The original and arguably the best, the 1, the OG Air Max! As we countdown to Air Max Day on March 26th we drop a special series looking at Air Max innovation from 1987 up until today and look at the impact of the Nike Air Max on sneaker culture over the years.
Innovation isnʼt always visible — in the world of sneakers in 1987 Nike made it clear that it could be. In 1987, Nike introduced the Nike Air Max 1, the first shoe to let you see what was going on within, through its visible air system. Air Max technology changed the sneaker game.
Tinker Hatfield opened our eyes to the Nike Air system, a system that was not new and was originally introduced in the late 70s in the Nike Air Tailwind, with the introduction of the Air-Sole unit into Nike sneakers.
However, Hatfield, a trained architect drawing inspiration from the visible inner working of the Pompidou centre in Paris would put the inner workings of a Nike sneaker on show, cutting away at the surrounding foam midsole to reveal a larger Air-Sole unit, and giving us the Nike Air Max…version 1987…
“I specifically went to Paris to see the city, but also to visit the Pompidou Center,” Hatfield says.“It was a building turned inside out, with a glass skin underneath. Coming back to Oregon, I had meetings with the technicians who were working on the larger Air-sole units and I relayed my thoughts: Maybe we could also expose the Air-Sole technology and create a shoe that’s like no other.”
Let’s not get it twisted this was ground breaking, in more way than one. But it was out there too and could have flopped if not for Tinker’s perseverance and that of his team. Visible air started here with the Air Max 1, the ’87, the Ones, the OG, the original Nike classic.
The AM1 has continued to be a staple of die-hard sneakerheads and those that just want an everyday shoe for the gym or to beat around town. It has seen countless GRs, in an array of colourways and materials and as a collaboration shoe some of the most coveted sneaker grails come in the shape of the original Max. It’s been around that’s for sure, and definitely ain’t going nowhere…