Sneakers
From the ground up

Adding to the smorgasbord of content for this year’s celebration of Nike’s self-anointed Air Max Day, we present an inside look at some little-known facts about the Swoosh’s storied silhouette. Developed by Tinker Hatfield in 1987, the Air Max 1 shook up the footwear world thanks to its exposed Air-cushioned sole. Before the Air Max 1, in fact, was the Air Max Zero, which was unveiled just a few days ago and preceded the release of the Air Max 1 by a whole two years.

Now, 28 years since the release of the first Nike Air Max 1, the kick remains as popular as ever with countless iterations, Quickstrikes and coveted colorways for casual and die-hard fans alike. Check out our full list of obscure facts below and up your Air Max knowledge in time for your next sneaker pickup.

1. The Visible Air unit on the Air Max 1 was inspired by the “inside out” architecture of the George Pompidou Centre in Paris which was deigned by renowned architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers.

2. The 1987 TV Campaign to launch the Air Max 1 was the first ad to use a song performed by The Beatles (“Revolution”).

3. The original Air Max was part of the wider “Air Pack” that featured the Air Safari, Air Revolution, Air Trainer and Air Sock.

4. There are actually 2 OG versions of what came to be known as the Air Max 1 – early prototype models dating from 1986 featured a larger Air bag and different midsole design. The Air bag was made smaller by 1987 due to production issues.

5. The OG Air Max 90 features the legendary “Infrared” colorway. However, this is a relatively new description of the color and wasn’t officially used by Nike until 2003.

6. The Air 180 marketing campaign featured work by the illustrator and Hunter S. Thompson collaborator Ralph Steadman amongst others as well as a TV ad campaign directed by David Cronenberg (director of The Fly, Crash, Naked Lunch et al).

7. Range Rover featured an Air Max 93 in a press ad to help promote the vehicle’s air suspension system.

8. Japanese retailer atmos was the first company to collaborate on an Air Max 1 in 2002.

9. Nike-Air technology was created by the late Marion Frank Rudy, a former aerospace engineer with NASA.

10. The development of the shoe came at a fraught time for the company. Tinker Hatfield literally had hate messages pinned to his door, discouraging him from designing the shoe.

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