The colours are sweeter, but the recognisable silhouette remains the same. Girls do get the best
By Shu Xie
I have been a fan of Nike’s Air Force 1, but never had the courage to wear such a chunky (but not ‘dad’-like) and somewhat tall sneaker—that Shibuya toast of a midsole! Of late, I have been looking at the many iterations of this thirty-seven-year-old silhouette (also, the first to employ Nike’s proprietary air soles), and I realise that my resistance to the AF1 is not its mass or height, but the colours it tended to come in. As kicks that started life as a basketball court staple, it was mostly in solid colours, with white supposedly the all-time, off-court favourite.
According to those who bother to count (and the breed exists), the AF1 has hitherto enjoyed more than 2,000 variations. It was, however, the arrival of the Acronym collab (actually on the Lunar Force 1) in 2015 that got me into re-considering the AF1. Admittedly, there wasn’t that much colour to scream about. It really was the zip that did it for me. Then, when the 07 ‘Just Do It’ pack hit the stores last year and in that orange, and with those tags and labels on the upper (okay, quite Off-White, but I’m not going there), I was sold. Not long after, when the almost too-sweet ‘Easter 18’ pastels emerged, I have to surrender to the futility of resistance.
Now that colours on sneakers are making the colour wheel look bland, Nike is issuing their classic shoes, such as the AF1, in chromatic variations that make their past colour lives look positively lacking. And it’s the women’s shoes that are leading the way. I first noticed the enticing colour play in the women’s M2K Tekno. And now the ladies’ Af1 is getting an even jazzier chromatic treatment, especially in the ‘Shadow’ release, a remake with so many additional details you’d forget its first life as a shoe for shooting hoops.
According to the brand’s website, “The Nike Air Force 1 Shadow pays homage to the women who are setting an example for the next generation by being forces of change in their community. This sneaker reflects this ethos in its design with double the Swoosh, double the height and double the force.” That sounds to me like double the marketing fluff, but twice the good stuff does not only apply to the branding. Conceptually similar to Sacai X Nike’s Waffle Daybreak (another high-in-demand-low-in-supply sneaks), the AF1 Shadow comes with two eye-stays, two mudguards, two back tabs and two Swooshes, all with one beneath the other like, well, a shadow. Sneaky! And swell, too.
Nike Air Force 1 Shadow, SGD179, is available at Nike flagship store, The Foot Locker, AW Lab, and Left Foot. Photos: Chin Boh Kay