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An illustrated history of Nike's Air Force 1

Check out the comic book journey of the iconic shoe

An illustrated history of Nike's Air Force 1 Check out the comic book journey of the iconic shoe

The word iconic nowadays is about as overused as can be, and applied to all manner of things, not least within the sneaker world. However when it comes to Nike’s Air Force 1 model the label truly is well applied and as fitting as can be. Debuting in 1982, the Air Force one was designed by Bruce Kilgore and was actually only the first, as the name implies, in a range of Nike Air Force shoes. The concept was to create shoes for outdoor basketball with soles suitable for indoor floors and was the first basketball shoe ever to use the Nike Air technology. It is hard to think of another model at Nike that has been through the number of designers creating their edits of the shoe then the AF1, and even more notable how little the original design was ever actually changed, proving the true timeless nature of the shoe's design. To help capture the journey, Nike has created a comic strip that takes us through the different stages of the lifespan of the shoe. Have a look below and let us know what your favorite Air Force 1 edition is?


Nike debuts the Air Force 1.

The shoe is quickly adopted by some of the NBA’s most high-profile big men.

Nike introduces the AF1 Low

Nike planned to discontinue the model, but thanks to Baltimore’s enthusiastic wearers — and local retailers' “Color of the Month Club,” to encourage new colorways — the AF1 lived on.

The AF1 mid hits in the mid-90s (so too did the jewel Swoosh, seen here); in 2001, a slew of new colorways flood the international market.

Nike introduces women’s sizing to the AF1.

Collaborations explode in the mid-aughts.

At the same time, consumers turn collaborators with NikeiD.

High-tech uppers — made with proprietary materials such as Foamposite, Hyperfuse, Liquid Metal and Flyknit — hit the market.

The silhouette is frequently re-envisioned by major fashion houses and Nike designers alike.

Nike pays homage to the AF1’s 35th anniversary with white-on-white collaborations.

The newest iteration of the historic model: the Nike Air Force 1 Utility.