How Nike Is Honoring Baltimore for Saving the Air Force 1 Sneaker Three Decades Ago

A special version of the shoe, and lots more

Nike’s exclusive, limited-edition Special Field Air Force 1 Mid “For Baltimore” sneaker commemorates a unique piece of athletic-shoe history for which Baltimore is responsible.

You see, thousands of years ago, in 1982, Nike’s Air Force 1 shoe introduced millions of feet to the company’s patented Air cushioning and comfort system. By 1984, the Air Force 1 was phasing out of production, and may have been abandoned altogether had three Baltimore retailers not intervened.

Air Force 1’s were extremely popular in Charm City, so the owners of Cinderella Shoes, Charley Rudo Sports and Downtown Locker Room convinced Nike to keep making them, which is why they’re still used in street and professional play today.

The Special Field Air Force 1s come with a comic book illustrated by Ed Piskor, and will be sold exclusively at Downtown Locker Room’s Mondawmin Mall and Monument Street locations. The Mondawmin location has also been honored with a commemorative plaque for its efforts in saving the shoe. Additionally, a mural by Piskor is planned for the former site of Cinderella Shoes, in conjunction with local community arts organization Jubilee Arts. Wieden + Kennedy coordinated the campaign.

We always hear about New York City’s connection to Nikes, but this is the first I’ve heard of Baltimore’s role in keeping the Air Force 1 alive. As a Baltimore resident, hearing this kind of interesting trivia about the city is always welcome. And unlike most Baltimore stories, it can’t be immediately hijacked by people talking about The Wire. I hope not, anyway.

CREDITS
Client: Nike

Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, Ore.
Creative Directors: Chris Groom & Antony Goldstein
Copywriter: Edward Harrison
Art Director: Jeff Williams
Account Team : Alyssa Ramsey, Vanessa Miller, Luiza Prata Carvalho, Shinya Kamata & Eric Watkins
Planning: Andy Lindblade & Reid Schilperoort
Media : Daniel Sheniak, Reme DeBisschop & Geoff Scoones
Business Affairs: Anna Beth Nagel
Interactive Production Director: Krystle Mortimore
Interactive Producer: Amy Berriochoa
Production Assistant: Shani Storey

W+K Studios
Creative Manager: Brooke Salisbury
Studio Designer: Matt Blum & Randall Garcia
Retouching: Amy Corcoran & Lilly Archer
Fabrication: Denise Hanggi & Kristin Holder

Production Company: Street Factory
Co-Founder: Matt Kelly
Director, Props & Dimensional Media Production: Allan Salmi
Director, Integrated Projects: Caleb Barton
Executive Producer: Marie Bergen
Project Manager: Dan Warner
Artist: Michael Zawlocki