KITH in my opinion has always been that underdog brand in the streetwear scene. Not a lot of people appreciate KITH (let alone the man behind KITH Ronnie Fieg) but when his work gets noticed, you know its something worth talking about. KITH was and will always be that one brand that puts quality > quantity for their products. You can’t look at me with a straight eye and say that KITH don’t put out quality products. Their products are easily better in quality wise than Supreme’s & Palace’s.
Ronnie Fieg is a mastermind.
Ronnie Fieg is hands down the reason why everyone wanted runners back in the day. Asics to be specific. Although he had collaborations with New Balance as well, his most memorable and iconic collaborations would be with Asics. Fieg has had a total of 50 collaborations with Asics throughout his time, so you know his relationship with them are pretty tight. Particularly the Gel-Lyte III model, no one can touch Fieg’s status when it comes to his Asics collaborations. My personal favorites from his Asics collaboration would be the Flamingos, Miami, and Salmon Toes. With Fieg being able to work with Nike, can he pull off this collaboration as compared with his Asics collection?
The First Nike AF1 Collaboration
When images first surfaced, people had mix feeling about this shoe. The first thing that came to my mind was it almost looks like a Tommy Hilfiger collaboration due to its color scheme. Then Fieg announced it on his Instagram that this pair would be a Friends & Family pair, so obtaining these pairs would be nearly impossible unless you had a F&F or a lot of money. I still don’t like this colorway because it reminds me too much of a Tommy Hilfiger shoe. No hate on that brand, but I just don’t see how this shoe associates with KITH.
Fast forward a couple months later, and Ronnie Fieg announces a brand new location of KITH opening up in Shibuya, Tokyo. The greatest news to come out of this store opening? A Japan exclusive KITH AF1. The pictures came out and they almost mimic the F&F pair except the KITH branding was on the quarter-panel of the shoe instead of the shoe, and the colors were changed to red in honor of the Japanese flag. What makes this shoe significant is that this Japan exclusive AF1 really was exclusive. Did not drop online or at any other KITH shop. Why you ask? Fieg mentioned that during the early 2000s, he would love sourcing out rare and exclusive shoes out in Japan (specifically the CO.JP) which helped him fuel his love for shoes. To keep that tradition on how it was back in the day, that’s why Fieg decided to make these a Japan exclusive.
The details on this shoe are pretty spot on. You have your premium all-white leather on the uppers of the shoe. We see a red velvet lining on this pair, on which the F&F pair did not have a velvet lining. KITH’s box logo is seen everywhere on the quarter-panel. A nice vintage/off-white sole which contracts the white uppers. To top it off, the back of the heel tab says KITH AIR instead of Nike Air, which I thought was a nice addition to the shoe.
I think this is probably one of the better Air Force 1s that came out within the past couple years. The red/white colorway screams Japan, and the more obvious KITH branding on the quarter-panel is what I like instead of it being on the swoosh. Velvet lining was an interesting touch but I’m not a fan of that. Would have preferred a leather lining instead since velvet lining usually gets my leg all sweaty.
At the end of the day, I like this collaboration but I don’t like it as much as his Asics collaboration.
You know how Kanye West had everybody wanting to wear Adidas & Ultraboost during that period? Fieg did that with runners. At one point, everyone wanted runners. Runners + Joggers were the most popular trend back then. We’ll have to wait and see what happens in the future. If my predictions are correct and AF1s are hot again, expect these shoes to shoot up in value.