Foam was once the only thing that came between a runner’s foot and the perils of concrete. In its various densities, foam performed admirably but had one main drawback: With continued use, it would bottom out and lose its cushioning capabilities. Although the Nike Tailwind was the first sneaker to feature Nike Air cushioning instead of traditional foam, it was the Air Max 1 that first made Nike Air visible and captured the minds of a generation in a two-and-a-half inch window to its sole.
As the Air Max 1 transitioned into a statement of style, keeping its boldly color-blocked upper clean became paramount. In addition, its mesh- and suede-clad running roots didn’t translate to year-round wear. In 2014, the once revolutionary sneaker evolves into a new species of footwear – a Nike SneakerBoot.
The daunting task of reinforcing the Air Max 1 landed in the capable hands of Nike Sportswear footwear designer Dylan Raasch. Maintaining the legacy of the Air Max 1 was his first priority:
“I think it’s important to maintain a product's heritage when working with a classic such as the Air Max 1. It was important to stick to the lines and keep it as authentic as possible, adding only the elements necessary to make it a proper SneakerBoot.”
Raasch found his answers in the form of a water-resistant and waterproof upper, increased collar height, textile lining and iridescent midfoot detail. Adding a few millimeters of rubber also played a large role in the update.
“Apart from the collar, warmth and waterproofing aspects, the traction element was another huge aspect that we wanted to improve," Raasch says. "Extending the lugs a few millimeters did the trick.”
With that, the Air Max 1 SneakerBoot was born: A sneaker with sneaker royalty roots updated with enough fortification to make any traditional boot blush.
The Nike Air Max 1 SneakerBoot is now available online at nike.com/sportswear and at select Nike Sportswear retailers.