New school sneakerheads probably have no idea what ‘Coca Snake’ meant in our title, but old-heads of the Air Force 1 gang know exactly what we meant. The Cocoa Snakes are a fabled AF1 Japan exclusive release from 2001. Since ’01 there have been no global re-releases or faithful retros (2005 saw a similar AF1 release but the colors were different). For 17 years the Cocoa Snakes have remained one of the most sought after ‘Forces in the shoe’s long, rich, lineage. The last 3 -4 years have seen a steady resurgence of popularity for the Air Force 1, so much so that older “grail” AF1s are beginning to retro. Lets do a brief history lesson on the AF1 at the turn of the century.
Back in 2001 (the early 2000’s as-a-whole) Air Force 1’s were hot, like really hot, like Fat Joe lickin’ the soles of white-on-white uptowns hot. ‘Forces were literally the shoes off the court with pairs being released globally and regionally with varying degrees of exclusivity. This was back when terms like ‘Quick Strike’ & ‘limited’ had heft behind them – hype wasn’t artificially created and demand (or value) of a shoe was predicated exclusively on the level of ‘want’ by genuine sneaker enthusiasts. Publications weren’t telling consumers what to buy in the same manner they are now, and marketing didn’t need an elaborate backstory to garner interest (back then a release like an Atmos collab felt ‘under the table’, unspoken, and authentic. The story was Atmos, there might be more story sprinkled-in but at the end of the day fans of Atmos and fans of Nike built the backdrop organically out of love for each of the two brands – the end product spoke louder than anything manufacturing).
Classics dropped every couple months in 2001 – fire after fire releases; and many would argue it’s the greatest year of AF1 releases ever. All-time AF1 bangers like the Linen, Taiwan, NYC-Highs, black patent leather ‘Sheeds, Chocolates and of course the Cocoa Snakes. The greatness of these aforementioned AF1s are sourced not by collaborative clout or loud colors, but find greatness in their execution, materials, craftsmanship and thoughtfulness. The Cocoa Snakes aren’t particularly unique – we’ve seen snake print on everything from Jordan 11s to Air Max 97s but the Cocoa Snakes used the print with such simplistic class. They checked all four boxes of great footwear: (execution, materials, craftsmanship and thoughtfulness)
- Execution – black and white, what’s more simple than that? Nada
- Materials – rich tumbled leather; subtle snake print uppers
- Craftsmanship – perfect toe box shape; flawless leather cutting
- Thoughtfulness – Japan exclusive; print; no oversaturating of snake pattern; lack of color
Why are we randomly discussing a 17 year old shoe? Because word on the street is this weekend’s ComplexCon in L.A. will house an exclusive retro of the Cocoa Snake AF1s. It’s not yet confirmed but reports are popping up everywhere. We sure hope they return; we’ve been loving all these retros of OG AF1s like the Rocafellas and Taiwans so the Cocoa Snakes would be welcomed with open arms. Checkout some pics of the OG below and let us know if you’d cop a pair if they saw a widespread release!
Las Vegas native living in Portland, OR. Interests include: shoes, sports, music, video games and food. Extremely passionate about Nike and the Lakers. I’ve been collecting shoes for over 15 years! Follow me on IG & Twitter to see my personal collection and if you have questions. #rahbeekicksit