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Nike Air Max 1 Sneaker Story

Fans of Nike’s running shoes have experienced the boon of air cushioning since 1978, but it wasn’t until the conception of the Nike Air Max 1 that seeing became believing for the rest of the world.

Nike’s Air technology was developed by former NASA engineer Marion Frank Rudy, and Nike put this tech into the Nike Air Tailwind, a shoe designed for runners. The Air Force 1 and Air Jordan 1 were the next big steps for Nike Air, but in 1987 Nike changed the sneaker industry. They recruited architect Tinker Hatfield to design a shoe, and the result was the Nike Air Max 1.

Nike Air Max 1 Vintage ad

The Air Max 1 was born at a time when Nike was trying to trim down the size of the air units to reduce production cost, but Tinker went in the opposite direction. He admired Le Centres George Pompidou in Paris, and the museum’s inside out construction inspired Tinker to show off the inner workings of the Nike Air tech. The first colorway, which was red, white, and grey, was also inspired by Le Centres George Pompidou. The window in the midsole also served a technical purpose in that it allowed the air unit to expand instead of being trapped in the midsole.

When Hatfield created the first Air Max, people went nuts over the visible tech. Nike had been telling customers for years about the benefits of air units, but until the first Air Max it was just talk to everyone. Once the encapsulated air units were exposed to the world that was that.

What was once a contemporary running sneaker, is now a stable in the lineup for sneakerheads who favor these fantastic runners for their style and heritage. Nike has dressed the Air Max 1 in mesh, leather, suede, and more, but the iconic silhouette has been a favorite of sneakerheads across the world from the U.S. to Japan.

Dressed in the original red/white/grey colorway the Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Essential is a more modern take on the Air Max 1. The upper is constructed with durable synthetic material and breathable mesh. It is draped in grey tones as a call back to the original suede overlays from the 80’s, while red accents hit the sneaker on the lower half of the upper, the Swoosh, lace eyelets, and Nike Air branding. The upper sits atop a white midsole which includes the famed visible air unit. The Air Max 1 Ultra sports a unique traction pattern for extra grip on and off the track.

For more Air Max styles leading up to Air Max Day 2016 check out City Gear’s selection of Air Max silhouettes

Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Essential 819476-106

Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Essential 819476-106

Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Essential 819476-106