It’s crazy to think that the original Nike Air Force 1 made its debut back in 1982. In other words, 34 years ago, that’s older than me, and I’m old! Over the years we’ve seen countless iterations (2,000), with each version giving the classics a new look and feel to keep the momentum going. The basketball shoe that turned into a street wear icon has had one hell of a run, and just when you think it could offer no more, Nike went ahead and revolutionized the shoe once more by utilizing their beloved Flyknit technology on to the Nike Air Force 1. Although we’ve already seen the Nike Flyknit Air Force 1, the shoe had not been officially unveiled by Nike, until today. Let’s take a look at the shoe officially dubbed the Nike Air Force 1 Ultra Flyknit.
The application process had Nike designers taking 12-hour inspiration walks around Paris during the summer. Soon enough that led to the conviction that they could make the shoe lighter and flexible while simultaneously enhancing the fit and reducing the creasing on the toebox. They found a way to give the shoe a modern look while preserving the classic aesthetics of the AF1. Nike Footwear Design Director Jonathan Johnsongriffin bonded a dark grey Flyknit upper to a 3D-printed prototype of an Air Force 1 sole, then went on to use a black marker to color in the Swoosh and eye soles. Surprisingly, it worked! It still had the classic look, but it was now more comfortable and lighter than ever!
The team of designers wanted to keep the concentric circles of the archetype sole’s shoe pivots as well as the AIR lettering and tooling. So what they decided to do was deboss instead of emboss the lettering and also use injected unit rubber tooling instead of polyurethane tooling to make the shoe even lighter. With it comes to the Flyknit upper, the teams collaborated to create the exact structures and textures necessary to maintain the shape and paneling of the original Air Force 1. Flyknit technology enabled them to precisely micro-engineer every stitch to create the featherweight upper for maximum comfort and minimal weight. Not only did the shoe become the lightest Air Force 1 ever made (half the weight of the original), it was also the first Flyknit shoe to include a leather Swoosh logo.
The Nike Air Force 1 Ultra Flyknit will debut in multicolor, University Red for NSW, in addition to an all-white iteration in NikeLab. You can now pick up your own pair on Nike.com/Techbook, Nike’s interactive and shoppable lookbook, as well as beginning on January 28 on Nike.com and select retailers.
My concern when I found out that Nike was going to come out with Flyknit version of the AF1, was that the sole was still going to be outdated and uncomfortable, which doesn’t make much sense to pair up with the comfortable Flyknit material. Now that I found out that the sole was also given an upgrade, it makes a lot more sense. Good stuff.