London probably isn’t the first city that comes to mind when someone mentions the Nike Air Force 1, yet it would be remiss to say that Britain’s capital doesn’t enjoy a special affiliation with the legendary sneaker. Sure, the AF1 is, and always will be, New York through and through, but having enjoyed a spate of signature and rare collaborative releases since the turn of the millennium, the model’s status across the pond is all but assured.
When exclusive colorways of the AF1 began appearing on the London high street courtesy of retailer JD Sports back in ’00, ‘heads abroad—including the legendary DJ Clark Kent—sat up and took notice, placing bulk orders for the kicks. At long last, the UK was on the map as a player in the sneaker industry, emerging from the shadows of the U.S. and Japan.
It wasn’t long before Nike bestowed London with its first signature AF1s in the “Carnival” pack, and then, in 2007, came the “World Love” pack, which featured a tribute to the Brixton Top Cats basketball side. These days, the AF1 is ubiquitous across the country, so much so that if you’re a British teenager who was born in the early ’00s, the idea of the shoe as an exclusively American staple is no doubt quaint. It says a lot that designers like Samuel Ross have seized the opportunity to use the silhouette as a canvass of expression, whereas his predecessors would probably have balked.
Born 2000, Jadon Sancho is one of those aforementioned teenagers who grew up with the AF1. Just 17, the young footballer is regarded as the jewel in the crown of the English FA’s youth system, and in the summer, helped his country’s under 17s team to its first-ever World Cup victory. After being promoted to the Manchester City first team squad under Pep Guardiola, Sancho surprisingly walked away from the glitz of the EPL in search of first-team action, opting to sign for German giants Borussia Dortmund for a reported fee of around $10,500,000.
Back in London to promote Nike’s latest AF1 campaign—joined by rapper AJ Tracey, rapper/actress Little Simz, and fellow footballer Leah Williamson—Jadon took some time out to answer some questions for Highsnobiety. Peep what he said below, and then check out what went down at the ACRONYM x Nike Lunar Force 1 in Berlin last week.
How’s life in Dortmund treating you?
It’s been good! My teammates have helped me settle in, both on and off the pitch. I’m getting to know the city more and I’m enjoying it.
What’s your daily routine like?
My daily routine is training, recovery and relaxing. On days off I tend to have family or close friends over from London quite a lot, so I get to catch up with them. But my focus is football so the majority of my time is spent focussing on improving my game.
Have you tried out the footbonaut?
I have, it’s really fun; it keeps you guessing, you’ve got to be sharp.
What was the experience like at the Under 17 World Cup?
It was amazing. As a team, we put in everything and it paid off. The energy in the stadiums during our matches was crazy. We got to spend time with the young kids in the local community, which was good. It’s always an honor to be involved and represent England.
How has it been training with superstars like Aubameyang and Kagawa?
It’s great, they’re obviously world-class players and I’ve already learned so much from just being around them. They’ve been looking out for me, which is nice. It’s good having people around who advise and want the best for me.
I saw a video of you rapping with Aubey, who are your favorite music artists?
I listen to so many, so it’s hard to choose. I’d go with Future, Tory lanez and Migos at the moment.
What would you say has been the biggest banger in 2017?
“My Dawg” by Lil Baby, that’s a serious tune.
How big a role does fashion play in your life?
I like to keep updated with my clothes. If I like something then I’ll get it. Fashion is important.
What has your favourite sneaker been this year?
That’s easy, the Air Force 1!
And what about your favourite soccer cleat of all time?
The Nike Mercurial Superfly — the boots I currently play in.
Do you have any resolutions for next year?
My focus is on becoming a starter at Dortmund. I know if I keep working hard in training and doing my best, the opportunity will come, and when it does, I want to be prepared to take it.
For more football talk, check out a previous interview with Real Madrid superstar Karim Benzema below.