The Nike Air Force 1’s are an iconic shoe. You only need to look at Nelly’s discography to figure that out. People have been stompin’ in their Air Force 1’s since 1982; more specifically, men have been stompin’ in their AF1s.

Last week, Nike released their first ever Air Force 1’s for women. The new model – aptly titled the Force is Female AF1s – launched to celebrate women’s empowerment and how women are, and always have been, a force to be reckoned with. The newest campaign aims to spotlight various women who are shaping culture, creating the future, and inspiring their communities. The newest edition of the AF1s are for the “females who live outside of the box and challenge everyone to push the boundaries.”

Nike’s Force is Female campaign is a welcome addition to the barrage of women’s empowerment movements that have ushered in 2018. The company has reinvented one of it’s most iconic male shoes for women – with an empowering message that brings to light the stories of many different individuals who are striving to break boundaries (and glass ceilings).

I had the opportunity to spend some time with Nike last weekend to hear more about the launch, got to try a pair of the AF1s, and customize a pair (with my own #ForceIsFemale message). My Nike family in Chicago is always so generous to me and it was inspiring to listen to some of the Chicago entrepreneurs and #girlbosses that they tapped to help promote the launch.

We kicked off the weekend with an intimate breakfast at Little Goat Diner, which is a Chicago staple and run by Executive Chef Stephanie Izard. Izard is a landmark in the Chicago dining scene; it was great to see that we were starting the weekend at a restaurant that was run by such a powerful and well-noted female chef in the city.

The hosts – Kristen Noel Crawley and Liz Smart – are Chicago-based entrepreneurs and photographers, respectively. Noel Crawley is behind the viral lip sheet masks of KNC Beauty (that you have probably seen all over Instagram) and Smart is the photographer behind the body-positive Alphabodies photography series.

Potentially the funnest part of the weekend was getting to customize a pair of the AF1s! Nike launched a workshop for the weekend inside the Nordstrom x Nike pop-up on Michigan Ave. You could customize every element of your AF1s – from painting them to adding stickers and changing the laces.

I like to think that I’m a minimalist at heart – even though my apartment would beg to differ – so I kept it simple. For my AF1s, I added black and leopard print swooshes and painted the back of the shoe black. We also added custom black metal tips to the end of the laces. Perhaps the coolest part, however, was engraving the lace plates.

Part of the Force Is Female activation is finding your own force. Earlier this year, I decided that “keep going” was my mantra for 2018. I was able to engrave ‘KEEP’ ‘GOING’ on the plates, so with every step I take forward in the new Force is Female AF1s, I’m reminded to keep going. 

Overall, it’s always fantastic to get to celebrate with Nike, but this particular launch was one of their most inspiring and empowering events. By bringing the feminine force to the already iconic AF1s, Nike has put a stamp on their own product line by encouraging women to find their force and break the boundaries – a message we can all get behind.