Friday, January 26, 2007
Nike’s Air Force 1s: Happy Birthday
Nike’s Air Force 1s is coming up for its 25th anniversary. Remarkably when the shoe was launched in 1982, it did not come with the razzmatazz or celebrity endorsement we have come to expect from today’s high profile hype. It was a low key induction and sold by word of month. Nike also completed a first by centring Air Force 1 in Baltimore away from the fashion epicenter of New York. The shoe was introduced as a high-performance basketball shoe and available on a limited run. Moses Malone was one of the first professionals to wear them and that seemed to start a fad in urban areas, where kids would queue for the shops opening to secure a pair. The same could not be said for some Nike Jordan lines, which of course is the watermark for high profile trainers. The shelf life of shoes was short and by 1983 Nike was keen to introduce a new line but three Baltimore-area retailers pled with Nike to reconsider. Eventually Nike agreed to continue selling two styles of Air Force 1's (white with royal blue, and white with chocolate brown) but only in Baltimore stores of the interested retailers. The shoes continued to sell like hot cakes and gradually more lines were introduced. Now with sales centred in Baltimore, sneaker heads keen to buy Air Force 1, came from all over the country. By the early 90s Nike acknowledged Air Force 1s were a winner and re-released the shoe nationally. The once performance shoe had climbed to become a cultural icon with underground appeal, and sneaker heads clambered to own a pair from Japan to Brazil. Now you can choose from more than 1,700 different styles of Air Force 1's. The shoe is now available in patent leather, multi-colored styles and some designed by graffiti artists. For the fashionista the "swoosh" logo can be replaced with designer monograms, such as Louis Vuitton's signature LVs. When Nelly sang about "Air Force Ones," in 2002 with his rap classic, “Air Force Ones this was call to sneaker heads to wear a pair of originals and have a second pair customized pair for coolness. Many devotees own and wear five pairs whereas real collectors a mass 100 pairs of sneakers, which are never worn and kept in storage as an investment. There are only few philanthropists who wear them a couple of times before giving them away.