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Nike Basketball 1992-2012 - Air Force 180 Low (1992)

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When the Nike Air Force 180 Low hit the hardwood in 1992, it was not only a turning point for basketball, it was also a milestone in world of sneaker design. Therefore its only fitting that Nike begins its celebration of the 20 footwear designs that changed the game forever leading up to the Olympic final with this model, worn by the man formerly known as the "Round Mound of Rebound" before he was knighted, Charles Barkley. The 1991 version of the Air Force 180 was clearly built for hard-fought, in-the-trenches basketball with a solid high-top construction and a mid-foot strap to keep the fit solid around the foot during hard play. In the following year, Nike upped the ante by introducing 50% more cushioning than any other shoe of the time while also scaling it down in height and weight, but not in its intimidating character. In the years following, as Barkely's game and reputation exploded, so did Nike's ability to design footwear to meet the challenges faced on the court, including the work on the Air Force model we see today. Take a trip down memory lane after the jump and see some behind-the-scene sketches of the 180's design. In addition to the 20 designs, find out more about other essential models throughout Nike's history in our RE-Fresh segment.