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by: Tomáš Vacek

The Nike Air Max 1 sneakers are one of the most iconic Nike silhouettes ever made. Their first release took place in 1987 and it is still one of the most important historical milestones of the entire brand. It was the Air Max 1 model that showed the world the Nike Air technology as we all know it today.

As I mentioned in the introduction, the silhouette of the  Air Max 1 has been with us since 1987, which means that it is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. Not only has it become the most popular pair of countless sneakers in its 35 years of existence, the Air Max 1 has also made a big difference in the future of Nike. It was the first Air Max to have a visible air bubble in its sole, which is known worldwide as the Nike Air technology.

The Air Max 1 was designed by none other than Tinker Hatfield. Nike court designer, who also has Air Max 90, Air Jordan 3, Air Jordan 4 and several other well-known silhouettes in his portfolio. Hatfield would not be able to make the Nike Air Max 1 sneakers without the help from Frank Rudy, a former NASA engineer. It is he who is responsible for the development of the revolutionary Nike Air technology.

Only a few people know that the technology that Frank Rudy came up with was first used several years before the first Air Maxs. It made its debut during the release of the Nike Air Tailwind sneakers, which were released in 1978. At that time, however, the Nike management thought that the compressed gas bubble should be hidden inside the shoe, because otherwise the sneakers would not look very good and stable.

Fortunately, this was changed by Tinker Hatfield, who was the first to come up with the idea to make Nike Air technology visible. This turned out to be one of the best steps the brand could ever take. Hatfield found inspiration by observing a controversial building in Paris, which many people condemn because of its appearance. It was the Center Georges Pompidou, home to the Paris Cultural Center and Gallery of Modern Art. The architects of the center decided to place the entire steel structure on the outside of the building. And that's what Hatfield was inspired by when he designed the Nike Air Max 1 silhouette, when he left the structure of the entire sneaker in front of everyone's eyes.

The debut sneaker with the unveiled Air bubble, Nike Air Max 1 in OG colour "Red", was released for the very first time on March 26, 1987. In the same year, the historically first Nike TV commercial appeared on TV screens, which you can watch below. The success of the first Air Max was followed by the Air Max 90, Air Max 180, Air Max 95, Air Max 97, Air Max Plus, Air Max 270, Air Max 2015 sneakers and several other pairs, in the sole of which you can find the visible Nike Air technology.

In 2017, when this legendary silhouette celebrated its 30th anniversary, Nike introduced the Air Max 1 Ultra 2.0 sneakers, which followed directly in the footsteps of its predecessor. It even came out in the original red colourway, but the big difference was in the sole. It was made of ultralight material, thanks to which the Air Max 1 Ultra 2.0 sneakers rank among the lightest Air Maxes ever.