It is a great source for creativity and empowerment

Some sneakers appear for a year or two, some live on forever. In the case of the Air Force 1, Nike’s legacy basketball sneaker has been in the scene since its debut in 1982. 36 years since then, the Air Force 1 is seen beyond the court: rappers, dancers, and street artists have been rocking the Air Force 1s in its many iterations, from the classic triple whites to the special edition models like the Off-White Air Force 1.

We asked the members of the Blank Canvas Collective—comprising of master planner Kayo Cosio, street artist Jade Suayan, illustrator Lari Gazmen and toy designer Quiccs—to share their thoughts on the importance of the Air Force 1 in sneaker culture:


Kayo Cosio

“While a lot can be derived from the design itself, most of it is derived from its cultural impact. You just go on Instagram and use the hashtag #customAF1, and there’s like thousands of people customizing their AF1s. It’s position in the culture right now is that when you interact with the AF1—whether its that Triple White, wearing one of these cool new limited versions, or customizing them yourself—you are getting involved in a bigger discussion.”


Lari Gazmen

“In 1997, Missy Elliott released her album Supa Dupa Fly. That was the album that made her famous, made her career. If you Google the cover art, you can see Missy lying on the couch, with her foot up, showing the sole of the Air Force 1. I look up to her, and that album is a milestone for me because back in the 90s, lahat ng babae sa mga rap videos are always scantily clad. Laking lola ako, and what was empowering for me was pajamas and big clothes. Seeing Missy with such getup made me connect with her music and style.”

Jade Suayan aka Syn

Sabi ng iba yun art ay para sa mayayaman lang, na sila lang daw may access sa mga art galleries. Gusto ko sabihin na ang art ay hindi lang para sa mga mayayaman. Parang ganun lang yun ginawa ko sa [Air Force 1]: parang din siya isang gallery na pwede mo ilakad para makita ng mga tao. Alam mo yun naglalakad ka lang tapos may titingnin sa [sapatos mo]? Para lang nageexhibit ako, pero nagagawa ko sa sapatos.”


Matagal na akong fan ng Air Force 1s, but lagi yun Triple Whites yun gusto ko. Dikit siya sa hip-hop culture yun pag-project na super crisp ng soles mo. May mas malalalim pa na meaning yan in a sense na ang hip-hop galing sa slum area ng [United States], at gusto nila i-portray na kahit mahirap sila, through their clothes and their shoes, masaya pa rin buhay nila.”


How is the Air Force 1 relevant for you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Duey Guison

Duey Guison

While he is a tech writer, sneakers is his main passion.