Nike Air Force 1 “Year of the Monkey” Customs by Zhijun Wang

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Nike may have just released its own pair of Quickstrike Air Force 1s commemorating the Chinese New Year, but reputed Chinese designer Zhijun Wang has revealed a pair of custom Forces dedicated to the Year of the Monkey that rivals the many of the Swoosh’s own in-house designs.

The customized lows are made up of a beige leather upper combined with leather accents, maroon livery and geometric motifs that reference the Chinese zodiac.

Click here to look back at Wang’s previous customs dedicated to the Year of the Horse.

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3.1 Phillip Lim 2015 Spring/Summer Footwear

25 Chinese Sneakerheads take a sneak peek of the new upcoming Nike Air Force 1

Originally released in 1982, the Nike Air Force 1 has since become an instantly recognizable and iconic silhouette, and for many, its incorporation of Nike Air technology heralded the beginning of an age in which basketball sneakers would tread the line between performance and cultural relevance.

Even more so, the Air Force 1 holds special significance in China, where its arrival following Nike‘s entry into the Chinese market in 1980 symbolized the first tendrils of basketball and hip-hop culture taking root into the minds of the youth. With each successive rendition of the Air Force 1 targeted at the Chinese consumer, Nike’s foothold in the Chinese imagination grew until “Nai Ke,” the brand name’s Chinese transliteration, evoked memories of the court, the street, and school.

For 2015, the original ’80s silhouette of the Air Force 1 has been reworked for Chinese consumers, featuring all-over white premium leather, a white sole, and red suede Swoosh, finished off with Nike’s Chinese name embroidered in red on the heel. We brought the new model to 25 sneakerheads across China for their thoughts on the heritage of the silhouette in the country, listening to each individual’s personal connection to the Air Force 1 and their memories associated with the shoe.

Along with a special Nike “Nai Ke” tank, crew and cap, the Nike Air Force 1 Hi “Nai Ke” will be available a tNike and select Chinese retailers on the mid of January.