As we prepare for a remake, it’s appropriate that we look back at, arguably, one of the most important Air Max 1’s to ever be created. 15 years after the release of the original Air Max 1, Nike was looking not only to pay homage to the runner but create excitement around a new unique version.
To aid them in accomplishing this task they called upon the brain-trust at Japanese retailer atmos. The first company to collaborate on the famed model, the atmos team took it back to 1987 for inspiration. The Air Safari was dissected and bits were incorporated into the design of the new runner.
Another Tinker Hatfield creation, the two models were connected in a myriad of ways so seeing “Safari” influences on the Air Max 1 made sense. The most obvious and important feature taken from the Air Safari is the print that was used on both the mudguard and around the ankle. You can see the brown base as being borrowed as well. And that is where the colorblocking and material choices from atmos really shine through. The toebox was made of canvas while the overlay is done in nappy suede in a darker tan color. The dark brown heel is made up of smooth suede.
And then we come to the all important Swoosh. Not counting the tongue tag each sneaker has four, yes four, unique Swoosh logos. The lateral side features a orange leather Swoosh while the medial has a green Swoosh. The same green is featured on the tongue tag and heel Swoosh sans any additional lettering. The pièce de résistance is the stitched black mini-Swoosh added to the forefoot. Black on the tongue, laces and upper eyelet complete the upper. As for cushioning, the special Air Max 1 sat on a cream midsole with a gum outsole and big Air unit in the heel.
The first collaboration of the Air Max 1 was not only a success but lead to future collaborations between Nike, atmos, and the Air Max 1. With plenty of great designs in their history, the original was truly iconic. Now, 14 years after its initial release, Nike is somewhat retroing the iconic collaboration. The Swoosh changed the sneaker enough so that you know the source but you would never mistake the 2016 version for the original. The addition of fur and a translucent sole fits 2016, but nothing tops the original….the best.