The Air Force 1 is the shoe that started sneaker culture. Peddling exclusive colors each month, a cartel of Baltimore-area retailers helped develop the concept of the sneaker collaboration and the regional-exclusive release. Those stores helped “save” the sneaker, and spur heavy demand. The reason the Air Force 1 is such a New York City style icon is undoubtedly off the back of the interstate resell market that cropped up around shuttling exclusive Ones on I-95 between Baltimore, Philadelphia and NYC.

Ranking the top Air Force 1 of all-time is an exercise in splitting hairs—with over 2000 versions, there’s plenty of room for disagreement, and with 35 years of history, countless trends have come and gone. We’d be remiss to not mention the classics —white-on-white, black-on-black, and wheat highs—that should appear on any “Greatest Air Force 1s” list. As the hype surrounding Virgil Abloh’s latest take on the Air Force 1 dies down, and with all that being said, these are just a few of our favorite Air Force 1 grails.

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