A game-changing silhouette from Nike’s portfolio, the Air Max 1 has paved the way for a new wave of highly technical sneakers. Championing functionality and fashion in equal measure, Tinker Hatfield’s design is a certified staple of sneakerheads and running fans alike.

When it comes to finding the perfect fit, it’s well known within the industry that sizes vary between different Nike silhouettes. Much like other brands, including Air Jordan, New Balance, Yeezy and adidas, sizing can be tricky, so it’s always best to do your research beforehand. If you’re looking to buy your first pair of Nike Air Max 1s, you’re probably wondering “how do Air Max 1s fit?” and “does the Nike Air Max 1 run true to size?” Fortunately, we’ve got all the answers in our carefully curated size guide.

Put simply, the Air Max 1 runs true to size. When it comes to buying a pair, opt for the size you choose in other Nike sneakers. If your size isn’t in stock, you can always size up and wear with thick socks or an insole. Adding an insole will fill any spare gaps and make for a more snug fit. If you’re looking for a point of comparison, AM1s generally run similar to the Air Max 97. Both of these celebrated silhouettes fit true to size, so we recommend choosing your standard shoe size. A key point of difference is the the Nike Air Force 1 and the Nike Air Max 90 styles. These streetwear sneakers run slightly big, so it’s best to size down by a half size.

For more information on the Air Max 1, its iconic history and how it fits, follow our advice below. Always remember to consult a size chart before making a purchase.

The Nike Air Max 1: A History

Released in 1987, the Air Max 1 was the first sneaker to host Nike’s visible Air unit in the midsole. Dubbed the “Big Bubble”, the AM1 was created by Tinker Hatfield and inspired by Paris’ Centre du Pompidou, a building that took all its functional and structural elements and placed them on the outside. Unlike the Cortez, Waffle Racer, Tailwind or any other preceding silhouette from Nike’s portfolio, the Air Max 1 displays the iconic Air bubble instead of hiding it within the shoe’s sole. At the time, basketball sneakers were leading the way and offerings from New Balance and adidas were flooding the market. With other brands competing against each other, Hatfield — and by extension, Nike — found a gap in the market for a functional and pioneering running shoe.

Debuting with a vibrant Nike Air Max 1 iteration — the OG “Red, now known as “Infrared” — the sneaker’s arrival coincided with Nike’s first televised advert. This led to a surge in popularity and hype, with Nike selling more than 5,000,000 pairs of the Air Max 1. Breaking all previous sale records in a short amount of time, this instant success confirmed the AM1’s status as a must-have sneaker.

Fast forward to present day and the AM1 is acknowledged as one of the most significant sneakers to ever release. Having seen collaborations from powerhouses like Travis Scott, Patta, atmos and CLOT, to name a few, this crowd-favourite running shoe has earned its place in the sneaker hall of fame. Remaining one of the Swoosh brand’s bestselling silhouettes, its trailblazing design inspired a range of fresh Air Max iterations, like the Air Max 90, Air Max 95, Air Max 97, VaporMax, Air Max Plus and Air Max 2090. The Air Max 1 also encouraged other brands to follow suit and develop their technology, with New Balance and adidas creating their own versions of the visible Air unit. Undoubtedly a trainer that’s changed the landscape of footwear, there’s an Air Max 1 for every sneaker collection.

Air Max 1 Size Guide

To gain better insight into the how the Air Max 1 fits, we asked our in-house team of experts on their thoughts. Overall, the team found that the Air Max 1 runs true to size. It doesn’t matter if it’s an early iteration or a recent release, it’s recommended that you choose your usual size when buying a pair of Nike Air Max 1s. If you’re in between sizes or prefer a roomier fit, simply select a bigger size and add an insole. Our Product Manager said: “Air Max 1s make up the majority of my rotation and I’ve always found the sizing to be very consistent. I have narrow feet so generally I go half a size down in other trainer styles, but I don’t have to do this with the Air Max 1. It’s cushioning qualities means it’s both flexible and comfortable, whilst also being the perfect fit.”

Similarly to our Head of Product, our Graphic Designer wears their usual size, too. They said: “Compared to basketball sneakers like Air Jordans and the Nike Air Force 1, the Air Max 1 runs true to size. There’s plenty of room around the toe box and the lace-up fastening helps me adjust the shoe to my liking. I would recommend choosing your actual size.” When asked how they like to style their AM1s, they replied “The Air Max 1 is the easiest shoe to style! You only have to look at all the bright colourways and various collaborations to see its potential. Usually, I’ll wear mine with a pair of jeans and a hoodie, but if I’m dressing up a bit, I’ll throw on a blazer.”

