Air Max 1

Running strong since '87.

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Air Cushioning Technology has been the secret to Nike’s success in the running shoe market since 1979. But it wasn’t until eight years later, with the assistance of science, technological advances, and a little elbow grease from a man named Tinker Hatfield, that the Swoosh brand introduced the next frontier of runners. Enter the Air Max 1, a game-changer, the first shoe to feature a visible air unit (the air unit, a gas filled urethane pouch, was initially inside the midsole, but unseen). For the first time ever, runners could see the Nike Air technology that allowed them to run for long distances like a gazelle. Only two years into his sneaker designing career, Hatfield saw the innovation that Nike lacked – a reason competing brands were able to close the gap in the market during the mid-‘80s. He imagined the Air Max 1 among a set of “renegade” designs that were “not part of a design brief or marketing drive.” A trip to Paris was the spark; there Hatfield first saw the Centre Georges Pompidou, a building noted for its unconventional design, for all of its functional and structural elements appear on the outside for all to see. The eureka moment inspired him to remove a part of the midsole to reveal what makes the Air Max 1 tick. Of course, this move was seen as risky, with many of his Nike peers contending that the design change would make the shoe seem structurally weak. On March 26, 1987, the Air Max 1 hit retailers, released in the Air Pack alongside the Air Trainer 1, Air Sock, Air Revolution and Air Safari. Little did we know that this sneaker would be the beginning of an era. Not to mention that thousands Air Max 1 iterations would drop in the following years. Air Cushioning Technology has been the secret to Nike’s success in the running shoe market since 1979. But it wasn’t until eight years later, with the assistance of science, technological advances, and a little elbow grease from a man named Tinker Hatfield, that the Swoosh brand introduced the next frontier of runners. Enter the Air Max 1, a game-changer, the first shoe to feature a visible air unit (the air unit, a gas filled urethane pouch, was initially inside the midsole, but unseen). For the first time ever, runners could see the Nike Air technology that allowed them to run for long distances like a gazelle. Only two years into his sneaker designing career, Hatfield saw the innovation that Nike lacked – a reason competing brands were able to close the gap in the market during the mid-‘80s. He imagined the Air Max 1 among a set of “renegade” designs that were “not part of a design brief or marketing drive.” A trip to Paris was the spark; there Hatfield first saw the Centre Georges Pompidou, a building noted for its unconventional design, for all of its functional and structural elements appear on the outside for all to see. The eureka moment inspired him to remove a part of the midsole to reveal what makes the Air Max 1 tick. Of course, this move was seen as risky, with many of his Nike peers contending that the design change would make the shoe seem structurally weak. On March 26, 1987, the Air Max 1 hit retailers, released in the Air Pack alongside the Air Trainer 1, Air Sock, Air Revolution and Air Safari. Little did we know that this sneaker would be the beginning of an era. Not to mention that thousands Air Max 1 iterations would drop in the following years.
  

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