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Everything You Need to Know About the Nike Air Force 1 in 1,000 Words

How a nearly discontinued shoe became a global icon.


The Nike Air Force 1 is an iconic shoe that goes by many names. Nike Airs. Forces. Flaves. White-on-whites. Coke whites. Uptowns. And like many iconic shoes, the history of the Air Force 1 is anything but predictable.

The story begins with Frank Rudy, a NASA aeronautical engineer who approached Nike with the idea of a cushioning system that used inert gas encapsulated inside a plastic “bubble.” Enter Nike Air. The first shoe to use the innovative technology and bear its futuristic name was the Nike Air Tailwind, a 1979 runner available to this day.