Nice Kicks Feature: Bobbito “Kool Bob Love” Air Force 1 Highs

Yesterday evening we gave you a first look of the Bobbito Air Force 1 Highs that were snapped at a viewing party in Milan, Italy. We got at our man Kool Bob Love to ask him what was up with these and if there were some more for us to get excited about.

Bobbito graciously went on record with us again to talk about the upcoming Kool Bob Love Air Force 1 Highs as well as some info about his early days with the shoes. Many great photos and interview after the jump. Be sure to check out Bobbito’s blog at BounceMag as well as pick up his book “Where’d You Get Those” if you have not already – you will learn far more about kicks than any website could teach you!

We have three of the four high tops posted, but in order to see the fourth colorway, you will need to check out issue #12 and issue #13 of Bounce Magazine this fall.

Matt Halfhill – Nice Kicks: Bob, thanks once again for giving us the opportunity to speak with you. Last time we spoke, we were discussing the three low cut Kool Bob Love’s and you mentioned that you wanted to make a shoe that older dudes from your era would like as well as younger cats. Did you do the same for the high top Air Force Ones?

Bobbito Garcia: For the Air Force Highs, I don’t think that I had the younger kids in mind as much. Although I am hoping the young kids do feel them. These I really just thought about the dudes from the ’80s and what we wore in the ’80s – that was my inspiration. I added some little touches to make them more current so they weren’t straight ’80s, but they were definitely for the older set. I definitely don’t want to exclude younger kids but I think the older cats from my time will be flipping for them.

Matt: Back in the day, what was the first colorway you had of the Air Force Ones?

Bobbito: Initially they were only available in the White/Grey, but I would paint my kicks. So I painted them burgundy to match the Lower Merion High School Aces Varsity uniform.

Matt: In your book, “Where’d You Get Those?” New York City Sneaker Culture: 1960-1987, you wrote about how you first saw them in Philly for $90 which may not sound like alot, but what was the typical baller paying for a pair of kicks back then?

Bobbito: Back then, anywhere from $40 to $50. $50 was at the high end, so $90 was a major step up.

Matt: What was it like the first time that you played ball in the Air Force Ones?

Bobbito: It was obvious that they were the greatest shoe, up until that point, ever made. Nothing even came close. The midsole was double the size of most other midsoles. For a guy like myself that played alot outdoors, that was like a savior.

Matt: Could you tell a difference the first outdoor basketball season that your feet would fatigue less?

Bobbito: I don’t know if there was less fatigue. We were playing ball for 5 or 6 hours a day, so there was fatigue regardless, but in the back of my head I kinda thought that in the long run, the extra cushioning might help save my knees.

I’ll say this too. I used to twist my ankle ALL the time playing ball and i rarely twisted my ankle in Air Force Ones. The reason was that the midsole wasn’t just thick, it was wide. And again, compared to sneakers available at that time, so when you came down with the wider outsole, there was less chance for you to turn your ankle. The strap and the higher cut didn’t really help that much, when you are going to twist your ankle, your going to twist your ankle – you could lace and strap those kicks up Arnold Schwarzenegger strength. Thats why I felt comfortable playing ball in Air Force 1 lows, because the shoe had such a solid, wide outsole.

Matt: Touching back to the inspiration from the shoes, did you think about the 80’s more because the shoes were high tops and more high tops were worn back then?

Bobbito: The first three we did the low cut, but it was really Nike’s idea to do a high cut for the Fall release which I had no opposition to – I’ve worn both. But because they were a high top, to me that’s more of a basketball aesthetic than a chillin’ aesthetic. I think most people who wear Air Force 1s for chillin’ wear lows.

When it came to the high top aesthetic, I thought let me make these kicks more straight ball sneakers ball design. However, I did flip two that you will see on BounceMag hopefully later on today . I did two that are straight for chillin’, not for ballin’ at all. you’ll see them in a second. They are straight for wearing with jeans. Not crazy colors – very much old school “I can rock there with a bunch of outfits” colors.

Matt: Once again, big thanks for doing this with us again.

Bobbito: No doubt, peace.

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