Here’s a little history lesson about the shoe that started it all. In 1982, Nike debuted the Air Force 1, a sneaker that derived its name from the president’s eponymous airplane. The footwear — which has the distinction as the first basketball shoe with Nike Air technology — made a huge splash in the sneaker world and on the streets before the shoe was discontinued in 1984. Since the ’80s, the shoe has come back in many iterations, and its retro style continues to be sought after by ballers and sneakerheads alike. Find some of the classic OG styles along with retro re-releases in a variety of colorways.
Nike designer Bruce Kilgore based his AF1 design on the Nike Approach hiking boot, which provided plenty of support but also allowed for lots of flexibility. Rather than a traditional basketball shoe outsole pattern, Kilgore wanted something that gave superior traction and the ability to make quick cuts on the court. Enter the circular outsole pattern — a hallmark of the Air Force 1. The OG high-top shoe also featured a strap that went across the high-top ankle for a locked-down feel and a variable lacing system.
Conceived from the hustle of a young design team, the Nike Dunk basketball shoe was driven by performance innovation that naturally translated to street style. The design solidified Nike’s focus on basketball and reinforced its obsession with creating product to make athletes better. Sport was en-vogue and basketball sneakers now had off-court popularity, even hitting the fashion world. The Nike Dunk’s 1985 debut, with an evolved silhouette from its big brother, the Air Force 1 born three years prior, showcased design lines with bold color blocking. The shoe launched at the perfect time, energizing basketball culture in unexpected ways. Originally sketched by designer Peter Moore and called the College Color High, the Nike Dunk was an artistic mash-up of different shoes, a common design practice at Nike for ‘80s basketball shoes.
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