Last week, Footwear Editor Fabian Gorsler called it: the Nike Air Max 1 will be the brand’s next sneaker of the moment. All stars are aligning, as 2022 will be the model’s 35th anniversary. As one of the brand’s most classic silhouettes, it makes sense that Nike wants to make waves through collaborations and dope colorways.
Launched in 1987, the Nike Air Max 1 arrived at a time when Nike was looking for a way to overtake competition who, while still not as popular, was beating Nike in the visual department. As super-bright color palettes and eye-catching designs rose to the top, Nike’s understated Cortez, Waffle Racer, and Tailwind were being overshadowed. One trip to Paris later and Tinker Hatfield, having marveled at the Pompidou Centre and its exoskeleton of walkways, decided to design a shoe with its air bubble on show. The Nike Air Max 1 was born.
Although Nike’s Air unit wasn’t new, it had so far only been built into the soles of shoes and hidden from sight. Hatfield’s revolutionary reshuffle of the Nike formula set the sportswear giant on a path of no return, littered with yet-to-be iconic silhouettes. What is perhaps most impressive about the Nike Air Max 1, which was met with cynicism at first, is that it’s still one of Nike’s most popular silhouettes.
Now more popular in its lifestyle propensity, the Nike Air Max 1’s OG white and red colorway set the stage for a long and fruitful life. And while general-release Air Max 1s make up most of the market, the silhouette has seen its fair share of grailed releases, too, from the Nike x Patta Cherrywoods to collaborations with CLOT.
With the model poised to take over from the Nike Dunk as the sneaker of the moment, we thought we’d round up a range of dope colorways to buy now, before the hype hits its apex.
Shop 10 of our favorite Nike Air Max 1 colorways below.
Nike Air Max 1 “Anniversary Red” (2017/2018 Restock)
If you’re looking to pay homage to one of the greatest sneaker silhouettes of all time, there are few better colorways to do it with than this Anniversary edition. The original red, grey, and white palette that dressed the first-ever Air Max 1 returned in 2017 to the open arms of all sneakerheads.
Parra x Nike Air Max 1 (2018)
Amsterdam artist Piet Parra has dressed several Nike Air Max 1s in his time. While this 2018 release doesn’t rank with some of the more grail-status releases, it’s definitely a head-turner and it deserves a spot in your rotation.
Nike Air Max 1 “Sketch to Shelf”
Air Max 1 'Sketch to Shelf'
The “Sketch to Shelf” pack was released as an homage to the work that went into designing the original Nike Air Max 1 in 1987 by legendary designer Tinker Hatfield. It’s not an OG design, but there’s a lot of history on the upper, making it a worthwhile addition.
Nike Air Max 1 “Curry” (2018)
One of the most beloved, non-OG colorways to date, the “Curry” Air Max 1 was first released in 2003. Its relatively subtle colorway makes it easy to pair with a myriad of different outfits. If we’re betting on one colorway to be re-released, it would be this one.
CLOT x Nike Air Max 1 K.o.D. (2021)
The CLOT x Nike Air Max 1 Kiss of Death will go down as one of the best collaborations on the model ever. While the original is probably too expensive for most people to pick up, this year’s re-release won’t break the bank and is a sound investment going forward.
Nike Air Max 1 “Amsterdam” (2020)
Nike Air Max 1 'Amsterdam'
Nike’s love letter to Amsterdam has several chapters, but one of the best was released in early 2020. Full-grain leather panels to the upper offset corduroy and suede overlays while Amsterdam’s XXX details the toe box.
Denham x Nike Air Max 1 “Blue Void”
Denham put denim on the Air Max 1 in 2020, resuling in the “Blue Void” colorway you see above. The sneaker was underrated when it was first released, but if the Air Max 1 really does become the sneaker of the moment, you can bet the value of these will increase.
Nike Air Max 1 “Animal Pack 2.0” (2018 All Black Box)
Air Max 1 'Animal Pack 2.0'
Atmos x NIke
When Nike teams up with Atmos, the results are usually pretty wild. This 2018 release echoed the Air Max 95 release of 2007 with a wild animal theme featuring faux-fur featuring tiger, leopard, and zebra markings as well as a Sport Red Swoosh.
Nike Air Max 1 “London” (2020)
Air Max 1 'London'
More subdued than the Amsterdam rendition, this 2020 London release curried more favor in the sneaker community thanks to its easy styling. The majority-grey uppers boats a similar mix of materials as the Amsterdam pair with Valerian Blue hits to the heel and Swoosh.
Nike Air Max 1 “Hunter Green”
Dropped in 2020, the “Hunter Green” Nike Air Max 1 is classic color blocking at its best. The deep green on the mudguard makes for a stylish choice and one that is likely to be a future classic.
Nike Air Max 1 “Purple Punch”
This colorway also pays homage to the silhouette’s designer, Tinker Hatfield, who also had a hand in designing the Air Huarache, which arrived in a purple punch colorway back in the day.
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