As sneakers go, it doesn’t get much more iconic than the white-on-white Nike Air Force 1. The classic Bruce Kilgore design turned 30 in 2012, and it remains as popular as ever. The design still looks fresh, and (thanks to Rasheed Wallace) the sneaker is still being worn in the NBA. But—and don’t tell anyone—given the current obsession with lightweight footwear, the AF1 was starting to seem a little chunky. Big-boned. Overweight.
Meanwhile, a lot has been happening in Nike’s Beaverton labs over the past 30 years. Recent innovations like Hyperfuse and Lunar foam have drastically reduced the weight of current performance sneakers, while redesigns of various classics have brought them up-to-date. So why not do the same thing for the Air Force 1?
Nike Sportswear Design Director Marc Dolce took the reins of the project that would eventually produce the Lunar Force 1, which comes out on December 12. The Innovation Kitchen and Dolce’s own design team re-engineered the Air Force 1 from the inside out and the ground up, creating a Hyperfuse upper to go with the Lunar-based sole. “It’s where tech meets classic,” says Dolce. “There’s still Air in it—there’s a Zoom airbag in the heel. That’s something we went back and forth on, making sure that we kept its DNA.” As for the weight loss, it was significant—from 17.6 ounces down to 11.7. And it still looks great in white-on-white. $125, nike.com