The highly anticipated return of the Tinker Hatfield creation, the Air Max 1, finally came last week. Despite its much-loved status in the sneaker industry today, the shoe was highly controversial when Hatfield originally designed it back in 1987. 

The sneaker would be the first time Nike would show the air bubble, a look that is now synonymous with Nike Air Max sneakers. Well, last Thursday saw two colourways drop that feel like a true throwback to where the Air Max 1 gained its notoriety initially. In honour of this, we take a look back at the Air Max 1 and how it became such a staple in sneakerheads collections. 

So, where did it all begin? 

It all began with Nike bringing in now-legendary designer and sneaker industry royalty Tinker Hatfield. But it wasn’t even sneakers that Hatfield was to meant be designing initially. Tinker began as a corporate architect to design buildings on the Nike Oregon campus. Four years later, however, he was requested to help design footwear. This request gave Hatfield the chance to apply his architectural experience towards sneaker design, and the results do speak for themselves. 

Centre Georges Pompidou. Paris, France.

Hatfield wasted no time embracing his architectural roots and applying this to the world of sneaker design. Setting his sights the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, a building many declared ugly, as his inspiration behind the AM1. 

The Centre Georges Pompidou’s design flips conventional architecture on its head. Taking all of its functional and structural elements and displaying them for all to see. The Pompidou is impossible to miss amongst Paris’s traditional architecture. Hatfield credits the building for inspiring him to reveal the air cushion, an idea never before thought possible. The air bubble technology was not new; it had been around since 1978 when released on the Air Tailwind. Having it on display, however, was groundbreaking and something we may never have seen without the Pompidou building. 

The return of the Air Max 1

Nike had been spending its time pre-Hatfield trying to reduce the size of the air technology, so Tinker’s idea came across as quite provocative. Hatfield even stated that people thought he had taken his design too far and should be fired, fortunately for us, this did not happen. 

March 26, 1987, the first-ever sneaker revealing the air-cushion was finally released, the Air Max 1. The silhouette also featured on Nike’s very first television advert announcing the Air Pack. The Air Pack also saw the release of the Air Trainer 1, Air Sock, Air Revolution and Air Safari. Nobody, not even Tinker himself, could have predicted the impact the Air Max would still be having some thirty-three years later. 

Our favourite Air Max 1 releases

So, after thirty-plus years of dominance and the Air Max umbrella branching out to create multiple other silhouettes such as the Air Max 90 and Air Max 95, we thought it would be only right to take a look at our favourite Air Max 1’s over the years. 

The return of the Air Max 1

Air Max 1 OG (1987), Retro version (2017) 

The only place to start the list of our favourite Air Max 1 is with the OG red, white and grey pair. This pair is easily the most iconic from all the AM1 releases we have seen, the duo initially designed by Tinker Hatfield. Bold and bright colours like the red seen here on running sneakers wasn’t as common as it is today, with Tinker even fighting for the colour to be green-lighted. Fortunately, the colour scheme went ahead and gave us one of the most recognisable colourways Nike has. 

The classic colourway was re-made in 2017 and was the first time the OG was reproduced. The Anniversary model, of course, was an instant hit and today fetches prices of around £300 on the resale marketplace. Is anybody else hoping for this colourway to re-release again soon?? 

Air Max 1 x Atmos 

Nike and Japanese sneaker and streetwear store Atmos Tokyo have had a great relationship when it comes to sneaker collaborations. They have joined forces on many silhouettes, but my all-time favourites have to be their Air Max 1 efforts. The love of animal print is evident, consistently featured throughout their best AM1’s. 


AM1 x Atmos Elephant (2007, 2017)

The Atmos Elephant may be the most recognisable and sought after collaboration between Nike and Atmos. Before Atmos decided to use it, the elephant print had been used rarely on the Air Max 1 model. This piece paired with the ‘tiffany’ teal blue swoosh made this pair an instant classic. 

Nike took notice of how well received the silhouette was when initially releasing in 2007 and decided to re-release in 2017. The OG and re-release can fetch anywhere between £600-£800 today. 


