size?collections | Rhys Mckellar | Air Force 1 Collector

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Rounding out the end of 2022, we’re finishing this year’s size? collections with a fitting tribute to the Nike Air Force 1. This year has seen a tonne of releases marking forty years of the AF1, and to honour the celebrations we headed up to Scotland to meet up with Air Force 1 collector Rhys Mckellar.

Rhys is an Air Force 1 enthusiast with a collection spanning around 150 pairs. “I’ve been collecting Air Force 1s for four years but been fully collecting trainers for seven”, with around a hundred of his main rotation kept in his room and the rest in storage. The collecting bug began years ago, with Rhys citing the Air Huarache as his first pair, a Quickstrike release bought from size? which he wore whilst in school.

Reflecting on how he first came to collecting, Rhys said “The person that influenced me the most to start collecting would be my uncle… he wasn’t really a collector anyway, I just saw him having more shoes than one pair of shoes from a young age, so that kinda was a collector to me.” From there, Rhys’ main influences were Mayor, Fat Joe and Clark Kent, all AF1 experts who fuelled his interest in the silhouette.

It’s mainly the variety and history behind the AF1 which appeals to Rhys, stating “the majority of these shoes that I’ve got now have great stories behind them”. His rarest pair –  Nike Air Force 1 Low Chamber of Fear ‘Hype’ – harks back to 2005, which Rhys regards as the best era for AF1 releases. Sadly, he never got to wear the pair as one of the shoes crumbled, but the remaining one is a gem in his collection.

His favourite pair? The Nike Air Force 1 Low ’03 x Mr. Cartoon ‘Clown’. Received as a gift for his 21st birthday, he says this one is a “shoe like no other” thanks to the engraving and contrast stitching which embellishes the model. As for his most underrated, it’s the Nike Air Force 1 Low ‘Acorn’, which dates back to 2002. In Rhys’ opinion, this release remains unmatched by any retroes of the silhouette which have come about, thanks to the standard of materials used in the OG.

Rhys is also no stranger to Nike IDs, with several pairs included in his collection. There’s a pair themed around Modern Warfare 2 – his favourite game growing up – and plenty of patent leather options inspired by Mayor’s collection. There’s also a baby pink and baby blue AF1 in homage to Fat Joe, too.

Describing the process for sourcing pairs to supplement his collection, Rhys says “it’s usually going through eBay, Depop for hours of my day trying to find different shoes… mostly people don’t know what they’ve got so the listing searches are a bit mental”. Committing to the process daily, Rhys spends hours seeking out new AF1s to add to his ever-growing collection, with plenty of gems from the Nike Air Force 1 yet to join the selection.

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