TSL Co-Sign: Nike Air Max 1

Truth is, the Air Max 1 has gotten a raw deal. Everybody knows it’s a dope shoe and yet, we always treat it with second-class acknowledgment.

It’s a condescending tone type of thing, where we always discuss the shoe in conjunction with its obvious descendent.

It’s always, “The Air Max 1 is dope, but it ain’t touching the ’95.”

The discussion is always full of backhanded compliments. Before we can talk positively about the AM1, we have to preface it with a disclaimer, like it’s a pretty girl with a flat chest or something.

One of the legendary designer Tinker Hatfield’s greatest creations, the AM1 serves as a line of demarcation between old basic kicks and the modern era. Originally dropping in 1987, it immediately upped the ante and raised the ceiling of the greatness of running shoes.

It popped visually because Nike had the stones to showcase the first visible air unit, or as it was known in by the kids rocking them, the “air bubble.” It seems commonplace now, but in the late-’80s, showing the inside of a sneaker was mind-blowing. It also sported cool additions like lace locks, further separating itself from the monotony of its competitors. It looked futuristic, but not weird. As proof that it was ahead of its time, the legacy that was created from the AM1 still resonates to this day.

Besides the basketball releases and a couple of the cross trainers, the Air Max line is as big and powerful as anything that’s ever come out of Beaverton. It has immediate brand name recognition, and sits right in the sweet spot between nostalgia and forward-thinking functionality. 1987 was a long minute ago, and yet, when you throw on a pair of AM1s you don’t feel like you’re a part of a retro phase, at all. Nike has periodically brought the shoe back, each time with slight variations. But this year, something is different.

It’s like the executives at Nike had a sit-down and purposefully decided to think outside of the box in regards to AM1 concepts. It’s more aggressive, and yet, still rolls with enough nuance to keep things sufficiently interesting. It’s a great strategy. Especially in light of the fact that, even within their own family, they aren’t the chosen ones. That distinction goes to, of course, the Air Max ’95. Which, all jokes aside, still carries the mantle of being one of the top 10 best sneakers of all time.

But right now, in the spring and summer of 2013, the AM1 is killing the ’95 and most of everything else that’s out there. They’re coming out with new tech like the Hyperfuse Paris version, dope materials like denim and bold new colorways galore.

So here’s the takeaway, if you’re not planning on rockin’ a pair of AM1s this year, I’d like to know why. Then, I’m going to ask you if you’re sure, and then, I’m gonna ask you again. 

Back to top