Revered by A-listers, fashion insiders and Instagrammers alike, the Nike Air Force 1 Shadow is a sister shoe to 1982’s Bruce Kilgore-designed Nike Air Force 1. A sneaker that shaped the industry and redefined sportswear, the AF1 is an icon in its own right and quickly secured a place in the sneaker hall of fame shortly after its debut. Over the years, the AF-1 has received more makeovers than Kate Moss, and every single iteration has quickly become a must-have in the shoedrobes of Nike lovers across the globe. However, it wasn’t until very recently – 2019 to be exact – that Nike crafted an extra-special Force with women in mind. Enter: the Nike Air Force 1 Shadow. Expertly designed by Nike’s Senior Creative Director for Women’s Footwear, Georgina James, the AF1 Shadow was the first sneaker on the scene to put females at the forefront and cater solely to the styling needs of women.
Designed with a thicker sole and a focus on branding, the Nike Air Force 1 Shadow nods to the layering trend. Lucy Bower, Senior Product Line Manager at Nike, said of the shoe: “It’s about having fun, doing something playful, super interesting, and amplifying all branding details. It’s very simple and pure in that sense.” In the spirit of playfulness, the original colourways of the AF-1 Shadow utilise pastel purples, pretty pinks and vibrant blues to appeal to a new audience. When it comes to the ‘shadow’ element of the shoe, prominent Swooshes and heel patches shadow their counterparts and mirroring can be found throughout the design. Modern, abstract and undeniably unique, the AF1 Shadow is more than just a sneaker; it’s a statement.
Modern, abstract and undeniably unique, the AF1 Shadow is more than just a sneaker; it’s a statement.
From the Nike Air Max 90 to the Jordan 1 and Air Max 95, silhouettes designed by men, for men, continue to dominate the industry to this day. Even the sneaker community’s beloved Air Force 1 originated as a men’s basketball shoe. But as more and more women use their voice to speak up in the community, brands are finally cottoning on to the demand among female ‘sneakerheads’ and releasing women’s-exclusive silhouettes that cater to smaller feet and more ‘feminine’ styles.
What’s more, those OG silhouettes are becoming increasingly available in inclusive sizes – this works to deter any divide that may exist between ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ styles. Whether you’re a woman who loves the Nike TN Air Max Plus Black/Orange or you’re a guy who loves the Air Force 1 ‘Pink Foam’, inclusive sizing means you can cop any style without being held back by size. While the industry as a whole still has quite a way to go when it comes to inclusive sizing, silhouettes like the Shadow and a broader size range on Jordans and Dunks shows that the key players are listening.
Inclusive sizing means you can cop any style without being held back by size.
The real question is why is the Nike Air Force 1 Shadow so popular? The Shadow is undoubtedly a fave kick here at fashion nike roshe run slip on, and ever since its 2019 debut, the shoe has sold out colourway after colourway with some key pairs selling out in seconds. 2020’s Nike Air Force 1 Shadow Pastel caused waves and was practically impossible to get your hands on when it landed around Easter, while the legendary Nike Air Force 1 ‘Pistachio Frost’ now sells for around £400 on StockX. Touching on the endless wearability of the shoe and its signature thick sole, Emily from The Giftofvision said: “The AF1 Shadow is my favourite iteration of the classic AF1 – I love the chunky vibe and huge range of colourways which match any occasion.”
Another fan of the shoe from fashion nike roshe run slip on said: “The Air Force 1 Shadow feels like the first shoe that catered to all my style needs – and it was nearly ALWAYS available in my size! Every single colourway is cute AF and the silhouette just has this desirability factor. It’s the first sneaker I got proper hooked on, so the Shadow definitely has a special place in my heart.” A feeling that contingently resonates with female sneakerheads everywhere, the AF1 Shadow feels like one of the first Nike silhouettes that really championed women. Flipping the brand’s male-led product lines on its head, this is a trainer designed by women, for women, which is what makes the shoe an absolute powerhouse.
Every single colourway is cute AF and the silhouette just has this desirability factor.
Now one of Nike’s bestselling Air Force 1 iterations, the Shadow paved the way for more women’s-exclusive AF-1 iterations to follow. In 2020, the Nike Air Force 1 Pixel debuted as the second female-led silhouette with Nike saying on their Pixel product page that the shoe is: “a re-imagined off-court style made by and for women.” While the Pixel has received slightly less hype than the legendary Shadow, it has cemented a place in the summer shoedrobes of Nike fans everywhere thanks to its unique details and coveted colourways.
A sneaker that has definitely earned a place in the hearts of female sneakerheads across the world, the Nike Air Force 1 is a beacon of hope for inclusivity in sizing as the trainer industry continued to thrive. At fashion nike roshe run slip on, we look forward to witnessing the continued success of female-designed kicks made with women in mind and we can’t wait to see what Nike has in store next.