One cannot truly know Nike without knowing their flagship sneakers – the Air Force 1’s.
Conquering both the streets and the basketball court, the Air Force 1 became a synonym for Nike, and quintessential for their success story.
But knowing the name of a model doesn’t mean the same as knowing the history of it, understanding its uniqueness and innovation and noticing the differences between every iteration of it.
By the time you finish reading this post, you’ll be a pro and even you could answer – What is the difference between Nike Air Force 1 and 07?
Since we are spending our time to delve into shoe history for you, it’s about time we do some actual service for you guys and use our resources to stretch out an educating hand to you all and answer one of the most frequently asked questions online.
That’s just how we are, philanthropists.
So, we went online and checked google trends to try and find what is the most burning question on your minds, what sparks your imagination, what evokes your curiosity: and that was what we found.
The thing that occupies you guys the most is the difference between two, almost identical, models of Nike shoes.
Oh well, guess we’re going to talk about that now.
This is for all of you, so enjoy.
When did Air Force Ones Come Out?
Short answer: 1982.
Long answer? Hold on tight.
Nike has started initially as nothing more than a distributor for a Japanese shoe manufacturer – selling the imported shoes from the back of the then “Blue Ribbon Sports” sales car.
Which doubled as the private vehicle of the Phil Knight, Co-Founder.
This started back in 1964 when the manufacturing power of Nike was still a distant fantasy.
But in the 1980’s everything changed – from their name and logo to the whole business organization and strategy.
Nike wanted to become a sports footwear giant – and as such, they needed to incorporate ingenuity into this otherwise mundane accessory.
This innovation came in the form of Nike’s unique air technology.
Airbags were inserted to the soles of the shoes, making them that much more shock absorbent and allowing for a better grip and sprint.
The new shoe came to the world to change the way we consider the sports shoe as a whole.
To reimagine a product like that requires both great marketing and great impact on the users – luckily for Nike they had both.
Releasing a whole series of shoes – high tops, med-tops, and lows, Nike has made sure that their new design could be wearable on both the casual and professional basis and bestowed a name that suits presidents and VIP’s – the Air Force 1.
First Air Force 1 – Nike Infiltrating the Market
The ’80s proved to be an amazing ground for these ground-breaking shoes.
Marking the start of hip-hop culture, the ’80s welcomed in the casual sneaker look that Nike was fast to occupy.
It’s no coincidence that Air Force 1’s are also called “uptowns” when you think about it – originating from hip-hop culture and from inside of Harlem down-town.
The first Air Force 1 shoe had its unique aura of originality that stemmed, believe it or not, from the deubré.
It’s not a French nickname for “fresh-kicks”, or air technology for that matter, it’s what the little medallion on every Air Force 1 shoelace is called.
Nike figured that to infiltrate a market you need to create your sense of prestige – and so they did.
Creating a medallion with an imprint of the year of production, ’82, and the model name “AF-1” absolutely did the trick – becoming a status symbol the minute it was launched for commerce.
By the way, remember the medallion when we get to talk about the actual differences between the two iterations of the shoe.
Air Force 1 – the Brand and the Struggle
You’d think a name like Air Force 1 would cause some legal problem in the U.S, wouldn’t you?
And you’d be right.
Not because parliament had any issues with it, but because other shoemakers were already trying to get their hands on this super coveted shoe.
“Already LLC”, for example, went into a huge litigation battle on the infringement of the brand, name, and product.
Nike defended the Air Force 1’s like it was a living baby, warning off anyone who would want to try and snatch them for themselves.
That’s exactly what happened with “Already LLC”, only the difference was that “Already” was already making these kinds of shoes before.
Not exact, not with the same tech and not with the same swag – but with the same name.
At the end of the day, Nike was forced into a corner and backed out of the lawsuit, releasing a statement that “Already LLC” and Nike both agree that there was no act of “stealing” or “infringement” involved – allowing “Already” to keep doing what they already did.
Funny phrasing aside, this was just one of many legal struggles Nike has initiated to protect their brand in the industry, struggles that were ultimately won – for now there is only one kind of Air Force shoes – and they are all Nike.
Women’s Air Force 1 – Equal Rights, Equal Kicks
We talked a lot about the 80’s up until now, but we haven’t mentioned something so fundamental about them – the Equal Rights Amendment.
During a surge of cultural movements for the equality of all citizens in the face of the law, the ERA was a beacon of newfound hope in the U.S and implored citizens and businesses alike to address both men and women in their endeavors.
You can be sure that Nike wasn’t planning on giving up on this new market that had its own needs from their shoes and went on to create the Air Force 1’s for both men and women.
Manufacturing the shoes in 6 different styles meant that both men and women can enjoy them, customized to their own needs and wants.
As if that wasn’t enough, Nike also made sure that the WNBA league would not be left behind and spread this new technology of sports shoe to them as well.
Throughout the years and other iterations of the shoe new models were made to fit the needs of the modern woman as well, putting women, alongside men, at the top of Nike’s priorities.
Air Force 1 07 LV8 – What Does That Mean?!
First of all, calm down – you are not the first to wonder how to read or pronounce this.
Let us help you – the LV8 is pronounced like “Elevate”.
These shoes were released back in 2007 when replacing actual letters with numbers was cool.
Early 2000’s, go figure.
It’s a somewhat refurbished version of the originals, using a modern manufacturing process, and a slightly different set of materials – times have changed and so did the materials we use in shoemaking, naturally.
The main, real, difference with these shoes, as opposed to the originals, are the slightly higher they are.
The difference in the airbag technology makes the sole of this shoe a little higher, thus affecting the whole structure of it.
LV8, get it now?
Nike Air Force 1 History – The whole Shebang
Remember when I explained what deubrê means? This is where it matters most.
Throughout the years Nike has launched some iterations of the shoe but to a slight difference between them.
When something isn’t broken, why fix it right?
The only thing that changed, aside from the material and production method, is this deubrê that changes from around one – to a rectangular one.
That’s the whole shebang and the main change between Nike Air Force 1 and 07.
Your great question has been answered!
After the original launch in 1982 Nike has found that these shoes are the bomb and that nothing else needs to change except for maybe adding a few more color schemes.
And that’s exactly what happened, adding a few more with each iteration that was released.
That and the deubrê.
At the end of the day, I think it’s safe to say that Nike just listens to the needs of their clients, and their wants.
Does the public want more Air Force 1’s? They’ll manufacture another batch, slightly updated to fit the current style and durability needs.
And for you guys, it’s safe to say that there isn’t much change at all – and you can feel free to go ahead and buy the Air Force shoes you want, rocking their iconic name, whether their 1’s or 07’s.