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Air Force 1 Sage

The Nike Air Force 1 Sage is a female-specific design crafted by women. Its large platform midsole immediately makes it stand out from the crowd, raising the wearer 35% higher than most other AF1s. Underneath, the outsole features the typical concentric circle tread the original was known for, but only has the wider grooves – the thinner ones have been filled in, giving it a chunkier feel. Meanwhile, the wedge midsole retains the embossed Air lettering on its lateral heel and its equivalent cushioning inside.

The upper is stripped back, with the stitching around the toe box and between the overlays completely hidden. There are fewer segments too – one at the front combining the entire vamp, with another behind it stretching around the heel and extending up over the highest eyelet on either side. At the other end of the laces, the lowest eyelet has been placed within the toe box, and there are just five in total on each side. Added to the fact there is no eyestay, this lends the Air Force 1 Sage an offbeat look. Many Sage sneakers are decorated with powerful colour-blocking, for example the pale green Olive Aura and the deep purple True Berry, both of which have suede uppers atop white rubber sole units. This entirely white sole is also common, though there are exceptions like the Cool Grey, which has a gum outsole below a white midsole and stylish grey upper.

In the forefoot, the large toe box contains perforations separated into seven lines that fan out away from the laces. There is also a bow-shaped set of stitching between the perforations and the lace lock, which is a hollow rectangular tube with debossed AF1 lettering. It often comes in a tone to match the rest of the upper, such as on the beige-coloured Desert Ore, though models like the Triple White display a variation between the two elements, its outer being completely white and its dubrae silver. Down the sides of the AF1 Sage, the classic Nike swoosh overlays the midfoot, its tail angling up in a line towards the heel panel. One notable exception to this is the LX Light Cream, which, alongside other LX models, has a plastic swoosh outline that is sewn to the upper via a set of large stitches. At the heel, there is a broad patch with a dual band of stitching along its bottom edge that tucks into the topline to create a smooth seam.

The Air Force 1 Sage comes with its own particular branding too – the heel and tongue patches have a Nike swoosh placed next to AF-1 text that includes a characteristic hyphen. On the pink outer of the Barely Rose sneaker, the heel branding is printed in black, and its tongue label features more traditional Nike Air text, but on most Sage editions, such as the Copper Moon, the branding is debossed into these elements of the shoe. There is also another layout that can be found on models like the Celery colourway, whose yellow heel patch has the same emblem but with only the outline debossed into its exterior.

The Nike Air Force 1 Sage Low is not the only style or model of Sage available; there is also the Sage XX release. This minimalist women’s design has many of the features of the Air Force 1 Sage Low, including its raised midsole and pivot-circle outsole, but has been stripped back even further to create a slip-on sneaker. It has no laces, and its upper is made of two simple pieces with a seam that runs across the top of the midfoot. The rear piece attaches directly to the heel panel on the lateral side, leading to the presence of an overlaid seam that makes its way down the panel’s medial edge before turning downwards at a right angle towards the midsole. It retains perforations in the forefoot, though there is no toe box, and it has a small embroidered swoosh on the lateral flank along with more traditional Nike Air text sewn into the heel and tongue patches. Finally, its insole is decorated with embossed circular patterns that mirror the formations on the outsole beneath it. 

An even bigger deviation from the look of the AF1 Sage Low occurs on the Nike Air Force 1 Sage High and its Sage High LX counterpart. Released as a winter-ready boot, it has the same boosted sole unit of the other Sage styles, but its upper is a single piece of synthetic material that extends up the leg to provide added protection against the elements. It comes with a pair of ankle straps, one of which has an AF1-branded buckle to secure it, while the other has Nike Air branding alongside the words “Force is Female”. These can be threaded through a loop that emerges from the triangular heel panel, which itself has a single swoosh printed onto it. There is a long zip from top to bottom of the upper down the medial side, an exaggerated zip pull hanging from it. Another subtle swoosh can just be made out on the lateral side of the foot, and a mudguard circumnavigates the whole boot. This completes the set of Air Force 1 Sage models, each with its own pared back, stylish look that uplifts the AF-1 design.

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