Staff Insights: Favorite Nike Air Force 1 Collabs

Staff Insights: Favorite Nike Air Force 1 Collabs

Staff Insights Af1 Collabs

Earlier today, Supreme launched their three-pack of Air Force 1 Highs and to no one’s surprise, the online stock sold out in seconds. This was the iconic shop’s second go-around with the AF1 after dropping a trio of NYCO canvas Lows back in 2012, and although the Nike Air Force 1 collabs are certainly few and far between these days, Supreme has proved that when done right, the market is still hungry for them. As we patiently wait for the next great AF1 team-up, we’re taking look back at some of our personal favorite Air Force 1 collab offerings from over the years.

Staff Insights Af1 Collabs 4


Atmos x Air Force 1 Low

While I will never be a big fan of the Air Force 1 on my feet, I find myself very much intrigued with the shoe’s legacy and how Nike has used this sneaker to propel the Sportswear line. This year’s collaborations with high-end designers and the 1World joints from 2009 are so highly prized and they’ve played a major role in “reviving” the silhouette, but I will always keep the early-2000s collaborations at a higher standard because of their influence in sneaker culture.

The AF1s status as a “sneakerhead” shoe was only bolstered by these early partnerships, and among those is the simple navy/gray design by Japan’s atmos which, to me, is one of the best collaborations ever. Back then it wasn’t such a bold move to rely on a somewhat basic two-toned colorway, but even then, the shoe stood out so much. The classic Georgetown look will never get old, the leather materials are unparalleled, and the slightly off-centered Swoosh placement will always separate it from the rest.

Staff Insights Af1 Collabs 1


Kaws x Air Force 1 Low

Nike’s 1World project gave us two of my personal favorite Nike Air Force 1 collaborations in 2008’s Air Force 1 Low 1World “Kaws” and 2009’s Air Force 1 Low 1World “CLOT”. Deciding between the two pairs was fairly difficult but I have to side with KAWS thanks to my alma mater and fandom of his work throughout the years over the vibrant red styling of the Chinese-inspired CLOTs.

The subtly ominous black suede base let the signature Volt hue shine on the translucent outsole, the two-toned laces added some diversity but the real catch here that would lead to a brief feud between the two parties was the needle threading in the form of Xs along the toebox (with two XXs in an homage to the artist left in a contrasting green).

The sad part of the situation was the way KAWS and Nike’s relationship ended – with the artist calling the subsequent Nike Bespoke option with baseball stitching “fake KAWS shoes (again)” despite the fact that the look dated back to 2006 atop the New York Cubans Air Force 1 as a part of the Untold Truth Pack. We’ll always love this pair and the AM90 Current though.

Staff Insights Af1 Collabs 3


Stash x Air Force 1 Low

The Stash Air Force 1 is not only my favorite collab version of the Air Force 1, but it’s probably my all-time favorite Air Force 1 colorway period. The combination of the colors and materials magically transform the AF1 from the leather basketball shoe it started out as into something beautifully rugged and luxurious.

The contrast of the muted tan against the various shades of blue makes the Stash Air Force 1 Low feel like it should have come from the ACG category and that’s probably a big part of why I love it so much.  We’ve seen countless different outside collaborators put their touches on the Air Force 1, but for my money, none have ever re-imagined the timeless silhouette in such a perfect way.

Staff Insights Af1 Collabs 2


Playstation x Air Force 1 Low

My favorite Air Force 1 collab stems from one of the more unique partnerships we’ve ever seen in the sneaker world. There’s an obvious level of passion shared by gamers and sneakerheads alike, but I never thought I’d see it come together in such a way that would birth one of the most rare, sought after sneakers of the 2000s.

Although they were made as a promotional tool given only to Sony Friends & Family (Kobe Bryant made the cut) to build hype for the November 2006 Playstation 3 release, these were never made available to the general public, hence making them one of the most sought after sneakers we had seen in a long time.

Although I’m usually not a big fan of patent leather on the Air Force 1 model, the shiny black upper seems to be the nicest touch of the Playstation collab, along with the gradient hind panel and perfectly placed Playstation logo.

They brought them back out in 2009 to celebrate the 10 year Anniversary of the PS2, with the gradient panel being patent leather this time around, but the 2006 version easily remains my favorite AF1 collab of all-time.

Staff Insights Af1 Collabs 6


Riccardo Tisci x Air Force 1 High

The Air Force 1 silhouette is without a doubt classic, and when brands collaborate with such a shoe, it’s mostly new colorways or materials, but the details are often left untouched. However, Tisci’s approach on this collaboration seemed quite unique in a way where the base color was rather plain, but it was the added and slightly modified details on the shoe that made it special.

Those minimal, but bold touches to the shoe gave it a whole new flavor without destroying the character of the Air Force 1. This collection gives a new direction on how future collaborations with high-end fashion designers and sport brands could be done and opens up the Air Force 1 to a new audience.

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