B1 Intermediate US 61 Folder Collection
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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.
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Nike Air Force 1: The Legend Behind Nike's Perfect Shoe

61 Folder Collection
Angel Hsu published on November 5, 2019    Arnold Hsu translated    Evangeline reviewed
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