Air Force 1; A History Lesson

I like sneakers. This crush started way back in my awkward tomboy pre-teen stage when I managed to convince my parents to buy me some Nike Total 90s (I'm disclosing this fashion faux pas b/c we're taught that learning from history means you're less inclined to repeat it).

The following years allowed for the instinctual growth of my sneaker knowledge. I became an avid reader of Sneaker Freaker for nigh on 2 years, and spent far too many hours of my life than I'd wish to admit trawling their feed of new releases.

Sneans have for (to the extent my memory will recall at least) always been a no-no. But, a relatively recent shift of the public conscious has meant the initial definition of 'sneans' has now been relegated to a much more confined imagery than the word-mash of 'sneakers' and 'jeans' would imply. Sneans are in the modern individual's mind a fine balance of a bizarrely unflattering pair of jeans meeting the tongue of a weird white (with often navy trim) sturdy running shoe that cannot be deemed aesthetically pleasing even in its own right (a la hospital staff comfortable shoes pre-crocs).

Outside the realm of the sneans, however, sneakers and jeans are currently well in-vogue. This may be something to do with the enduring 2011 trend of the rolled cuff pants, bucking the trademark sneans' 'I didn't think about how I dressed today' look, but that's beyond the scope of today's musings.

Today's musing is the humble all-white low-top Nike Air Force 1, the favourite on my current kick rotation. As far as I'm aware, they don't make women's sizes - thankfully, however, they do make boy's sizes, and boy's feet apparently grow to be much larger than mine. As such, my kid's pair were copped for about half the price of an adult's (#protip). The AF1 is a special shoe. Since its release to the public in 1982, it has not changed much, yet has managed to maintain a status such that it is impossible for it to be considered a potential  partner in a sneans duo. I thought I may as well do some research.


paul george

Paul George/Image Cred: Unknown


As stated, these frosty numbers initially dropped in the early 1980s - originally under the name 'Air Force' sans '1', a homage to the US Presidential aircraft. Post that drop, the shoes for some reason were discontinued for a solid years, re-releasing in 1986 with a subtle jig of the trademark Swoosh in its modern, chunkier verion.

They developed to sell in 3 forms - the low, mid and highs (the latter two featuring velcro strapping). They've sold in over 1,700 colourways, and rake in a solid US$800mil each year. Perhaps many owner's favourite detail, each pair come with the "AF-1 82"-emboss silver shoe lace accessory threaded onto the final rung (brb; coining that term), known by the most avid of the sneakerheads in the game as a deubré (terminology game 1-up). That deubré used to have circular edges, but since the low-key redesign in 2007 they've been squared off. 

If you've ever broken a pair in, you'll know they're hella uncomfortable for the first few wears; but a few actually graced NBA courts late last century. Another fun fact (thanks Wikipedia): Harlem kids emulating their favourite rappers in the early 'naughties dubbed them 'uptowns'.

The kicks, essentially, are a beautiful blank canvas. A beautiful blank canvas that you do not want to paint. A beautiful blank canvas that I will probably have a lil cry about when the impending doom that will see them marked finally strikes. But then again, I hit the kids' size. If hell opens below me, at least the wallet won't be hit too hard, nor the fear of exhausting some limited eds.

mzwetwo af1

Image Cred: Mzwètwo/@mzwetwo

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