield was gifted a pair to try on the court

  • and was dazzled by the way the shoe performed.

  • In fact, he was so moved by Bruce's design

  • that he decided he wanted to pursue sneaker design

  • instead of architecture.

  • Upon its 1982 release, the Nike Air Force 1

  • was only available as a hightop.

  • The original colorway featured a neutral white

  • and gray color palette.

  • I believe the Nike Air Force 1 was also

  • the first basketball shoe to feature an ankle strap.

  • I may be wrong though.

  • If I am indeed wrong, please correct me

  • in the comments below.

  • One thing to note, is that the shoe

  • was inspired by a boot design.

  • Specifically the Nike Air Approach hiking boot.

  • Nike had yet to imagine the design

  • of the low cut Air Force 1s that we all love.

  • Nike's marketing campaign for the shoe

  • included a run of ads which featured

  • six of The NBA's contemporary basketball players;

  • Moses Malone, Michael Cooper, Jamal Wilkes,

  • Bobby Jones, Mychal Thompson, and Calvin Natt.

  • They were called the Original Six.

  • The original ad featured an aircraft in the background

  • because the name of the shoe was inspired

  • by the Air Force One airplane,

  • the aircraft that carries the U.S. President

  • around the world.

  • In the world of footwear, the term Player Exclusive

  • is given to exclusive sneakers

  • that have been custom made for professional athletes.

  • Sometimes it's to outfit a whole team

  • or sometimes it's just one player.

  • In 1983, the low-cut profile of the Air Force 1

  • dropped along with a slew of PEs for the Original Six.

  • The PEs were inspired by their

  • teams' colors and personal preferences.

  • This is just another reason why

  • the Nike Air Force 1 was so revolutionary.

  • By 1984, Nike was ready to shelve the model

  • for the next hot shoe.

  • But three Baltimore-area retailers at the time;

  • Charley Rudo Sports, Cinderella Shoes,

  • and Downtown Locker Room urged Nike to reconsider.

  • The three retailers, later to be dubbed The Three Amigos,

  • started what they called the Color of the Month Club.

  • The kids in Baltimore were becoming fanatical

  • about the Air Force 1 and wanted more.

  • The Color of the Month Club not only saved the AF1

  • from becoming extinct, it turned the city of Baltimore

  • into a monthly destination for sneakerheads.

  • There was lines outside the door for the shoe.

  • The thrill of the hunt was birthed

  • and sneaker culture was on the rise.

  • In the years that followed, the crack epidemic

  • on the east coast began destroying inner-city neighborhoods.

  • Corporate shoe brands will never admit it,

  • but these drug dealers set trends

  • and inspired the youth with their newly bought cars,

  • outfits, and most importantly their sneakers.

  • Eventually, in the early 1990s,

  • with the release of the crispy white-on-white AF1s,

  • the shoe would be unofficially endorsed by drug dealers,

  • making an impression on young east coast rappers

  • like Jay-Z, reigning from Brooklyn, and Cam'ron from Harlem.

  • The Air Force 1 was starting to transcend

  • its utility as a basketball shoe,

  • and was now becoming a sad symbol in the streets.

  • Nike sales were about to go next level.

  • I'm sure we all remember in 2002

  • when St. Louis rapper, Nelly, dropped his hit song

  • that he titled "Air Force 1."

  • It was a full-on anthem for the Air Force 1

  • and included Nelly and the St. Lunatics bragging

  • about buying multiple pairs at a time.

  • The nod to Dame Dash's wear it once

  • and give it away philosophy.

  • Nelly's Nellyville record, which included the single,

  • sold over 1.5 million copies in three weeks.

  • Nike was quick to cash in on the Air Force 1's popularity

  • in Hip hop and wisely began to do collaborations

  • with rappers like Fat Joe, Young Jeezy, and Jay-Z.

  • This also created a DIY custom frenzy.

  • Thanks to the shoe's simple and clean design,

  • Sneakerheads all over the world

  • were expressing themselves

  • through flamboyant custom colorways.

  • Even rival brands like Reebok, Bape,

  • and Lugz began questionably ripping off the design.

  • While the shoe is not as popular as it used to be,

  • little has changed in terms of development

  • for the Nike Air Force 1.

  • Looking back at the last 10 to 15 years,

  • Nike has invested incalculable resources

  • into making this shoe stand the test of time, and it has.

  • In recent years Off-White founder, Virgil Abloh,

  • has released four different versions

  • of the Nike Air Force 1.

  • Correspondingly, Samuel Ross from A-COLD-WALL

  • has put his own fingerprint on the AF1 design as well.

  • Taking cues from Bruce Kilgore's original

  • minimalist style design, Ross transformed the shoe

  • into a techno-dystopian version of the AF1.

  • And together with Virgil, the two fashion giants

  • have launched the AF1 into

  • the high-end designer-brand sphere.

  • The Nike Air Force 1s are crispier than ever

  • and will continue to be one of Nike's best selling shoes.

  • Has the iconic silhouette reached its peak?

  • For a shoe that has been around for over 35 years,

  • it has made a lasting impression

  • on the youth and keeps rising in global sales.

  • The AF1 has transcended socio-economic classes,

  • revolutionized basketball shoes,

  • and created a perfect white canvas for artists to paint on.

  • The shoe will continue to be celebrated

  • for many years to come.

  • What do you guys think?

  • Do you guys think the Nike Air Force 1

  • is gonna last the next 100 years?

  • What's your favorite Nike Air Force 1 model?

  • Please leave a comment below.

  • Don't forget to subscribe and like

  • if you enjoyed this video.

  • Thank you guys so much for watching

  • and we'll see you guys next time.

The Nike Air Force 1 is undoubtedly

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Nike Air Force 1: The Legend Behind Nike's Perfect Shoe

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    Angel Hsu posted on 2019/11/05
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