There are few sneakers that come close to the infamous Nike Air Max 1. The creative manifestation of Tinker Hatfield and Mark Parker’s unique approach to athletic footwear not only would start the biggest sport conglomerate to date, but has no doubt gone down as one of, if not the, greatest sneaker of all time. Now as the late September rerelease of the modernized original draws closer, let’s take a look at how it all began.cheap air max 90
Though, Nike wouldn’t be the only one using this technology as the market would begin to catch up to the sportswear juggernaut. Nike had about a 50% share of the athletic footwear market by the 1980s, but needed something to really set them apart from their competitors as their Cortez, Waffle Racer and Tailwind models were seeing more competition from shoe companies like Reebok, Converse and Adidas.
Nike Special Edition Oregon Green Waffle Runner (Sneakerreport. “The 100 Best Running Sneakers of All Time.” Complex, Complex, 20 Oct. 2016, www.complex.com/sneakers/2012/11/the-100-best-running-sneakers-of-all-time.)
Nike Tailwind (Rake straw, Alex. “A Visual Guide to Retro Running Shoes.” AS RAKESTRAW – The Personal Site of Alex Rakestraw., AsRakestraw.com, 16 Feb. 2016, cheap air max 90 asrakestraw.com/blog/2016/2/27/a-visual-guide-to-retro-running-shoes.)
Nike Cortez (“Nike Cortez.” Out Of The Box, American Federation of the Arts, 10 Mar. 2017, riseofsneakerculture.org/nike-cortez/.)
Enter Tinker Hatfield. Tinker had been on the nike team since 1981 as a corporate architect as he had been a track athlete who trained under Bowerman and had frequently tested many of his previous shoes. In 1985, Tinker was requested to work on a new trainer that would utilize the Nike Air technology alongside Parker. His background in architecture would prove to be invaluable as he would carry a very unorthodox approach to footwear design. While in Paris, Tinker was baffled by the architecture of the Centre Georges Pompidou by Richard Rogers, Renzo Piano and Gianfranco Franchini. The building is known for its blatant opposition to conventional architectural ideas with elevators, staircases and structural skeleton constructed on the outside of the building. It’s bright mechanical outside is a stark contrast to the surrounding, victorian style French architecture. “I don’t know if I was thinking, well now I’m going to design a shoe based off of this,” Tinker reminisced on the documentary series Respect the Architects. “I just remember being super influenced by it and having my architectural senses turned upside down.” (InstantLiving) This perspective was key when pitching Mark Parker and the other shoe designers his very unorthodox approach to the new trainer series.cheap nike air max
Tinker’s original Air Max 1 drawing (www.highsnobiety.com/2017/03/07/nike-air-max-1-og-vs-retro-comparison/)
At the time no one quite knew what the Air cushion technology truly was and the sight of a gas filled urethan pocket in the sole that looked like it was about to burst was a huge risk. On Netflix’s Abstract: The Art of Design Tinker describes the initial reaction to the prototypes saying, “It was widely discussed that I had pushed it too far. People weretrying to get us fired.” (Oakes) Released on March 26, 1987 alongside other new shoe designs like the Air Trainer 1, Air Sock, Air Safari, and Air Revolution, the Air Max 1 stood out as the most innovative and successful of the collection. It has been a staple now of Nike for more than three decades and is widely known as the most important sneaker in changing the creative direction of Nike shoes.
Original 1987 Nike Air Max 1 magazine advertisements (Nike. “Inside the Vault: Air Max 1 Evolution.” Nike.com, Nike, www.nike.com/launch/t/inside-vault-air-max-1-evolution.)
The original 87 Air Max 1 continued to change over the years and has become an iconic Nike collection, but is being brought back to its roots this year with an improved model to commemorate the revolutionary design. The Nike Air Max Ultra 2.0 in the original red colorway is the lightest Air Max to date and has the date of its release (03/26) embellished above the urethane pocket window on the midsole.cheap nike air max