The Nike Air Force 1 shoe is perhaps the most iconic piece of footwear ever created. It spurred an entire industry of sneakerheads – people who collect and trade shoes – and the Nike AF1 is one of the most collectible items for this genre of collector.
So, it’s not surprising that there is industry buzz about a new Nike Air Force 1 being created.
With each release, Nike has kept AF1 brand in line with its urban roots, where playing basketball on the street gave rise to young kids who would dream of following their heroes, like Michael Jordan, onto the courts of the NBA.
Now having more of a cult following, Nike has been branching out with its AF1 offerings, and last month the sport brand debuted a special AF1, which pays tribute to Baltimore’s 12 O’Clock Boys.
If all of this sounds unfamiliar, then you have been living in your own suburban echo chamber, with the 12 O’Clock Boys being a controversial group of motorcycle stunters, who made a reputation for themselves by taking over the city streets in Baltimore with their dirt bikes.
The group was made famous in the 2013 film by Lotfy Nathan (which itself was inspired by a 2001 documentary, 12 O’Clock Boyz), and since then similar groups have popped up in locations throughout the United States.
One part hooligan exhibition, another part social commentary, the cultural component to 12 O’Clock Boys phenomenon fits into the hyper-niche urban ethos that made the Nike AF1 series so popular in the first place.
Now, the Oregonian shoe company is recognizing that fact, with a Nike SF Air Force 1 Mid that has bold colors, a reinforced toe for shifting, and the words “RAISE IT UP” on the ankle strap.
It doesn’t matter if you love or hate what groups like the 12 O’Clock Boys are doing for the reputation of motorcyclists, but when the industry professionals ask how to engage a younger generation of rider, be sure to bring up this group and the effects it has had on the urban motorcycle scene.
Of note as well is a report by our friends at MotoFire, who today talked about how Puma and Rihanna have teamed up to make motorcycle-themed apparel for the catwalk. It should be noted that Puma used to make technical gear for motorcyclists, with a focus on riding boots.