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Introducing the Nike Air Max 1

A trip to France was all Tinker Hatfield needed to be inspired to design the Air Max 1.

It was the architects that turned the Paris Center George Pompidou inside out that sparked the designer's new way of thinking, resulting in Hatfield's visible air unit in the Air Max 1.

There was an air unit in the heel of the Air Max 1 to provide optimal support, and the sneakers were flexible and comfortable thanks to the foam soles. Suede and mesh were used to make the upper.

It had been around for a while before Nike introduced its Air technology.

Frank Rudy, a former NASA employee, discovered how to put gas in sneakers' soles, and the technology was introduced in 1978 with the Air Tailwind.

In 1987, the first Air Max was officially released in 'Sport Red' and 'Varity Blue' colourways.

Even though it didn't make much of an immediate impression, Nike put a lot of money into advertising and featured stars like Michael Jordan and tennis player John McEnroe wearing it.

Atmos x Nike Air Max 1

To celebrate the 15th anniversary of the AM1, Japanese brand Atmos applied the famous Jordan Safari print to the Air Max mudguard and used an earthy orange colorway to complete the look.

In 2007, the Air Max 1 'Elephant' was released and is considered by many to be the best Air Max colorway ever.

A contrasting white leather upper, black suede, and teal details made it the first sneaker other than the Air Jordan 3 to feature the elephant skin pattern.

Popular AM1 Colorways

Nike Air Max 1 'Milano' (2013)

Milano (2013)

This Quikstrike AM1 is a true embodiment of luxury, with its ultra-premium beige suede uppers. It was initially launched as a part of a wider collection that celebrated three European cities - London, Milan, and Paris.

Although there were other Air Max models released alongside it, this particular pair remains unforgettable due to the striking pink accent that perfectly complements its tonal uppers. Whether you're walking around the city or simply looking for a stylish and comfortable pair of shoes, this Quikstrike AM1 is sure to be a great choice.

Atmos x Nike Ai Max 1 'Animal' (2006)

Animal (2006)

During the early 2000s, the Nike Air Max's wild colorway gained popularity, particularly in Japan. The Air Max 95 became a sensation at the end of the 90s, and the Air Max brand enjoyed widespread acceptance.

The director of Atmos's sneaker store, Hirofumi Kojima, conceived the idea of creating the most outrageous Air Max colorway ever. Kojima drew inspiration from the zoo and designed his first pack, the Zoo Pack, using animal prints of zebra, tiger, leopard, and cow. The red swoosh on the shoes represents the carnivorous animals, while the green branding on the heel symbolizes the herbivorous animals.

Nike Air Max 1 'Obsidian' 1985

Obsidian (1985)

Many sneaker enthusiasts still recall the highly-anticipated re-release of this iconic color scheme back in 2017, which was part of the "30 Years of Air" anniversary celebration.

The design was meticulously crafted with the same materials and construction as the original, resulting in a flawless recreation of the beloved classic. The colorway may be simple, but it perfectly complements the Air Max 1's sleek and clean aesthetic.

Patta x Nike Air Max 1 'Chlorophyll' (2009)

Chlorophyll (2009)

Patta and Nike have had several successful collaborations in the past, including the release of the Patta x Air Max 1 'Chlorophyll' – 5th Anniversary edition, which celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Amsterdam sneaker boutique. This highly sought-after sneaker was also released in a 'Purple Denim' and 'Lucky Green' colorway.

The upper of the Air Max 1 is crafted from a combination of mesh and denim, with the toebox and collar featuring a clean white mesh. The mudguard is made of denim, and the Swoosh on the side is green, matching the denim overlays that are a light gray color. Overall, this collaboration showcases the perfect blend of Patta's unique design aesthetic and Nike's innovative technology.

Patta x Nike Air Max 1 'Cherrywood'' (2010)

Cherrywood (2010)

Patta is known for its exceptional Nike collaborations and it's no surprise that one of their Air Max 1 designs has made it to the shortlist. It's difficult to choose a favourite, but we can all agree that the maroon-coloured suede and Velcro patch tongue make this shoe a classic. With only 200 pairs ever released, this colorway is one of the rarest, making it even more special.

Parra x Nike Air Max 1 'Albert Heijn' (2005)

Albert Heijn (2005)

The Nike Air Max 1 x Parra 'Albert Heijn' is considered the 'Holy Grail' for many sneaker enthusiasts. It is an incredibly exclusive pair, with only 24 copies ever made, none of which have been traced. Nike asked Amsterdam illustrator Pieter Jansen (aka Piet Parra) to design the Air Max 1 silhouette to his taste, resulting in two designs - the 'Amsterdam' and the 'Albert Heijn'.

The latter is named after the Dutch supermarket chain, which had an orange, white, and blue corporate colour scheme at the time of the design. However, the sneaker was no longer allowed to be sold after the chain changed its corporate colour. The 24 pairs that exist in the sneaker world today are said to be the samples made from Parra's original design.

Nike Air Max 1 'Watermelon' (2018)

Watermelon (2018)

The Nike Air Max 1 'Watermelon' (AH8145-106) is an ideal choice for those looking for a fresh and stylish sneaker this summer. Featuring a base of 'Summit White' mesh, the shoe is adorned with 'Pure Platinum' leather overlays.

The watermelon colorway is highlighted by the suede mudguards that turn green, along with the Swoosh logo on the heel that turns pink. The tongue label features green Nike branding with the text 'Air Max' in pink underneath. A sleek white midsole houses a green Air-Bubble, while the green outsole completes the watermelon-inspired look.

Nike Air Max 1 'Skull' 2006

Skulls Pack 'Blue (2006)

In 2006, Nike paid tribute to the late Steve "Pre" Prefontaine, a renowned long-distance runner and Nike-sponsored athlete, with the release of two Air Max 1s. These shoes honoured Prefontaine's alma mater, Marshfield High School, with their skull and crossbones motif on the heel.

The shoes were made with a combination of ripstop nylon, leather, and mesh, making them not only visually striking but also durable. The Air Max 1s were a fitting tribute to a legendary athlete and continue to be a cherished item for fans of both Nike and Prefontaine.

Nike Air Max 1 'Desert Camo' 2014

Desert Camo (2014)

Crafted with the winter elements in mind, these camo-themed sneakers are truly unique. Featuring a rubber mudguard, they're perfect for withstanding harsh weather conditions.

But what sets them apart is their sand-coloured camo fabric, which made them one of Nike's most popular SP releases. These winterized sneakers are both stylish and functional, making them a must-have for any sneaker enthusiast looking to stay on-trend while braving the winter weather.

Nike Air Max 1 'Curry' 2018

Curry (2018)

The Nike Air Max 1 PRM “Curry” has been a collector's favourite for almost two decades due to its highly wearable colorway. The brown and orange hues on the white base layer stay true to the OG design, adding to its popularity. In 2018, the colorway relaunched with enormous success and was accompanied by two brand new colorways named “Red Curry” and “Green Curry”.

A Day Dedicated To Air Max

Nike declared every March 26 'Air Max Day' to commemorate the coveted model's history.

Every year, new Air Max sneakers and limited-edition styles are released, and the very first sneaker to release for the special day was the 'Air Max Day 3.26' in 2014.

You can read more about the history of 'Air Max Day' here!