Nike Air Force 1 LX Tear Away Drops Friday 24th April 2020By Michael Barbara | April 21, 2020
If there was one pair of shoes that wholly captures the streetwear zeitgeist from the 90’s to today it would undoubtably be the air force 1. In a time where streetwear and by extension sneakers rely heavily on hype couture to gain exposure, there is a lot to be said about a pair of shoes with a classically iconic enough design to survive the peaks and bounds of trends without having to rely on the hype machine to become known. The shoe we all (from our parents to yourselves) love, connect with and can appreciate.
The air force however nearly missed its opportunity of reaching icon status back when it was discontinued in 1984, only two years after its original release, designed by Bruce Kilgore in 1982. The shoe was the first basketball sneaker to utilise the “nike air” technology which refers to a pocket filled with air in the heel for cushioning and support. Named after the “air force one” the plane which carries the president of the United States, it introduced a new innovative approach to basketball sneakers all of which at the time stuck to traditional patterns and shapes, limiting the players in movement and comfort. The shoe gained a cult following from its initial drop in ’82, a following large enough to push nike into re-releasing it again in 1986. This shoe remains one of nikes best selling products, sporting-goods analyst Matt Powell told the New York Times that the shoe sold an estimated 12 million pairs in 2005 alone.
The unmistakable all white low, the look which perpetuated the sneaker from basketball to a cultural phenomenon is estimated to have debuted sometime in the late 90’s, 1997 being researches’ best guess however, there are records of artists like Bronx’s Lord Finesse in white-on-white highs as early as 1992, so the exact date remains uncertain. Worn by drug dealers and hustlers, their lavish lifestyles, expensive cars and glistening jewellery raised the sneakers to a new level of aspirational standing. While this is something many major brands choose to turn a blind eye to the unavoidable truth is that these individuals were both the style influencers and cultural leaders of their time transforming the inner city landscape to a high profile destination.
Eventually trailblazing rappers like Jay-Z began shouting out the white air force 1’s further cementing them as a hood classic, in his song “Can I live II” he raps “For all my N’s with the all-white Air Force Ones and black guns.”
The now staple sneakers have come a long way since their rocky start in the 80’s. Today there are nearly 2.000 different versions of the shoe from bright colour-ways to delicately placed embroidery or hand painted designs. To add to the wide range of choices nike are dropping the “LX Tear Away” Version due to drop on Saturday 25th of April at their set retail price of 85 GBP. The colourful variation in the design allows the wearer to Customise the shoes around their own personal preferences. The white-gauze like upper layer is marked with “tear here” indications and covers the entirety of the sneaker concealing the brightly coloured sections underneath like a bright blue tip, red at the lateral and vibrant hints of yellow and purple on the panels. With the option to tear away as much or as little as the wearer chooses, rarely will two pairs be identical.