Andy Knight, founder of UK-based streetwear brand KNOWN and co-owner of streetwear store The Forum, walks us through the 10 Nike Air Max 1 models he considers to be the most coveted of all time in honor of Air Max Day.
My passion for the Air Max series began bubbling in the early '90s. I always skated from a young age, so spending money on expensive kicks wasn't really on my radar - plus I was never allowed to have them because they were too pricey! There was always that one kid in school who had the latest release and I was always super jealous, it wasn't until I started working that I could spend my own hard-earned cash on kicks.
Having quite an addictive personality I've always been a collector/hoarder of things, be it Star Wars stuff when I was younger or my collection of kicks now. Once you get that first pair, you want the next colorway. Once you've got a few colorways, you start to build up a full timeline of Air Max like I have. The thing about collecting is that there are always different levels, different things you need. My collection will never be "complete," there's nothing better than the thrill of landing a long sought-after addition.
The list I've come up with is a collection of what I think are the most coveted Air Max 1's ever to be released. The good thing about lists like these is that there is no right answer: one man's beaters can be another man's grails. It's totally subjective. This isn't a list of the most expensive Air Max - I've not included dropped samples - to me they're priceless!
Nike Air Max 1 "+41"
Nike hooked up with clothing brand +41 and created this AM1. Its rumored that the shoe was given a "mythical" theme which draws people to look at it, thus giving us the eyes on the tongue. This sneaker was released in one store in the world in a limited run of 41 pairs in 2006.
Nike Air Max 1 "Albert Heijn"
Designed by Dutch illustrator and graphic designer Piet Parra, it differs from the "Amsterdam" colorway. This specific colorway is homage to the largest Dutch supermarket. However, after the supermarket changed its colors this sneaker was scrapped from production. This model was released in a limited "family and friends" run of 24 pairs worldwide in 2005.
Nike Air Max 1 x Eminem "Big Proof"
Designed by Eminem as a part of an auction for his charity, the Marshall Mathers Foundation, the shoe honors his D12 crew member and friend DeShaun "Big Proof" Holton who was killed in 2006. This model was released in a run of eight worldwide in 2006.
Nike Air Max 1 x CLOT iD
CLOT founder Edison Chen was spotted wearing these at a Kanye West’s Touch The Sky concert in Hong Kong. This "family and friends" Hyperstrike dons a lasered CLOT logo. You could actually do this colorway on NIKEiD at the time but they pulled it due to people making it and reselling them for big money! This model was released in a limited run of four worldwide in 2006.
Nike Air Max 1 "Big Window"
Not known to a lot of people, but the AM1 OG did have a previous predecessor! Exactly the same silhouette, but featuring a bigger, longer Visible Air unit. Released in 1986, it was nicknamed the "Big Window" and was actually used in the iconic ad campaign, even though it was the OG silhouette that went to market.
Nike Air Max 1 x HUF
Keith Hufnagel opened HUF’s doors in 2002. He has worked with Nike numerous times, but this AM1 was his debut. This specific silhouette is from the "family and friends" run and differs from the Quickstrike version, donning the SF skyline, perforated toe box and custom insole. This model was released in a limited run of 24 pairs worldwide in 2004.
Nike Air Max 1 SP "German Camo"
When Nike opened its latest store in Berlin they released this "family and friends" AM1 in a limited run of 50 pairs worldwide. Differing from the rest of the Camo executions around that time by donning a black kick guard.
Nike x Patta x Parra "Cherrywoods"
Nike teamed up with Patta to celebrate their fifth anniversary. Five AM1s were in the pack, with lots of different colors and materials used across the board. This silhouette, nicknamed the "Burgundy Pattas" or "Cherrywoods," also had a touch of Piet Parra to them. Released in 2010 in a very limited run worldwide.
Nike Air Max 1 x Kidrobot Hyperstrike
Nike teamed up with Barneys NYC and Kidrobot to release two colorways of this model: the black/pink rumored to be released in a limited run of 250. The full pink Hyperstike shown was rumored to be for "family and friends" in a limited run of 72 worldwide and was released in 2005.
Nike Air Max 1 X Parra "Amsterdam"
Nike teamed up with Dutch Designer Piet Parra to create this very special sneaker. After the "Albert Hiejn" colorway was scrapped, Parra went back to the drawing board and came up with this Red Light District-inspired colorway. The specific model was the "family and friends" execution, featuring Parra’s iconic tag and released in a limited run of 24 pairs worldwide in 2005.
Text by Andy Knight for Highsnobiety.com
Illustrations by Dan Freebairn for Highsnobiety.com