AM1 x Atmos Animal Pack 1.0 & 2.0 (2007, 2018)

The Atmos Animal Pack is perhaps my favourite collaboration between the pair. The mix of animal print, throughout paired with the various textures used, make this silhouette a true grail for many. 

The 1.0 release saw the Air Max 1 and 95 dressed in a mix of bold prints. Leopard, Tiger and Zebra the patterns of choice. The sneakers are offset against white pony hair where you would generally find the white mesh on more traditional versions of the sneaker. 

The 2.0 kept the same fundamentals that made the 1.0 such a hit, the mix of animal prints remained intact. Atmos this time flipped the white pony hair for black to give the sneaker a sleeker appearance. 

Do you want to grab a pair from this legendary collaboration? Click here to shop: Atmos x Nike.

Air Max 1 x Patta x Parra 

I have put these collaborations under the same banner due to the excellent relationship between Patta and Parra. The Air Max 1s these Dutch powerhouses have created are special. We take a look at two of our favourites, although every one of their collaborations could’ve made this list. 

The return of the Air Max 1

Nike AM1 AMS Parra Amsterdam (2005)

The Nike Air Max 1 x Parra Amsterdam is to this day my favourite Air Max to release. The sneaker is one of the most sought after shoes of all time, so I am not alone in thinking this. 

The colour combination of browns, burgundy and teal does not sound like it should work, but as soon as you see the silhouette, you realise just how powerful of a combo it is. 

Dutch Artist Parra has a reputation within streetwear. His pop-art feel and vibrant colour combinations for which he is best known. The colours on the sneaker reflect Parra’s artwork perfectly. If you are a fan of Parra, you would instantly recognise the “Amsterdam” as a piece of his artwork. 

Although there were only around 300 pairs made with some of these even rumoured to have hit Nike outlets for $30. The Parra x Nike Amsterdam has since become one of the most collectable sneakers to date. If you wanted to add this masterpiece to your collection today, it could cost you anywhere between £3000-£5000 depending on your size. 

The return of the Air Max 1

Nike AM1 Parra x Patta “Cherrywood” (2010)

Perhaps the most anticipated release that Nike, Patta and Parra have released. The “Cherrywood” meant to release as a pack of five for Patta’s fifth anniversary in 2009. However, this particular silhouette was postponed until March 2010. 

Sneakerheads around the world waited for the sneaker to release. Unsure if they shoe was a Parra or Patta exclusive or a friend and family only release. Parra teased the shoe months before release which only further built the hype around the silhouette, but customers became sceptical about the release. Eventually, 258 pairs released to the general public. The sneaker came dressed in a mix of burgundy fabrics, even featuring a chenille swoosh and satin sock liners. The swoosh on the inside of each shoe, however, was teal, which especially made the sneaker pop. 

The Cherrywood is still one of the most in-demand collabs for sneakerheads and Air Max 1 enthusiasts. The resale marketplace can see it fetch anywhere between £3000-£4000. 


AM1 x Kidrobot (2005) 

Possibly the most expensive sneaker if you were hoping to cop today, the Barneys New York x Kidrobot x Nike collaboration is one of a kind. The shoe’s designer was boutique toy label owners Chad Phillips and Paul Budnitz. 

Unfortunately for all of us, only 240 pairs of the collaboration ever made. Worst still, only 72 pairs of that collab came in the hot pink colourway. These only made it into the hands of friends and family too. 

The slightly more available Black, Gold and Pink colourway launched exclusively at Barneys New York in 2005. 

What solidified this collaboration as grail status was a sample pair pulling in $9000 back in 2015 on eBay. 

The return of the Air Max 1

Last weeks release

As mentioned above, last week finally saw an Air Max 1 release that felt like a real throwback to the original silhouette. We were treated to two new colourways, anniversary green and orange. Much like the initial release, the colours are offset with grey and white panelling to help emphasise the colourways. 

Both colourways will be on every Air Max enthusiasts list to cop if they missed out last Thursday (the 30th). After such a long time seems to have passed since the previous anniversary colourways, these carried on the trend for Air Max 1’s and were an instant sell-out.

Looking to add some Nike Air Max 1’s to your collection? Click here to shop on Laced.


Want to see what our favourite Nike x Stussy collaborations are? Click here to find out