History of Air Max 1
The Air Max 1 is a sneaker that needs no introduction. It’s a story that can’t be told without first introducing renowned designer: Tinker Hatfield. Hatfield was initially hired by Nike as an architect to design buildings on the brand’s Oregon campus, however it wasn’t until 1985 when Nike tasked him to join the sneaker design team.
While on a sabbatical and roaming the streets of Paris, Hatfield came across the Centre Georges Pompidou (aka The Pompidou Center), a multicultural complex finished in 1977. What Hatfield saw in the Center was how the building’s designers, had put all the internal workings of the building on the outside. Everything from plumbing, to the electrical work, to staircases, are placed on the outside of the building - each of these being elements that are typically hidden away. Hatfield drew inspiration from the idea of revealing the inner workings of the building, and translated that to a Nike sneaker, by making the air bubble visible.
The move to showing an Air Bubble on sneaker was a key and iconic moment in the company’s history. Hatfield didn’t stop at just showing off the bubble. Further inspiration taken from the Pompidou and translated to the Air max was the colours of the sneakers. Just as the colours on the Pompidou are recognizable from far away, Hatfield envisioned the same for the sneaker. He thus decided to go with and use flashy primary colours, red and blue to give it that dramatic and instantly recognisable effect. The official colourway names given to these two sneakers were Sport Red and Varsity Blue, however both have now become known as Royal Blue and University Red.
After the tremendous success of the Air Max 1 silhouette, Nike decided to honour the iconic date of the release of the first air max in 1987 and have since established “Air Max Day” which is celebrated every year on March 26. On this day or in the build-up to this day, Nike releases a plethora of special edition colorways and different silhouettes. What started with the air max 1 grew all the way through to 90 and even reached levels of 2090 and Air VaporMax.
In celebration of Air Max Day, we brought out of the vault, a few Air Max’s that released over the last few years some of which have garnered mass attention.
Air Max 1 Parra
The Air Max 1 Parra deserves no introduction for Air Max 1 enthusiasts. For those who don’t know, the Dutch hold a very special relationship with the Air Max 1 silhouette. Some of the Air Max 1s designed by Dutch Designers and Dutch stores have gone on to fetch thousands of dollars in the resale market due to its rarity use of luxury and quality materials.
The Air Max 1 “Parra” is designed by undoubtedly one of the most influential Nike collaborators of all time, Piet Parra. Acclaimed for not only his own works with the brand, but also for designing the wildly popular Patta Air Max 1s, he is truly an icon in the sneaker world.
The Air Max 1 Parra works on a grey and white base and features several different patterned overlays which make the sneaker pop. From the polka dot section on the heel, to the grey diagonal stripes on the toe -box and mudguard, the Parra will certainly not go unnoticed. The sneaker is topped off with a light blue swoosh and striped lace tips, which adds to the abstract design of the shoe.
Air Max 1 Susan
The Nike Air Max 1 “Susan” is one of a few Nike sneakers, which were made especially for a film. The sneakers were created to celebrate the release of the animated “Missing Link” from Laika Studios, whose CEO, happens to be Travis Knight, son of Nike founder Phil Knight. The Sneaker is designed and inspired by the film’s main character Mr. Link and his plaid outfit. Mr. Link’s plaid suit and green vest are replicated on the upper of the Air Max 1 with hairy tan suede and white canvas detailing.
Taking inspiration from the movie’s main protagonist, Mr Link, the AM1 is dressed in his signature costume. Green and plaid overlays pay homage to the creature’s suit, while a midsole that’s wrapped in leather resembles his hat. To round off the eye-catching design, two leather ‘cuff links’ feature on the top two eyelets, completing the sartorial design that’s bound to turn heads this season.
If you’re wondering where the shoe’s unique name comes from, at the start of the movie, Mr Link actually introduces himself as “Susan” in an attempt to hide his identity. This has been implemented onto the tongue branding, where the word “MAX” has been crossed out and “SUSAN” has been scribbled underneath.
Air Max 97/1 Sean Wotherspoon
By Far the most valuable and sought-after pair from the lot, is the Nike Air Max 97/1 SW. In 2017, Nike sent out an invite and challenge to 12 sneaker influencers/designers for its Nike Air Max Day “Vote Forward” campaign. The rules were simple, have these 12 designers each reimagine and design a unique pair of Nike Air Max and the pair with the most votes will be released on Air Max day in 2018. Sean Wotherspoon, owner of Round two, a vintage Sneaker Boutique in the United States, garnered the greatest number of votes for his design and was voted the winner of the Vote Forward Campaign.
Sean’s design featured a combination of two iconic Nike air max silhouettes, the air max 97 and air max 1. The upper of the shoe was based around the design of an air max 97 and the midsole and sole was taken from an Air Max 1. Finishing the look, the shoe was dressed in a rainbow themed corduroy material.
Sean revealed that the reason behind the choice of corduroy for his silhouette, was that the design was inspired by vintage and retro Nike Apparel from the 80s and 90s such as Nike hats, sneakers, and windbreakers.
A key and unique feature of the shoe is the smiley face which can be found on the insoles of the shoe. The inspiration behind this was taken from a vintage Nike shirt which says, “Have a Nike Day” and Sean further went on to explain by saying in an interview, “When you put your shoes on, the first thing you want to see is a face smiling back at you, right?”
Another odd feature of the shoe that needs revisiting is the choice of corduroy on the uppers. Sean’s states that the sneakers was designed to be “worn and mean to fray”. He believes that a corduroy sneaker would only get better with age. He also states that colours are always their richest in corduroy and that the colour of corduroy changes when under different lighting or angles.
No animals were harmed in the making and production of the shoe and this is a nod to Sean’s Vegan lifestyle.
The final noteworthy detail of the shoe is the unique heel tab. The heel tab features embroidery which reads “VA -> LA”, and stands for Virginia to Los Angeles, paying homage to his roots. Virginia being the place where he was born and raised and where he helped open up the first Round Two store, and Los Angeles being where he eventually moved on to and opened up the second Round Two store. He considers this to show appreciation for the places he came from and the communities that have supported him along the way.
NIKE FOR YOU BY LIMITED RUN: AIRMAX 1
This Airmax Day is a special one for us and we have designed two pairs of Airmax 1’s especially for the occasion. Each pair comes with a special box, an Airmax Day keyring and a Mystery Joker Card (?).
The men’s pair comes dressed in a premium suede quarter and features a swoosh and lining adorned with classic university red. The toe box is constructed from a high quality white mesh covered by an all black mud guard. The uppers sit atop a plush foam sail midsole, with red and black detailing rounding off the outsole. A noteworthy feature is the personalised “LTD" and "RUN" branding, which makes an appearance on the heel counter of the left and right shoe.
Available sizes: UK6, UK7, UK8, UK9, UK10, UK11, UK12
LIMITED TO ONE PER SIZE
The women’s pair features a super lush and luxurious white suede quarter, surrounded by an elegant black mesh base. Finer details include a pink swoosh and inside lining as well as our personalised “LTD" and "RUN” branding which makes an appearance on the heel counter of the left and right shoe. Beneath the feet, the whited-out rubber sole unit encases a visible Nike Air unit underneath the heel to optimise comfort.
Available sizes: UK3, UK4, UK5, UK6
LIMITED TO ONE PER SIZE
Each pair comes with:
- LR AIR MAX DAY special box by KickKraft
- LR AIR MAX DAY Key Ring by Unfayzedesign
- A Mystery Joker Card (?).