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The History of the Nike Air Max 1

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Originally released in 1987, the Nike Air Max 1 is the one that started It all. Tinker Hatfield created the legendary sneaker. In honor of Air Max Day on March 26, here is a quick look at the history of the Nike Air Max 1.

The 1

It is the pair that started it all. The 1 was the first Air Max sneaker designed and released by Nike. The shoe made its mark stylistically and technologically thanks largely to its an encapsulated Air Sole unit in the heel. The air bag unit has been a part of Nike’s technology since 1979. The Nike Air Max 1 was the first sneaker to feature a visible Air unit.

The Ultimate Running Shoe

Nike and Tinker Hatfield wanted to create lightweight and comfortable shoes for runners. That was the motivation that went into the crafting of the Nike Air Max 1. The Air Max 1 started the trend for Tinker of bringing new elements and technology to Nike products.

While on vacation, Hatfield visited The Centre Pompidou in Paris. The high concept architecture structure was built in the 1970s. The idea about the building that interested Hatfield was how the structure was turned inside out, with glass underneath. The unique look of the building inspired Hatfield, and he was quick to pass on his thoughts to Nike technicians. The Centre Pompidou inspired the Air Max 1’s exposed air unit. Hatfield’s idea to expose it was a design flair that resonated with consumers.

 Centre Pompidou


The Air Max 1 is still considered a game changer to this day. It helped to establish Nike and Tinker Hatfield as innovators in the industry. The Air Max 1 is still releasing retro releases today and is considered one of Nike’s greatest achievements.


- Adam C. Better