Just to be sure, we asked our Marketing Manager what size they choose. They said: “When I buy a pair of Air Max 1s, I’ll always choose my normal size. I have quite wide feet, but the Air Max 1 accommodates the comfort I need at the forefoot of the shoe. If you want a bit more room you could size up by a half size, but I don’t think it’s necessary.”

Just like Air Jordan 1 sneakers and the Nike Dunk Low, the Nike AM1 runs true to size. For example, if you’re a UK size 5, it’s best choosing your Air Max 1s in a UK size 5. If you go for a half size bigger or smaller, you run the risk of the shoe slipping or the fit feeling too cramped.

Closer Look: Iconic Air Max 1s

With a long-standing history spanning over 35 years, the Nike Air Max 1 has seen many redesigns and updates. From retro colourways to modern reworks, the silhouette has gained a loyal following throughout the years. We’re taking a closer look at the most in-demand Air Max 1s, including iconic collaborations and OG-inspired designs.

Nike Air Max 1 x Patta Monarch

Marking another addition to Patta and Nike’s ever-growing portfolio, the Nike Air Max 1 x Patta Monarch combines elements from both brands to deliver an instantly recognisable sneaker. Crafted with premium leather and breathable mesh inserts, the upper hosts a wavy pattern across the midsole, accompanied by Swoosh branding. Underfoot, Nike’s running technology is exposed through the Air bubble in the heel. Finished with a cream outsole, this Air Max 1 iteration is worth unboxing.

Nike Air Max 1 x Travis Scott Baroque Brown

Presented in Travis Scott’s favourite coffee-inspired colourway, the Nike Air Max 1 x Travis Scott Baroque Brown offers a fresh take on the original running silhouette. Plush suede, leather and mesh dress the upper, balanced by a reversed Swoosh and rope-like laces. Complete with cushioning in the sole, this sneaker is one of the latest Nike shoes to deserve a spot in your rotation. Be sure to choose your usual size when buying this sought-after style.

Nike Air Max 1 OG Anniversary 2017

Paying homage to the first Air Max 1 ever released, the Air Max 1 OG Anniversary 2017 is designed to celebrate the silhouette’s 30th anniversary. Staying true to the sneaker’s roots, it boasts a clean white and red colourway, a secure lace-up fastening and Nike’s logo on the ankle tab. The supportive Air unit provides all-day comfort, while the textured tread offers grip. Sporting a retro look, this endlessly wearable AM1 is the perfect off-duty staple.

Nike Air Max 1 Safari Cobblestone

Arriving in celebration of the Air Max 1’s 35th anniversary, the Nike Air Max 1 Safari Cobblestone sees the running model take on a vibrant colour scheme. Drawing style cues from the atmos partnership, animal print overlays decorate the mudguard, toe box and ankle, balanced by a faux crocodile Swoosh. Beige accents play into the safari theme, while a tan outsole rounds off the design.

Nike Air Max 1 NH Skunk

Reminiscent of the OG Nike SB Dunk Skunk, the Nike Air Max 1 NH Skunk features the same moss-green suede upper with a pink Swoosh added for a point of contrast. Premium leather refreshes the sidewall, with a breathable mesh toe box for ventilation. Below, the white sole houses Nike’s industry-defining Air unit for a comfortable fit. An effortless everyday essential, make room in your rotation for this AM1.

Nike Air Max 1 ClOT Kiss Of Death

Initially released in 2006 to commemorate the opening of China’s first sneaker boutique, the Nike Air Max CLOT Kiss of Death returned in 2021. Built with smooth suede panels, the reflective toe box is heavily inspired by the spiritual energy that flows through the body. To finish, green eyestays and an orange midsole add flashes of colour.

The Air Max 1: The Summary

After speaking to many sneakerheads and our in-house team of experts, it’s clear from our research that you should choose your usual size when buying the Nike Air Max 1. This rule is applied across the board, no matter if it’s men’s, women’s or children’s sizes. If you have wide feet, it’s still recommended to select your normal size or size up by a half size and add an insole. You can get insoles online or at your local supermarket and cut them to size, they will then fit perfectly into your shoe and fill in any spare gaps. If in doubt, you can always check Nike’s size chart. Note that the AM1 doesn’t require much wear to break them thanks to their cushioning design, chunky frame and comfortable fit. To stay on top of the latest arrivals, discover Nike’s AM1s at Laced and keep an eye on release dates.