The Air Force 1 is an iconic sneaker, and for its 35th anniversary, Nike is highlighting the most important colorway of the silhouette it has ever released: white-on-white.
“The triple white is the most ubiquitous of all Air Force 1s, and it’s the one that transcends gender, socioeconomic status, cultures — everyone wears the white-on-white,” Al Baik, senior creative director of Nike Sportswear footwear, told Footwear News. “You can be a millionaire or you could be a 15-year-old kid and still wear that ’07 classic.”
And sneaker experts with an affinity for the Air Force 1 agree.
“You’re going to turn heads if you walk in with Kaws or HTMs — having limited-edition joints makes you stand out — but they still don’t take anything away from the white-on-white,” said “Hawaii” Mike Salman, who participated in Nike’s ranking of the best 100 Air Force 1s of all time 10 years ago.
To celebrate the model’s milestone, Nike will release the AF100, boasting five must-have looks from a range of collaborators including rappers, record labels and renowned designers.
Virgil Abloh’s reimagined Off-White x Nike Air Force 1 ’07 is the first of the five iterations fans of the sneakers can pick up. The collab drops Nov. 4 at Complex Con in Long Beach, Calif.
“The Air Force 1 means something beyond basketball. I’m designing it from that point,” explained Abloh. “I’m not designing it as a basketball sneaker. I’m designing it as, like, a cultural signifier. And it has my aesthetic.”
Following the initial sneaker release is the Air Force 1 ’07 “Rocafella” iteration, which arrives on Nov. 30. After that is the Just Don Air Force 1 High collab Dec. 1, the Air Force 1 Low designed by rap superstar Travis Scott on Dec. 2 and the Acronym x Lunar Force 1 ’17 collaboration on Dec. 3.
“I wanted to bring a very high-end feel to a respected silhouette in sports culture. I’m just trying to bring a different element to sport — you can think luxury and sport at the same time,” said Don “Don C” Crawley. “I was happy that the approach of the project was white-on-white because it shows appreciation for the 35 years of this silhouette, but I wanted to switch it up a bit while still respecting the elegance and heritage of the shoe.”
All of the looks, with the exception of Abloh’s, will be available via SNKRS and select Nike retail partners worldwide.
“Everyone that we worked with had a love for the Air Force 1, and when you look at the overall cast, it’s pretty amazing to see that diversity,” Baik said. “It shows the diversity of Air Force 1s and how a shoe can mean so much to such a diverse and wide range of demographics and people.”