20 Years Of Nike Basketball Design: Air Force 180 Low (1992)

July 23rd, 2012 by | 4 comments


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Since 1992, Nike Basketball has created an endless library of masterpieces that perfectly blended art, design, and function using world-class technology and engineering. Over the next twenty days leading up to the 2012 Olympic Basketball Semi-Final, Nike Basketball will revisit twenty awe-inspiring pairs selected from the last two decades in a mini-feature titled ‘20 Designs The Changed The Game‘, and it begins today with the Nike Air Force 180 Low. The Nike Air Force 180 Low was introduced in 1992 and was built for the ground-and-pound aspect of basketball and made for players like Charles Barkley in mind. Boasting 50% more Air than any other Nike Air shoe, the Air Force 180 Low was a key player in Nike’s game-changing journey. Continue on for a look at this vintage classic and stay tuned for the next chapter.

“Technology has always been the thing that drives, motivates and consumes us. The Air 180 is the product of that obsession.”-Phil Knight 

Catering to powerful players, the Nike Air Force 180 Low represented a significant evolution and extension of Nike Basketball’s design language. At the time of this shoe’s release, Nike Air was almost 14 years old and Visible Air was five. How do you build on those pressurized foundations? By adding 50% more cushioning.

1991’s towering Nike Air Force 180 applied some pressure to become one of the biggest Nike Basketball releases of all time. But 1992’s Nike Air Force 180 Low scaled things down without losing the menacing looks that united each Force release; built for pounding, blocking and intensely physical play. It was lighter than previous shoes too. Who better to represent the Nike Air Force 180 Low ethos than Charles Barkley?

Strapping down the player for superior support, it was clear that the 180 and power basketball went together like Barkley and controversy. When the Nike Air Force 180 Low hit the hardwood in 1992, it was an iconic moment in sneaker and sporting history.

The Nike Air Force 180 Low is a classic shoe —cushioned to protect, but built to withstand.

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