For many of us living in New York, life still hasn't gone back to normal after the COVID-19 outbreak. This means that — among many other, more important things — I still can't be outside wearing my freshest sneakers all the time. But I'm not going to let that stop me from having new pairs show up at my door. The latest one is the Air Force 1 BeTrue, which is part of Nike's 2020 footwear and apparel collection celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community. This year's Pride-themed sneakers include the brand's iconic AF1 for the first time ever, and they come with design cues inspired by the "More Color, More Pride" flag that was introduced in 2017, in addition to the standard Pride hues.
Colors for days — A staple in sneaker culture, the Air Force 1 was a long-awaited addition to the Nike's Pride capsule, an initiative that began in 2012. In its BeTrue edition, the AF1 is colorful yet subtle, featuring a 10-color, embroidered heel mark with the more inclusive LGBTQIA+ flag, including the expanded black and brown stripes that represent contributions from people of color to LGBTQ equality. Additionally, you'll find a holographic Nike swoosh, Air logos that incorporate LGBTQIA+ accents throughout, a super soft tumbled leather, and decorative perforations that aren't typically found on the original Air Force 1 low.
Put together, these details make the $120 sneaker feel premium — all without spoiling the simplicity of the Air Force 1. Personally, what I love the most is the shiny swoosh, which also features serrated accents that give the BeTrue AF1 a delicate pop and the essence of an unfinished, raw design – similar to what Nike does with its hyped Off-White Jordan sneakers. The insoles also play on this aesthetic: orange on the left shoe, purple on the right, and they both have a large "BETRUE" graphic across.
Familiar feel, plus a great cause — If you've ever worn a pair of Air Force 1s, you'll feel right at home with these. The pair is comfortable enough to wear all day, thanks to its Air cushioning tech, though you'll need to try your best to keep them as crispy as possible since they're mostly white. Nike could've easily messed up the BeTrue AF1 by trying to do too much to it, but the brand managed to give its classic silhouette a clean look that will appeal to both Air Force 1 purists and newcomers who will want it just for the LGBTQIA+ touches. You just can't go wrong with it.
Most importantly, we can't forget that while there's definitely a marketing gain for Nike with its BeTrue gear, its 2020 collection will benefit more than 20 organizations that help the LGBTQIA+ movement. These nonprofits include Athlete Ally, Campus Pride, The GenderCool Project, Latino Equality Alliance, The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center, Queer Art, You Can Play, and many more local and national orgs that focus on "advocacy in sports, creating safe spaces, and elevating the history of the community," according to Nike. The company says it plans to donate a total of $500,000 to these causes this year alone.
Beyond the AF1 — If the Air Force 1 isn't your style, Nike is also dropping a BeTrue version of its Air Max 2090 (pictured below), which is much more colorful than the AF1 and is loaded with one of the company's most recent cushioning technologies. There's an ACG Air Deschutz sandal, too, in case you're looking for a full summer vibe — there's no shame in wearing them with socks, either.
The BeTrue Air Force 1 is up for grabs on Nike's site now for $120, but you'll need to act fast because sizes are selling out quickly. There's no telling when there will be another Pride-themed AF1, if at all, meaning I wouldn't be surprised to see the resale price of these slowly start to skyrocket. And let's face it, the last thing you want to do is end up paying a few hundred dollars above MSRP for them on GOAT, StockX, or any of the other sneaker apps.