Traditionally, the Air Force 1 Low has a leather upper and the pair I got is no different. It has very similar paneling to other classic Nike’s from the 80’s, such as the Nike Dunk or even the Air Jordan 1. There are several pieces of leather sewn together much like all the classics of that era with a perforated toe box for airflow. The Air Force 1 also features a large swoosh on each side that connects at the back, and a Nike Air tag can be found on the tongue. Although the shoe is relatively plain, its lack of a complex design is part of the reason it's so iconic, and the bold swoosh branding on the sides still allows the sneaker to stand out, even in an all black upper pair like the one I got. Its chunky design also means the model is very durable, so even though rappers like Nelly have popularized only wearing a pair of Air Force 1’s once, they will hold up very well even with heavy usage.
While its basketball court days are clearly over, this is a sneaker great for everyday use and its leather upper makes it a good choice to wear it in any weather conditions. For the colder weather of course you can always try the hi top version that is not as popular but adds the ankle support and protection needed. As with many leather shoes it molds to your feet after a while and thus gets better with time, much like a fine wine.
Although the Sole Unit of the Air Force 1 Low was fitted with the best technology available to Nike in 1982, it has clearly struggled to stand the test of time. The Air Unit is surprisingly large, but is very thin, and as it's covered completely in rubber, barely compresses underfoot. This results in the sole having quite a stiff and bulky feel, that can make your feet ache if worn for too long. It does not take much to review this sneaker to see that the EVA basic insole can only provide so much cushioning but the good news is that Nike has been coming up with alternatives, such the Nike Air Force 1 Low React.
In exchange, the rubber outsole is extremely durable and works very well with the overall shape of the sneaker, so it is just a question of whether the tradeoff is worth it. Lastly, the Air Force 1’s sole also features Air branding in large letters on the heel, which doesn’t add too much other than add a bit of character to the otherwise plain midsole, but seen as the Air Unit is not visible, it is a nice touch.
How Much Are Nike Air Force Ones
With so many versions available on the market today it’s a fair question to ask how much are the Nike Air Force ones nowadays. The base price for a pair of Low classic or ‘07 is $90 but usually you can find the same shoe for $20-$30 more on eBay or other sites due to scarcity and popularity of most of the colorways. The Special Editions of the same style can run up to $110 -$130 retail price. The LV8 version of the shoe is also varies from $90 up to $150 for special editions, with the mid version of the classic falling in the same price range.
This sneaker is for a good reason the all time best selling sneaker for the brand in the US; the shoe truly has character and encapsulates a culture that is the base of what we see today on the market. Personally, I found during this Nike Air Force 1 Low review that the stylish look and ability to wear this shoe in any condition strongly outweighs the moderate arch support and frankly, a drop in insole would provide a much nicer feel under foot, for only an extra $10-15. Also, considering it will only cost you $90 to get yourself a pair, the Air Force 1 low is a perfect casual shoe for a sneaker head on a budget, or as a “beater” that you wouldn’t mind getting dirty.
Update 2022: The Air Force 1 price has gone up with the inflation with the cheapest ones going for $100. If you're looking for a cheaper pair the Nike Court Vision is a very similar sneaker to the Air Force. You can check them out here.