15 things you didn't know about Air Max 1

2018-01-05
15 things you didn't know about Air Max 115 things you didn't know about Air Max 1

In 1987, Nike presented to the world its most innovative shoe design. Known as Air Max 87 or simply Air Max 1, it was the first shoe in the world that featured a visible gas pocket located in the heel. In the following years, the Air Max 1 inspired a countless number of models using this most popular Nike's technology. Check out 15 things you didn't know about Air Max 1.

1. Marion Frank Rudy - creator of the Air system
Marion Frank Rudy was an independent inventor contracted by Nike to create and work on what we know today as Nike Air. From a technical point of view, his creation should be called "compressed gas closed in polyurethane". No, it was not Hatfield who invented the Air system.



2. Air system from ... Adidas, Puma?
Hardly anyone knows that before Nike decided to purchase rights to Air technology, this characteristic cushioning system was presented to other companies producing sports footwear. It was Phil Knight (co-creator of the Oregon concern) who noticed the potential in it and gave it a chance.

3. Air is not air
Initially, the Air Max 1 cushioning units were filled with sulfur hexafluoride. However, due to the harmful properties of this chemical compound, it was replaced with nitrogen. Its pressure in the cushion is 25 PSI or about 1.75 bar.


4. Concerns about the system
In retrospect, it may seem idiotic but when the Air Max 1 model was first introduced to the world, people doubted the durability of the visible system under the heel. People feared that it would break at the first chance. Time has verified this view as unfounded, providing proof that it's even stronger than the sole in which it was located.

5. Shoe was inspired by the architecture
Probably not many people realize that the inspiration for the creation of the Air Max 1 model is Le Centres George Pompidou in Paris. It was the characteristic architecture of the aforementioned cultural center that stimulated the imagination of Tinker Hatfield to make the gas cushion in the sole visible.



6. The evolution of the sole
The first Air Max 1 edition featured a completely different sole than the popular version today. In addition to the appearance, the strength of the foam at the time was way different, definitely more susceptible to crumbling. As technology developed, in 1992 Nike applied better materials and solutions when building their shoes ( taken from the Air Max 90).

7. There's no branding, there's branding
The first idea was that the Air Max 1 was deprived of branding in the heel area. In the production phase, for the tests and promotions, the "NIKE AIR" inscription appeared there, which was finally replaced with a globally recognizable swoosh.



8. Marketing department vs. Air Max 1
As Tinker Hatfield himself revealed, at first the Nike marketing department was skeptical and rather cold regarding this modern footwear design. The most frequently asked question was: "How are we supposed to sell the shoe with a hole in it?". Judging by the sales - they found an effective way to do it.

9. The beginning of the revolution
The advanced new technology and comprehensive large-scale promotional campaign (with a popular The Beatles song in ads) were enough to convince people to reach for Air Max 1. It also made running the most popular sports discipline at that time. The greatest beneficiary was of course Nike. After the official launch of the new footwear, the group has achieved the greatest profits in its history.



10. Retro aka hybrid
The first retro Air Max 1 was released in 1992. Nike wanted to increase the strength of the footwear by applying important elements from the Air Max 90 model - such as sole. Fortunately for us and much less for Nike, after a modest amount of said hybrids, the idea collapsed.



11. Time for leather
The first models of Air Max 1 were made of suede and mesh. In 1988 the first leather version was released and after the initial success, it remained for good, as part of Nike's vision. It was not until several years later, in 1995 to be precise, that the combination of suede and mesh came back.

12. The first collaboration
In the year 2002 Japanese company atmos teamed up with Nike to create a unique version of these classic sneakers. The project was meant to increase profits and popularity of the Japanese retailer. The atmos's vision was heavily influenced by the Nike Air Safari, combining elements that came from that model. The collaboration is considered, by many collectors, to be one of the best colorways in the model's history.



13. Size does matter
Although most today's Nike models are equipped with impressively large cushioning systems, it is the Air Max 1 from the decade between "80s and "90s of the last century that had the largest air pocket. Just like the Nike adverts said, it was on average three times bigger than the one used in earlier products.

14. Mini swoosh
Mini swoosh, that extra small Nike logo located in the vicinity of the toebox, was introduced by Nike Air Max 1 in 1997. It applied to only a small number of colorways, which are highly sought after and even desired by the sneakerheads around the world.

15. Power of art
In 2011 Matt Stevens began work on the project titled "MAX100". The goal was to create a book containing a unique collection of graphics depicting the first Air Max 1 model in countless different ways. The idea that seemed crazy at the beginning resulted in one of the most significant creations for fans of the model.
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