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In the world of sneakers, few styles last. The ones that do are the true classics—the trends that graduate to staples. They’re consistently worn by both footwear enthusiasts and the general public. For Nike, the shoes that sell shareholder-pleasing units tend to be white leather shoes like the dad-friendly Air Monarch line—ones that cool kids and connoisseurs hate. One rare example of such sneakers that cross over into both worlds is the Nike Air Force 1 in its most popular, iconic style: low-cut, in all-white.The white Air Force 1 Low is one of the bestselling shoes of all time. A decade ago, sporting-goods analyst Matt Powell told the New York Times that the shoe sold an estimated 12 million pairs in 2005 alone, more than two decades after its debut; the sneaker is still Nike’s second bestseller a decade later, according to Powell. The hyped-up collaborations and limited-run collectibles may have given the AF1 a covetable level of prestige and helped spread its gospel to new generations, but the monotone makeups, particularly the white-on-white, have been the ones keeping the lights on at most sneaker shops over the years.

With MJ’s second slam dunk contest win, this time wearing AJ III White Cements, came an inspiring and memorable image of flight. And with it, another icon is born — the Jumpman. Here, and with the help of his MVP nomination and a certain Mars Blackmon, Michael Jordan and his sleek footwear are shuttled to fame.Proving his preeminent athletic prowess and distinctive style, Jordan closed the 1988/89 season with one of the game’s most notable plays. With 6 seconds left in game 5 against Cleveland, MJ sinks “the shot”, a dexterous, buzzer-beating move that continued to propel MJ along on his awe-inspiring journey.During the 1990–91 season, in the face of a cool adversity from their long-standing Detroit rivals, the Bulls stayed strong to advance to The Finals for the first time ever. There, Jordan’s mid-air elegance was put on full display. And it was while wearing a pair of Air Jordan VIs that Michael Jordan claimed his first championship title.

Nike Air Force 1 Influence On Music And Fashion

The AF1 is one of the most influential shoes of all time. Though originally created for performance on the basketball court, the Nike Air Force 1 has become something of a cultural symbol. For one, it was pretty much adopted as the official shoe of rap music all through the 2000s and beyond.

Of course, there’s the 2002 Nelly song about the Air Force 1 that everybody knows, appropriately titled “Air Force Ones,” but hip-hop and rap music are replete with references to the AF1 past that. In 2007, Kanye West collaborated with Nas and KRS-ONE to release a song called “Classic (Better Than I’ve Ever Been)” that makes repeated references to the AF1. They even performed it on MTV2 for the Nike Air Force 1 25th Anniversary Party.

In fashion, the Air Force 1 became synonymous with inner-city style, and even earned the “Uptowns” nickname because of its popularity in Harlem, New York. The smooth, simple style of the Air Force 1 make it the perfect complement to everything from athletic gear to casual wear.

Using MJ and his elite athleticism as inspiration, Tinker Hatfield returned with fellow designer Tom Luedecke to create a special Air Jordan — the AJ 2011. Singularly important to the design was the line’s first-ever interchangeable midsole. Luedecke, discussing the process once, noted the idea of selecting a weapon before battle.It could be said that Michael Jordan was the genesis of basketball as we know it today. Throughout a fiery and storied career, the tireless MJ overcame his hurdles, soaring above challenge after challenge to realize the unexpected. Along the way, he redefined basketball's relationship to style, the sport’s connection to youth counter-culture and the game’s creative potential.


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