I'm on the internet as much as the next guy so I can spot a click-bait hot take title to an article from a mile away so shout out to @highsnobietysneakers on Instagram for one of the more ridiculous articles you'll ever see (yes I know the whole point of the article is to get people up in arms and here I am, a sheep to it all). High Snobiety's sneaker page on Instagram posted an article today titled "New Balance Finally Has A Competitor To Nike's AF1" referencing New Balances 550 silhouette and I have never read a more incorrect statement when it comes to sneakers maybe ever!
Hear me out, I'm going to preface this for the people that don't know me but I am New Balance through and through so there is no hate and no shade when I'm talking about this but NOTHING competes with the AF1. Yeah there are other shoes with massive cultural relevance like the Jordan 1 and the Stan Smith but the buck stops at the Air Force 1. If you ask any real hard core in the trenches sneakerhead OG they will all say it's forces over everything. Find me a person who is going in and buying 100 pairs of the exact same Jordan 1 or NB 550 at the exact same time like Dr. Dre or Jay-Z, find me sneakerheads rocking a new pair of 550's every single day.
The craziest part of the entire thing is that I've solely focused on people who would refer to themselves as sneakerheads and haven't even touch on the general consumer population. I love the NB 550 I have some and they are more beautiful than a Rembrandt but you don't really see just regular consumers in 550's. I understand that availability of the 550 has a part to play and that NB just brought this silhouette back out of their vault from the 80's last year but we can't even pretend like there is ever going to be a sneaker like the AF1. What other sneaker are you going to see in the first day of school fits fresh out of the box, beat down holding on by a single seam on every girl at a frat party and front and center of a Rap video? That's called range, the 550 could never.
I haven't even touched on all the iconic colorways and collaborations throughout the history of the AF1 I've only talked about the relevance of the all white forces. From Playstation to Entourage to Scarrs Pizza there is a grail AF1 for every taste. Look no further than the major collectors in the sneaker world Fat Joe, DJ Clark Kent, Mayor etc... They will die on the AF1 hill (Mayor at one point had 1000 pairs of just AF1's). You can go through their sneaker history and it starts and ends with the AF1. True blue sneaker collectors know that there is no debate whatsoever so I may just be preaching to the choir but if New Balance is going to take a shot at the king it better not miss.