Nowadays, many shoes are said to be absolute sneaker icons. But hardly any other model is as true as the Air Max 1. Launched in 1987, it not only took the sports world by storm, but is still one of the most sought-after sneakers available today, 35 years later. Hundreds of colorways, material updates like Hyperfuse, Engineered Mesh and Flyknit, but also collaborations with notable partners from Patta & Concepts, Viotech and Atmos to artists like Ben Drury or musicians like Travis Scott - Nike can boast an incomparable list of collaboration partners!
NIKE AIR MAX 1 - HISTORY OF AN ICON
NIKE AIR MAX - THE ORIGINS
But before the Nike Air Max 1 became a sneaker icon, it was one thing above all: a revolution on the sports market. With the Air Bubble, Nike had already broken new ground in the late 1970s in terms of cushioning for running. It was the aerospace engineer Marion Franklin Rudy who came up with the idea of air cushioning in shoes. This is how the Air Tailwind, today also a popular retro sneaker, became the first running shoe with air cushioning. Small hint: it sold splendidly back then, too.
The 80s were a decade with many events and technical achievements that are still with us today (more than ever). Home computers were invented, the first email was sent, video games became the new pastime, private television came to Europe, music could be preserved and played on CDs aka compact discs.
But also the sports and shoe market changed. Since the 1970s, recreational jogging has increasingly become one of the favorite sports in the U.S. and Europe. It was always more about personal fitness than top athletic performance. Few sports offered such a low entry level - all that was needed were a pair of running shoes, a pair of athletic shorts and a shirt - as jogging. Millions of people became potential runners, which had a direct influence on the development of sports shoes.
In the 80's, the technical development of running shoes was therefore almost overflowing: GEL, Torsion, Air, Disc, Dynacoil, Kinetic, Wedge and Hydroflow are just some of the achievements, not all of which survived. The sportswear brands did not clot and spill!
IT'S A FIRST: THE AIR MAX 1
In the mid-1980s, it was Tinker Hatfield, originally hired as a corporate architect, who turned into a footwear designer and, together with David Forland (Director of Cushioning at Nike) and his young design team, created the very first Air Max. Anecdote: He had copied the design with the Air Bubble carried outwards from the Centre Pompidou museum in Paris, where all the technology is attached to the outer facade.
AIR MAX 1: A REVOLUTIONARY SHOE
Nike's Air Max 1 "hit the mark" in 1987 with the release of the 1, which was flanked by an extensive advertising campaign. For example, 2-6 page ads in magazines explained the entire functionality of the shoe, but also how Nike had tested the Air system in a wide variety of sports over the years. "Nike Air is not a shoe. It's a revolution." Was the headline of the ads. And looking back, we can say that was true in more ways than one. On the one hand, looking at the flat running shoes of the 1970s and early '80s, the Air Max 1 was the first "chunky runner" with an oversized sole and maximum cushioning (a concept that has been making a big comeback since the mid-2000s) designed to minimize running injuries. Also revolutionary was the marketing Nike did around the launch of "visible Air": in the 60-second TV clip, which was impressive anyway, "Revolution" by the Beatles blared. Apple Records prohibited further use of the song at the time, but by then it was long past your bedtime: the commercial and the trappings were simply inspiring.
The Air Max 1 was quickly able to convince: more than 5,000,000 pairs of the Air Max 1 sold at the time ensured that it broke all previous sales records in a very short time. With this, Nike started another "revolution" that influences sneakers until today: sports shoes were already worn in leisure time, but with the Air Max 1 it became normal and chic to wear sports shoes as "sneakers". The bridge between sportswear and lifestyle was fully built and would never be torn down again. Without the Air Max 1, the sneaker scene would probably not exist in its current form.
By the way, the slogan *Just Do it* was created just one year after the release of the Air Max 1 and today it too stands for generations of recreational athletes, for pop culture, fitness trends and self-expression!
(pics by Nike Inc.)
NIKE AIR MAX AND ASPHALTGOLD
While Nike Air Max is no longer THE silo for running shoes these days, you can still find the Air technology and style in modern running shoe technology, whether it's in the Air Pegasus, Nike's most popular running shoe line of all time, or the Alphafly ZoomX, in which Eliud Kipchoge's world record barely missed the 2-hour mark for the marathon distance.
For Asphaltgold, the Air Max 1 has a very special meaning: retro running is part of our DNA. Many sneakers that come on the market today have their roots in the 80s or are inspired by classics like the Air Max 1. Hardly any era is still as present in the sneaker industry today as the 80s. The Air Max 1 accompanies Asphaltgold not only since its founding in 2008 and yet it is one of the best-selling sneakers. Hardly any other shoe has influenced the global sneaker scene in the last 15 years as much as the *one*.
Also today we are happy about any collaboration, OG retro or strong new variations, like the Air Max 1 *La Ville Lumiére*.which will be released for this year's Air Max Day.
Nike Air and Air Max have been omnipresent in sports and lifestyle for 35 years and still define the style of whole generations of young people and athletes. We are sure that the Air Max will still be as important in 5 or 10 years as it is today. Reason enough to celebrate the anniversary on 26.03. with the Air Max Day - stay tuned for more information!