It’s undeniable that the Japanese sneaker culture is in stark contrast with the American scene, but both East and West is indeed anchored by the Nike Air Force 1, which has served as the backbone of these two distinct regional bodies. Some of the greatest Air Force 1s ever created were in fact Japan-exclusives (yesterday’s Linens, for example), but none may be as limited or specially-treated like the Air Force 1 Low ‘Sakura’ – the 2005 Japan-exclusive Tier 0 release. The ‘Sakura’ (a women’s release) was designed with the cherry blossom in mind, adopting the charming colorway with the Light Bone suede upper and Watermelon pink outsole and utilizing the laser-etch method on the upper, with the flowers (‘Sakura’ in Japanese) adorning the front half of the shoe as well as on the tongue; hints of ‘Ueno’ are scribbled within the flower petals as well as on the custom embroidery on the heel as a call-out to the Ueno region in Tokyo, Japan.
In 2008, Nike Sportswear embarked on a mission to crown the greatest Air Force 1 of all-time. Of course, the three American cities that boast the proudest Air Force 1 fandom – New York City, Philadelphia, and Baltimore – would have differing opinions, so each of those cities held its own individual vote, and without surprise, the Nike Air Force 1 Low ‘Sakura’ was deemed one of the three best Air Force 1s in history (voted by the city of Baltimore). As a reward to the city’s participation, the Air Force 1 ‘Sakura’ was re-released at select locations in very, very limited numbers, perhaps making these no longer a Japan-exclusive. In any case, the people of Baltimore got it right, because the Sakura is not only one of the most creative Air Force 1s in history, it’s a shoe that some of the most headstrong AF1 collectors are still in search for. More of this classic rests just below, so review the gallery and stay tuned for more Air Force 1 heat from Classics Revisited!
Nike Air Force 1 Low “Sakura Ueno”
Light Bone/Light Bone-Watermelon-White