Ever since its release in 1982, the Nike Air Force 1 has become one of the most recognizable shoes on the planet. So much so that there have been more than 2,000 versions released.
In this article, you’ll learn why the Nike Air Force is so popular and stay that way. You will also learn what the AF1’s popularity means to the global sneaker market as a whole.
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Why is the Nike Air Force 1 so popular?
While the Nike Air Force 1 has been made popular due to collaborations with famous celebrities over the years, its staying power is best attributed to its accessibility and versatile design.
1. Celebrity endorsements or collaborations
A big reason why the Nike Air Force 1 is so popular is due to celebrity endorsements and collaborations. Famous people have been seen wearing the iconic shoe over the years.
The iconic design of the Nike AF1 has been rapped about by Jay-Z and Nelly, and today is often seen on style icons such as Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Kendall Jenner, and Billie Eilish.
In 2002, rapper Nelly dropped his single “Air Force Ones feat. Kyjuan, Ali, and Murphy Lee”. This song provided the shoe with its initial boost in popularity in the world of hip-hop.
In the song, Nelly and his posse boast about sneaker purchases, which helped the Nike Air Force One infiltrate the mainstream media at the time, thus boosting its popularity.
This is just one of the many celebrity collaborations and endorsements. After nearly 40 years on the market, the Nike Air Force 1 has had many collaborations with famous celebrities.
Limited edition releases with key players in pop culture like Travis Scott, G-Dragon, and Virgil Abloh have created excitement around the AF1 for new enthusiasts over the years.
Collaborations with brands such as Supreme, Off-White, and Playstation, among many others, have also helped push the popularity of the Nike Air Force 1 into the stratosphere.
2. Shoes for the people (accessibility)
While rappers and celebrities alike have fueled demand for the Air Force 1, one of the main reasons behind its popularity is accessibility, which is rare in today’s sneaker culture.
Since its debut in 1982, the shoe has retailed for $90, which is considered below average by today’s standards. For the record, the average retail price of sneakers in 2021 is $110.
The fact that almost everyone can obtain a pair of AF1s for $100 or less in retail stores around the world broadens its appeal, considering Nike is already a household name, to begin with.
Sure, there are limited edition Air Force Ones that sell for thousands, but the majority of them are available at reasonable price points, ready to be added to your sneaker rotation.
In addition to its accessibility, the Air Force One is also the first model in Nike’s history to return to production due to consumer demand, making it a genuine “shoe of the people”.
Anyone who is looking for a versatile pair of sneakers can always buy the Nike Air Force 1, and that is why the silhouette remains one of the most popular Nike designs of all time.
3. Timeless and versatile design
A lot can change in four decades. The clothes we wear, the machines we use, and the music we listen to. One thing, however, remains constant: the Nike Air Force 1 is always in style.
The Air Force 1 is timeless, with a strong foothold in sneaker folklore. Its simple design has never gone out of style and it continues to reach new audiences, regardless of age or region.
But what’s the reason behind all this?
One word: versatility. The Nike Air Force 1 can adapt to any outfit, environment, or occasion, and even serve as a blank canvas for artists who are looking to make their pair stand out.
Take the all-whites AF1, for example. There are endless possibilities that go with the pair, from athleisure classics, like tracksuits and leggings, to casual styles, like jeans and shorts.
The versatile design of the Air Force One is the main reason why the shoe remains relevant over the decades. In fact, almost everyone should have a pair of all-whites in their rotation.
While the Nike AF1 has been made popular due to collaborations with famous stars and iconic celebrities in our current culture, its staying power is best attributed to its accessibility.
Add the fact that the design of the Air Force One is virtually timeless and versatile, and it’s easy to see why almost everyone in the world is familiar with the shoe, regarding gender and age.