October 14, 2010 BY John Kim
As the arena of basketball sneakers pushed forward and turned the corner into the 90’s, the competition was absolutely fierce. Today, Nike owns more than 90% of the basketball market share in America, but that story was much different two decades ago. There was no unrivaled dominance or alpha-dog of any kind, but a level playing ground in which brands of all kinds had their hands in the pot. Reebok Pump was one of the big players of that time, with numerous super-star endorsements, media publicity, and a large consumer following helping its cause. With a lot of hype and excitement surrounding Reebok’s new technology, Nike responded to the introduction of the first Reebok Pump shoe in 1989 was the Nike Air Pressure, a shoe that looked too futuristic, weighed too much, and cost too much for its own good. The Air Pressure – at the risk of redundancy – was just too much.
Some fine-tuning and slimming down was obviously necessary and in 1991, Nike unveiled the Nike Air Force 180, which featured the 180-Air unit and a high ankle with a similar Air-integrated ankle apparatus – but the shoe was considerably lighter and much more ‘wearable’. Older sneaker heads may be able to recall The Admiral David Robinson wear the Air Force 180 and also appear in a commercial for the shoe. The Air Force 180 you might recognize today – the model attributed to Charles Barkley – is actually the Air Force 180 Low, but with the Air-pump technology becoming a thing of Nike’s past, the Low version became the flagship and discarded any height-designation. Regardless of how quickly it might have been forgotten at the time, the Air Force 180 is remembered today as one of Nike’s greatest designs of all time. Coming across a pair of the Air Force 180 – let alone a deadstock pair – is a rare occurrence so take a look at the detailed gallery after the jump and check out the auction of this DS pair from the.kicksologist on eBay.
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