Nike Air Force 1

The Air Force 1 is one of Nike’s most popular sneakers of all time, but the shoe almost didn’t become the phenomenon it’s known to be today. Designed by Bruce Kilgore, who also co-designed the Air Jordan 2, the Nike Air Force 1 was originally released in 1982 and was only intended to be in production for a year. But the shoe turned into a cultural icon, and the Air Force 1 became an important Nike model for years to come. 

The sneaker prevailed with some help from Baltimore retailers Cinderella Shoes, Charley Rudo Sports, and Downtown Locker Room, which managed to convince Nike to keep making the shoe. The rest is history, and the sneaker went from a performance basketball model in the ’80s to a lifestyle staple that never goes out of style and is popular with men and women alike. The Nike Air Force 1 remains a popular retro shoe to this day.

The Air Force 1 features an upper that is most frequently dressed in leather, a large Swoosh across the lateral and medial sides, perforated toe boxes, metal lace dubraes, and an Air-encapsulated midsole with signature “AIR” text near the rear. Over the years, it’s been released in countless different colorways and material mock-ups, including Flyknit, Gore-Tex (GTX), Crater foam, Foamposite, and even a $2,000 Lux crocodile version for the sneaker’s 25th anniversary. 


A fan favorite in its High-top and Low-top variations, the Nike Air Force 1 is also available in a Mid version. Some of its most popular variations in recent years include Virgil Abloh’s Off-White collaborations, Travis Scott’s Cactus Jack designs, Stussy and Supreme’s numerous releases, and, of course, the always on-trend white-on-white.

Sign up for Complex notifications for breaking news and stories.