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Air Force 1’s: Why Are They So Popular?

January 11, 2020

In 1982, six NBA basketball players pose to advertise Nike’s new shoe, The Air Force 1. Moses Malone, Mychal Thompson, Bobby Jones, Calvin Natt, Jamal Wilkes, and Michael Cooper were the first to receive the original version of the shoe, becoming the “original six.” 

From that day forward, the AF1 has become the most popular and best selling athletic shoe of all time. Each year the shoe brings Nike in $800 million of revenue a year. But what makes the AF1 so popular? Many famous people have worn AF1’s, making them appealing to the easily persuaded. In 2002, Kobe Bryant wears his Air Forces while playing pickup basketball in Rucker park, and then again during an actual NBA game. DJ Clark Kent spent half a million dollars on different styles and colors of the shoe over his entire lifetime, owning over 6,000 pairs. Artist such as Kanye West and Drake wear the shoes in music videos and while performing

The shoe was originally designed to be a basketball shoe with the threaded outsole and high top strap. Later when AF1 low tops came out, the shoe was soon adopted into hip-hop culture. Shortly after the release of rapper Nelly’s “Air Force One’s, feat. Kyjuan, Ali, and Murphy Lee,” hit single in 2002, other rappers and Nike started partnering together in music videos and advertisements. 

As the years pass on, AF1’s slowly started to decline in popularity. As new brands came out with new styles, AF1’s were left being associated with gangs and violence. But in 2007, Nike reintroduced a new line of Air Forces for their 25th anniversary, the Air Force VI and XXV. New colors were introduced, catching the public’s eye and drawing them back into a once-forgotten popular shoe. As of 2019, the five most popular Air Forces are the Nike Air Force 1 Low, Nike Air Force 1 07 LV8, Nike Air Force 1 07, Nike Air Force 1 Foamposite Pro Cup, and the Nike Air Force 1 Low Retro. 

Why buy the Nike Air Force 1 today? The shoe is great for playing basketball and serves no trouble. The shoe can also be worn all day comfortably, causing no pain or irritation. The style of this shoe connects today’s style and fashion with the past, being two different generations together. The shoe goes with any fashion style, looking best with skinny jeans and joggers, but can also be worn with dresses and shorts. As it is sold in its original black and white, it now can come in different colors, even multicolored. The shoe is worn by a great range of people; women, men, young, and old. The shoe has more styles than ever now, offering them in the low, super low, mid, high, and super-high top with over 1,700 color variations available. Nike Air Force 1’s are a shoe that will always come back into fashion, holding the place for the most popular shoe for over thirty years.

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