JD Heroes – Nike Air Force 1’s

Cutmaster Swift – The 1989 DMC World Champion recalls a classic

An Introduction…

During my secondary school years (the early 80’s) wearing any well known sport branded footwear was an indication of someone with a real keen ambition in sports or an athletic career path. Now when we fast forward to today’s sportswear, it’s an accepted life style fashion statement throughout all generations. My teens were typical. I had to have it – but couldn’t justify why I did to my parents. They couldn’t understand why they needed to buy me such expensive trainers to just walk around the streets in! Like many of us at that time, where there was a will there was a way. My way was to get a paper round just to be able to afford these private luxuries!
Nike Air Force 1’s
Named after the President’s personal air carrier, Nike’s Air Force One (AF1) were originally basketball trainers which boasted the newly introduced “Air technology”. They were launched in 1982 in Low, Mid and of course High Tops, their shelf life was one year only. At this time I was only 14 and without a clue. I felt my life would be worthless without any well branded trainers. AF1’s popularity meant they reappeared again in 1986, this time as a fashionable sneaker which even though I was 17, I still was unable to afford them – my limited income was spent addictively on the purchase of records, so I used the excuse of “they’re too commercial!” when surrounded by my sneaker fanatic friends. You rarely saw them in the same trainers twice during the week and they always looked like they had just came off the shelf! Nike’s Air Force sneakers catapulted through clever ad marketing, sport celebrities such as LeBorn James and Kobe Bryant who were just a few seen in Nike’s ad campaigns on TV and in youth cultured music life style mags like the Source (US) or the UK’s Hip Hop Connection. Nike would also turn to top urban artists that showed a keen interest in their products for further street appeal; Air Force 2, 3, 4 and 5 followed as the sneakers incremented another number when they reached a new design range or anniversary. The Air Force brand was now at collector’s status which meant limited edition designs also limited to certain stores worldwide – this brought out an even greater appeal to have themm, resulting in unmentionable prices could be reached in private sales and later into bids on eBay! Nike even commissioned the top Hip Hop DJ Clarke Kent (2010) to design a pair entitled the Five Boroughs, which are of course in NY! Today Nike has continued to use influential urban artists to this very day as their marketing campaigns, this is clearly a majority influence to the company’s revenue profits across all their sport range, the popularity of their Air Force family still continues strong, so strong it isn’t just appealing to the youth, generations share in the passion of this product so much so that on my 43rd birthday my 9 year old daughter presented me with my very first pair. So I conclude, it’s true. Good things do come to those that really do wait!

Cutmaster Swift
1989 DMC World Champion




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