Nike Air Force 1 High SL

by Henrik Buzzi


Starting on the court and making noise in the streets, this shoe represent five decades of design innovation. Premium stitched. Crafted in rich vachetta leather. Detailed with rose gold hardware. Comfort and luxury align, not to be on display but to be on your feet. Like the intent set from day 1, the AF1 will continue to lead and reign supreme. The Air Force 1 was adopted outside the lines not long after its arrival. Becoming one of the most revered and versatile sneakers ever, it fits an everyday aesthetic while still being sophisticated enough for an elegant night out.

This idea of versatility led the Nike Sportswear design team to think of new ways to bring the icon to life. “What if we took the AF1 and not necessarily create a new shoe, but can we look at every little detail on this shoe and make it as premium and luxury as possible?” explained designer Devon McKinney when telling the story behind the new Air Force 1 High SL. Luxury in the design comes to life in everything from the Italian vachetta tan leathers utilized to the 24K Rose Gold plated collar ring, removable lace tips, dubrae and tongue badge. It began with obsessing every little detail in the shoe, making sure nothing goes overlooked. “The overall thought was how do we obsess over every little detail. It began with craft. We wanted to look at things we maybe take for granted like the ends of the laces, the attention to detail in stitches and the way we treat edges.” He shared.

This idea of craft is most evident in the unique steering wheel-inspired stitching utilized throughout the upper, an idea that connected with McKinney thanks to the attention to detail and fine craftsmanship involved with these hand stitched steering wheels in luxury vehicles. The unique stitch comes to life along the Swoosh and updated premium leather strap. Building on this initial thought, the team continued to think deeper and find ways to not only bring luxury to the table, but also innovate the iconic design. “What makes this unique to Nike?” What can we do that no one else could do?” McKinney expressed when discussing the innovation. “So it’s about the craft but also about comfort and the performance aspect.”

While traditional in appearance, the design was updated from top to bottom for improved overall fit and comfort. In the upper, certain areas were deconstructed to make this better fit and level of comfort possible. “To provide more comfort to your foot, we’ve decreased the foam package. Its tighter to your foot, it wears better and it doesn’t move, it’s a bit more fashion forward perhaps.” Down below, drop-in cushioning takes underfoot comfort to new places for the AF1. The drop-in midsole features sipings for flexibility, Lunarlon foam and Zoom Air cushioning in the heel. Now a complete package, the design packs Nike DNA that spans over four decades of Nike heritage; classic AF1 detailing, luxurious materials and innovative cushioning. Coming together as one, the Air Force 1 High SL is the first of many Sport Luxury models that nod to the unforgettable era that set the tone for years to come. Available now at selected retailers.