We teamed up with the data wizards at StockX to present the numbers behind six big trends that dominated the sneaker world in 2017.
The Nike Air Force 1 is an accomplished shoe, by any measure. Released in 1982 and designed by Bruce Kilgore (Kilgore's son Matt worked with Virgil Abloh on re-designing the Air Force 1 for "The Ten" collection), the sneaker is what many would call a cult icon, especially in hip-hop circles. The shoe has produced many legendary anecdotes; it's been banned from MTV, Dr. Dre reportedly laces up a box fresh pair every single day, and it's the unofficial sneaker of Harlem, New York, where Air Force 1s have been affectionately nicknamed "Uptowns."
Last year, Nike stirred up considerable fanfare around the 35th anniversary of the classic basketball low-top. High profile collaborations and special make-ups arrived throughout the year, not limited to an NBA pack, the "AF100" with collaborations from Travis Scott and ACRONYM, as well as Virgil Abloh's internet-breaking Air Force 1.
Below, we dissect the numbers behind the biggest Air Force 1 releases of 2017.
Also, don't miss our data-driven analysis of YEEZYs in 2017.
Nike Air Force 1 by Popularity
Virgil Abloh & Nike's "The Ten" was the biggest sneaker release event of 2017, and arguing otherwise would be difficult. Founder of OFF-WHITE, Abloh's Air Force 1 from the "GHOSTING" component of the release featured translucent panels, "AIR" branding on the midsole, and a signature red zip tag. Over a quarter of the 2017 Air Force 1 market share on StockX is accounted for by this release, clocking in at 27%, suggesting that it was a tempting flip for many who got their hands on a pair.
Abloh's Air Force 1 design was transacted with twice the frequently of the second-biggest market share, represented by Travis Scott's "AF100" design featuring velcro Swoosh details, at 13%. In third, we find the Special Field-edition Nike Air Force 1 in a "Desert Camo" colorway. We look at the Special Field release in detail later in the article.
It's no huge surprise that the Air Force 1 with the biggest resale premium - at a whopping 552% - is the notorious VLONE x Nike Air Force 1, from A$AP Bari's discontinued collaboration. The aforementioned collaboration is now surrounded by a sense of taboo, after unsavory videos of VLONE founder A$AP Bari surfaced on the web. In turn, this has made items from the range - like the Air Force 1s - more collectible to some. Not long after Highsnobiety first broke the news that Nike officially cut all ties with Bari in July 2017, we spotted the VLONE x Nike Air Force 1 High at sneaker tradeshow Sneakerness Paris with an astronomical premium attached, selling for 7,000 EUR (approximately $8,571).
Following in second, Virgil Abloh's Complex Con-exclusive "AF100" Air Force 1 makeup was flipping with a 498% premium. Abloh explained the design for Nike, noting "White is the theme for this third Air Force 1, looking at the cultural context of the white on white — editing it, but not editing it too far to where it becomes something else.” Only limited numbers were available at Complex Con, while friends & family of Abloh and Nike also received pairs. In third, another Abloh take on the Air Force 1, for his "The Ten" collection with Nike, which was more readily available on a global level, and came with an average premium of 211% on StockX.
Air Force 1 Market Share
The chart above shows total volume of all Air Force 1 sales in 2017 represented by the grey chart, with specific colorway releases called out through the year. Nike's big Air Force 1 push became more evident towards the end of 2017, when a handful of high-profile collaborations finally landed. While the tail end of 2016 heralded the introduction of the militaristic Special Field-edition Air Force 1, the "Desert Camo" colorway arrived later in February, showing a spike in market share.
The landscape began to change in November, when Travis Scott, Virgil Abloh and Roc-a-Fella collaborations started to roll out as part of the momentous "AF100" pack. From November to December, the Air Force 1 market share continued to rise, leading up to the release of Travis Scott's "AF100" design with customizable velcro Swoosh details, peaking with the highest Air Force 1 market share at the time.
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