Idris Elba Creates Nike Air Force Ones with NFL

London-born actor Idris Elba and London-born Dallas Cowboys coach Aden Durde have partnered for the NFL’s ‘My Cause My Cleats’ Week 13 initiative, spotlighting Elba’s fashion-purpose brand ‘Don’t Stab Your Future’ (DSYF).  DSYF is an initiative supporting charities working to combat knife crime in the capital.  The duo customized a pair of Nike Air Force One’s with DSYF graphics which Durde wore on-field during Sunday night’s game (Indianapolis Colts vs Dallas Cowboys).  Design details included a list of the 14 London postcodes that have been affected by knife crime.  Don’t Stab Your Future is handwritten by Elba with a neon graffiti inspired color pop across the shoe to represent London’s urban landscape.  In a nod to the pair’s British roots the Air Force One logo is customized in the Union Jack colors of red, white and blue.

Don’t Stab Your Future

Founded by Idris Elba in 2018 in response to an increase in fatal stabbings in London, ‘Don’t Stab Your Future’ is an initiative supporting charities who are working to combat knife crime.  The purpose-fashion brand DSYF aims to raise awareness by amplifying the message against knife crime and helping young people towards a better future.


My Cause My Cleats

Week 13 of the League sees NFL players, coaches, and staff across the league will wear custom-painted cleats (or

footwear) highlighting different non-profit organizations and causes that mean the most to them. For the seventh consecutive season, the My Cause My Cleats initiative will bring awareness to important, player, coach and staff picked causes through the screens of millions across the globe.

Launched in 2016, the My Cause My Cleats initiative brings off-field causes, on-field throughout Week 13. Year after year, the player-led campaign fuels crucial conversations and puts these causes at the forefront. The causes players have chosen to support this year include topics such as preventing gun violence, tackling social justice, prioritizing mental health, raising awareness for individuals with disabilities and disability research, women’s health, and more.

Players combine forces with artists and cleat manufacturers each year to create these custom-designed cleats that showcase their causes in a way that resonates personally to the player, their fans and the cause. See list here.


NFL Auction x Big Kid Foundation

Two pairs of the customized ‘Don’t Stab Your Future’ Nike Air Force One trainers have been signed by Elba and Durde and will be auctioned by NFL Auction, with monies raised donated to Big Kid Foundation to support the families of victims of crime.

Big Kid Foundation is an award-winning London charity that is committed to seeing no young person lose their life or potential to youth violence.  Working with local communities to support and assist young people who are struggling with the pressures of gangs, crime and deprivation they help make positive step changes to lives.  Through activities including weekly youth clubs, football and soccer training sessions and community and student leadership and mentoring programs they have been helping to develop leaders in the local community and provide access to opportunities for young people in London boroughs for 15 years.


Idris Elba:


Don’t Stab Your Future is a purpose-fashion brand. We create cool capsule collections (t-shirts and hoodies) and the monies raised are given to organisations and foundations that are working against knife crime in local communities.

‘Don’t Stab Your Future’ came from a rant I had on Instagram after a 15-year-old girl in London was stabbed to death and knife crime was rising, and I was trying to tell young people that the future is good for you.  That it isn’t just the victim and the victim’s family whose lives are tragically impacted, but your own future that you are stabbing.  And that became the brand language.  No one likes to hear a message like ‘stab’. I’m not here to sell clothes, I’m here to sell a message and use my voice and platform to try and get people to understand that we need to keep talking about youth-on-youth violence.”

On the NFL ‘My Cause My Cleat’s collaboration:

At the heart of ‘Don’t Stab Your Future’ is collaboration, and we want to partner with other like-minded organizations to inspire change.  Sport is naturally an incubator for bringing likeminded people together. Why? Because sports appeals to the youth, whether you are watching it, or are part of a team, or you are playing it and you have a coach. It’s a natural incubator for learning, respect and personal growth. Everyone needs to be part of a family, a community, so they feel safe. Kids feel safe. And sport can help provide that.  When kids start being fractioned off here and there, they see gangs as a way of being included in something.

I went to an NFL game in London earlier this year and met The NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell. He was incredibly warm and receptive and completely focused on hearing about what I was doing with ‘Don’t Stab Your Future’. As The Commissioner of one of the world’s biggest sporting organizations he knows that the intersection between youth and sport and the NFL is a precious space and one that can bring about change, and how using their platform can help kids to understand there is an alternative to violence.  He was keen for me to explore a collaboration with the My Cause My Cleats initiative.  Within three weeks myself, Aden and the Big Kid Foundation were working together.  The commitment from the NFL comes right from the top.

On knife crime:

Youth violence is on the rise.  Over the last three years, the UK and the world has had a really stressful time. And these kids are stressed. There is fear. There is mistrust. Protecting yourself is probably a natural thing to want to do. That is a problem encouraging people to end up in violent situations. It is one thing to have a fisty cuff of a fight, but it is another thing to pull a knife out and alter your life and someone else’s. 2021 marked the worst year for teenage homicides in London. We can and must do better.


Aden Durde:

I’ve got kids and you hear about people’s lives being ended and being ruined because of knife crime and it is heart breaking.  Helping to fund and promote the work that community organizations and foundations do in the fight against knife crime is so important.  Without those people in those communities, I wouldn’t be where I am today.  We have to use our platform and voice to promote these people, as they are the real change.

This is why supporting initiatives like Don’t Stab Your Future is so important, to raise awareness of the issues facing young people and working with communities to help show kids a better way.

Finding American Football growing up helped me.  It helped me channel more positive thoughts, be a better leader, be better at communicating and helped me find my voice.  I felt like I was part of something, and it has taken me to a whole different place in life.

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