Best Nike Air Max
Originally released in 1987, the Air Max 1 (also known as the Air Max ’87) is a lot like The Beatles or Miles Davis of running footwear. The Air Max 1 changed the way athletic shoes were designed aesthetically and technically, in the bold and subversive Nike way. Exceeding the athletic needs of the late ’80s, the AM1 went on to gain a cult following during the ’90s amongst shoe collectors and hoarders around the world, especially in Europe. That obsession gained popularity and momentum, spreading across nations without ever stopping.
So we find ourselves here in 2014, just over 25 years later from the original release and the Air Max 1 still stands as one of the most revered models from Nike’s extensive and innovative archives. It has garnered more attention over the last couple of years and is now one of the most ubiquitous designs on the market. Although it is just a shoe, a lot to people hold the AM1 close to their hearts and it has become the gateway shoe into this weird and wonderful world called “sneaker collecting”, or “trainer collecting”, for a lot of people. The AM1 seems to be subject to a more commercial appeal right now, with the once bystanders who were confused as to why you were wearing such athletic shoes for fashion purposes now becoming loyal consumers of every release. Hopefully this list will act somewhat as a reminder of just how great the releases really were a few years ago – and the list doesn’t even cover half of the great releases.
To coincide with today’s Air Max Day celebrations of this classic, we thought it would be a good excuse to get this top 10 list of some favourite AM1 colourways done. The mind blowing back catalogue of this special design is extensive, and we appreciate it all – old and new. This list is one example of how personal the Air Max 1 can be. We hope you enjoy it, and be sure to put your personal top 10s in the comment section below.
10. Nike Air Max 1 “Pinstripe” (2009)
Released back in 2009 as part of a varied Quickstrike release, which included a Footscape and Air Trainer II, this elegant make-up offers a generous helping of pinstriped materials in sky blue throughout the upper. The simplicity of the shoe is something to behold and you probably won’t see many of these around until the sun decides to make an appearance, being one of the most appropriate Summer Air Max 1’s ever. The vintage Nike branding on the heel is a nice alternative touch alongside the classic branding on the tongue. That gum outsole really doesn’t hurt either. The Air Max 1 “Pinstripe” is a serious Summer neck breaker.
9. Patta x Nike Air Max 1 “Lucky Green” TZ (2010)
Throughout the early 2000s the Air Max 1 slowly became a collaboration favourite. Amsterdam spot Patta were a regular collaboration partner with Nike and in 2009 we saw them complete a four-way shoe release that sent collectors footwear richter scales to another level. This subtle Tier Zero release, named “Lucky Green”, didn’t use colour for impact but rather focused on materials. Constructed of heavy duty woven canvas and ballistic nylon, this shoe really epitomised the idea of high quality running footwear and was a gem amongst the arguable quality of reissues, which was becoming more evident on standard releases. With minimal branding and green accents, this collaboration resulted in a subtle but ingenious make-up that showed you didn’t have to get maniacal with neon colours to get attention.
8. Nike Air Max 1 B “Curry” (2003)
Releasing exclusively in the US back in 2003, the “Curry” quickly became a cult favourite. The deep curry and wheat colour combo gave this release more of a formal edge that boded well for those favouring more of a toned down feel to their footwear. As with a lot of the earlier AM1 releases, the premium material choice is really brought out by the simplicity and power of this colourway. The suede, nubuck and mesh is so sweet, with those hits of white contrasting the “curry” colour combo all combining to hit the bullseye. Check that shape out too.
7. Atmos x Nike Air Max 1 “Elephant” (2007)
We enter the collaboration realm again and this time all eyes are on Atmos’ outstanding collaboration from 2007. This was an instant classic, mainly because of the use of the elephant print applied to an Air Max 1, but also because it’s just such a damn good colourway. Once again the material choice is premium, with suede and leather being utilised throughout the upper. The elephant print makes this shoe so recognisable, but it’s the black panelling that paves way for that bright aqua green to penetrate any field of vision, which really gives this shoe its charm. Say no more; if you see these you’ll know about it.