Nike Air Max Day: a portrait of the favorite of the family

It is Nike Air Max Day. The most important scion of the family, the Nike Air Max 1, may also celebrating its 30th anniversary. Time for a portrait of this kick-ass kick.

The special releases from Nike in march 2017: (left to right) Nike Air Max 1 Anniversary, Nike Air Max 1 Master, Nike Air Max 1 atmos Elephant © Nike

Thirty-ie-al, the famous Nike Air Max 1. Shot to the brain of the architect, Tinker Hatfield, and popular with various subcultures and collectors running this sneaker been around for years in the circuit. According to Trendwolves’ coolhunter Tom Palmaerts plays in the mentality of the Nike brand, iconic design and rich history of a large role in the popularity of this shoe.

Of high-performance product to lifestyleschoen

Although the Air Max 1 was originally designed for athletes, he is almost immediately a real lifestyleschoen become. At the launch, he was mainly embraced by street kids. “Logically,” says coolhunter Tom Palmaerts.

“The Air Max is extremely comfortable, not unimportant if you have a whole day on the street should hang. Moreover, he was a that time also a bit more expensive than most other shoes, which the wearers of the Air Max immediately status granted.” The Air Max was also very popular in the gabbermilieu. Different hardcorefans wore the shoes because with the advanced Air-technique is also very suitable for the bouncy, pounding dance moves, which in that environment are common.What is true for heels also goes for hip hop; the street mentality and the fact that the shoes are ideal for demanding (dance)moves on to catch did the Air Max 1 show up in various video clips. Also the athletics went for the axe. Today, the shoe still very popular, although it took me a long time before the trendy youth again Air Maxen began to tie.


The Air Max has perhaps a little suffered from a negative image because the shoe is so popular with gabbers

“The Air Max has perhaps a little suffered from a negative image because the shoe is so popular when it was gabbers,” says Palmaerts. “That off-flavor is today largely disappeared, and the Air Max is again a fashion item.” This is a strange evolution. Normally, shoes are at that time in particular were innovative over time, irrelevant. New techniques and other methods to do older designs as the less well suggest. Nevertheless, it is Nike with the Air Max 1 managed to be an iconic and timeless shoe to manufacture and which is still easily over the counter.

A technical feat

However, the Air Max, the brainchild of two men who in the first place, not with shoes. The first person, Frank, Rudy, was a space systems engineer. In the early ’70s, the man with the sports brand with the “shock that would never wear out”. He presented a bladder of polyurethane, volgepompt with gas, and so the poem that the bladder could not leak. In the first instance, be Nike Rudy the door, to a few years later on their decision to come back.

The engineers of Nike saw how this airbag is a revolution could mean in a world where everything around foam support turned. While the EVA rubber after some time afbrokkelde and its hardness is lost, the bladder of polyurethane as a cushion of air that always collapsed and again terugveerde.The biggest problem, however, was for the airbag in the design of the shoe to integrate. First, it was decided to opt for the air bag as the lining in the shoe, but it was soon realized that the technology and the shoe one had to be.

Still, also these attempts are not always successful. The prototypes got loose or started to beep. Legendary december 1978, when the developers at Nike thought a successful product to have designed. They made thousands of prototypes and shared them out to athletes that the Honolulu marathon would run. After a few meters, they were at Nike, with the hands in the hair: the shoe was anything but resistant to running and fell completely apart. Still, it was the comments of the athletes is not bad, apart from the obvious technical defects found every runner the shoe very nice to walk. After further innovation was made in 1979 the Tailwind is a fact.

Craftsmanship in the spotlight

Although the Nike Air technology are particularly successful, was the sneakermerk after a few years, already overtaken by other sportgiganten such as Reebok and Adidas. To these new players to cope with took a Nike architect Tinker Hatfield, of between the models, and commanded him to think about schoenontwerp. He came up with one of the most innovative sneakertoepassingen of the last thirty years: the visible air window.

Hatfield was during a trip to Paris especially impressed by the Pompidou Centre. The way in which architects Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano, everything on the inside should be visible, and that buizenwerk in bright colours, painted, changed according to Hatfield the whole way people to things looked. He decided this principle also on the shoes to apply and made a window in the outsole, making people finally to the advanced technology of the Nike Air could see. Following In the footsteps of the Pompidou Centre gave Hatfield the sneaker eye-catching colour. We write 1987 and the first Nike Air Max was born.

Initially, it was the people at Nike were not designed to Hatfield’s design; the loophole that was highlighted by the bright red or blue color made the shoe, according to them, vulnerable. The Air Max 1 turned out to be a tremendous success, just because people now finally something could be imagined in the air technique. In the course of the years, further applications and variations created, such as the Air 180, Max 95 and the Air Max 360. The Air Max 1, however, remains the indisputable favorite, and a real collector’s item.

Aerodynamic and aggressive

Studio Brussels, DJ Lefto calls himself not a collector, more of an enthusiast. As a brand icon of the brand buy and, he regularly gets all the latest models, but the Air Max 1, he also has a small twenty in the cabinet. “What attracts me to the Air Max 1 or the Air Max 87 is the line of the shoe. You will notice that the sneaker is designed for real runners; the aerodynamics and aggressiveness it radiates is super,” said Lefto. He cites also the Air Max 1 your feet smaller does seem, which is often pursued ideal of beauty is in the footwear industry. (Prototypes are usually around buddy 42) The design for sneakerfreaks an important point.


Nowadays we choose for quality, design, innovation, and action – the four pillars which Nike as a brand always very strong on inspeel

The DJ is already fifteen years engaged in shoes, he buys the last time less Air Max 1. “I focus now more on the technical Nike running shoe. Especially the Free 3.0 and 5.0 models I find great. I buy the occasional Air Max 1 models, but especially in Japan, where I occasionally need to make images rotate. There, they have really exclusive models that only much later and much more expensive in Europe are available. But again, I’m not a obsessed collector. I buy my Nikes, certainly to wear them!” Lefto is one of the Air Max 1 fans in the vlogproject “IAM1”.

Hipster, hacker, hiphopper or a housemother,

Three years ago plunged the Dutch blogger Nalden in the history of the running shoe and came loaded with interviews and images of fans. Are consecutive series of interviews can be viewed here. “I grew up with Nike and knew that the One is a popular shoe was, but that interviewserie I’ve only really seen how iconic the sneaker is,” says Nalden. “It’s also nice to see what the passion for shoes can bring about; different people start shops of their enthusiasm to share. That is so beautiful!”

But how is it that in 2012 we are suddenly back en masse harked back to the AM1? A nawee of our desire to be retro? “Absolutely not,” says Tom Palmaerts. “Both in fashion as in design, we have, I think it is a bit had with that retrotrend. Nowadays we choose for quality, design, innovation, and action, four pillars, where Nike as a brand has always very strongly anticipates it.”So it is not surprising that we are all together again to the Air Max are gone. The inspiring design and the many years of history gives the shoe a cult that sooner or later tack does go, whether you’re a hipster, hacker, hiphopper or a housemother.

This article appeared five years ago in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Air Max 1 on

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