Not every legend turns 40. Not everything remains legendary for 40 years. The Air Force 1 broke whatever ground it landed on, but it almost could have very well gone the other way. The Bruce Kilgore design was the first shoe Nike created with basketball front of mind. Moses Malone, Michael Cooper, Bobby Jones, Calvin Natt, Mychal Thompson were the 6 athletes who were chosen to debut the shoe. This resulted in the now iconic air-strip AF1 poster.
1982 is time before the ‘retro’ re-release. Prior to this, Nike were more likely to move on from a shoe after it’s initial production. Three pioneering sports stores from Baltimore: Downtown Locker Room, Cinderella Shoes, & Charley Rudo Sports set things in motion to change the game forever. They saw an undeniable demand in their city from a newly emerging sneaker-conscious consumer, hungry for new colours. Footwear buyers Cinderella & Rudo, Paul Blinken & Harold Rudo are credited with pitching the idea to Nike.
As colours started rolling onto shelves, stories of the exclusives quickly spread across state lines. People started making road trips from Philadelphia and New York City just to get their hands on exclusive colours.
This eventuated into the original 1984 “Color Of The Month” campaign. “COTM” has a tangible significance in sneaker history. This approach is a precursor to how things are today, with sneakers receiving regional exclusive colours, limited releases, QS launches & collaborative product. Color Of The Month arguably heralds the first time a savvy independent store directly worked with the Swoosh. Most of all it shows the power of the Air Force 1, and it’s transition from the court, to the realm of fashion.
For it’s 40th anniversary, Nike have revived it’s “Color Of The Month” AF1 series. With new premium leathers, anniversary detailing, OG boxes, special paper & complimentary cleaning toothbrush.