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Who Wore That? Nike Air Force 180

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Retro sneakers are all the rage right now, and if you’re a part of the movement that’s bent on bringing kicks back from the past, it’s important to know why they’re popular in the first place. Although school’s out, class is back in session, because we’re about to shed some light on the history of a particular shoe that we feel isn’t been done enough justice. Feel free to take notes.

Lesson One: You’ve heard of the Air Force One, but today’s lecture isn’t about that model. Our discussion is pertaining to his “in your face” cousin, the Air Force 180. Just from the name, you can expect a complete turnaround, the opposite of the Air Force One. While the One sported a sleek and clean look, the Air Force 180 kicked everything up a notch. An exposed Max Air unit, strap stretching over the upper and hybrid materials made the 180 a no-nonsense shoe that was all about business. Which brings us to Lesson Two..

Lesson Two: Known as the man who was just a basketball player and not a role model, Charles Barkley was chosen by Nike to sport the Air Force 180 on the court. Released in 1992, “Sir Charles” was playing in his final season with the Philadelphia 76ers and at the peak of his prime. Known for his tenacious style of play and unrelenting passion, you can say the man fit the shoe and the shoe fit the man.

Lesson Three: Why does this all matter? If you don’t remember, 1992 was the year of the Dream Team and, you guessed it, Sir Charles was a instrumental in their run, as the U.S. National team dominated their opponents on a world stage. Being in many ways the heart of the team, Barkley and the Air Force 180 embodied everything the United States as whole, stood for.

So, now that you’ve gotten a little background on one of the best basketball shoes that Nike has ever offered, take pride the next time you pull them out of your closet or see them on the street. Charles may not have been a role model, but he definitely set the tone for how a player should approach the game. Class dismissed.

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