Who should buy the Nike Air Trainer 1

The Air Trainer 1 from Nike is a solid choice if:

  • You are looking for a shoe that stays comfortable for extended periods of wear. 
  • You love wearing sneakers with a throwback appeal.
  • A pair of sneakers with a cozy fit is what you prefer. 

Nike Air Trainer 1 Logo2

Who should not buy the Nike Air Trainer 1

Look past the Nike Air Trainer 1 if a sneaker that offers comfort on day one is what you need. You might be better off with the Nike Air Trainer Huarache. These Air Trainer kicks are also not for sneakerheads in search of a winter companion. They might want to look at the Nike Path Winter instead. 

Nike Air Trainer 1 Not Buy1

Snug closure system

The familiar Velcro strap across the midfoot that’s associated with the Nike Air Trainer 1 provides the lockdown feel in that region coupled with a lace-up closure system for the tailored secure fit. It has been reported that its strap hugs the midfoot comfortably. 

Nike Air Trainer 1 Lace

A well-fitting experience

The cushioning around the ankle towards the heel area wraps the foot snugly and comfortably. Also, this sneaker fits true to size, according to a substantial number of users.

Nike Air Trainer 1 Heel

Sustained comfort

A large number of reviewers mentioned that the Nike Air Trainer 1 offers all-day comfort. 

Nike Air Trainer 1 Midsole

Worth every penny

While cheaper by $90 than other Nike mid-top sneakers such as the NikeLab Sock Dart Mid x Stone Island and the ISPA Drifter Split, the Nike Air Trainer 1 did not fall short of quality.

Nike Air Trainer 1 Investment

Durable bottom of the Nike Air Trainer 1

The perforated upper of this Nike pair sits on top of a lightweight yet sturdy sole unit.

Nike Air Trainer 1 Sole

Nike Air Trainer 1 Style

The Nike Air Trainer 1 is reminiscent of the profile of the earliest cross-training shoe. Its resemblance to the original release has great appeal among sneaker fans and collectors. The use of synthetic materials for the cover and very light Phylon for the midsole makes this shoe comfortable added with the breathable perforations in the forefoot. It offers a sporty yet fashionable twist to everyday casual wear ideal for shorts and skinny bottoms.

Nike Air Trainer 1 Style

Based on the observations of sneaker enthusiasts, the retro-style of Nike Air Trainer 1 is an awesome add-on to their collection. Also, loyal fans liked this sneaker’s classic appeal, with its very close resemblance to one of Nike's very popular cross-training shoes.

Nike Air Trainer 1 Style2

Notable features

The Nike Air Trainer 1 is a comeback of the original style that’s been loved by athletes, sports enthusiasts, and sneaker fans. It resembles the version that legendary tennis player John McEnroe fell in love with from the time he got acquainted with what turned out to be an icon in cross-training. Its mid-cut silhouette with a noticeable strap across the midfoot with green accents around the shoe has been a template of multitude cross-training shoes that came after the release of the original Air Trainer 1.

Nike Air Trainer 1 Strap

Nike Air Trainer 1 History

Following the running boom in the 1970s that started in the US, the 1980s saw a huge development in fitness, recreational exercises, and various sports-related activities that were ignited by the craze over aerobics at the start of that era. Suddenly people are involved in multiple sports and the demand for athletic equipment skyrocketed.

Nike responded by coming out with a never before seen high-performance sneaker with multipurpose abilities, the Air Trainer 1, globally introduced in 1987.

Architect-turned-footwear designer Tinker Hatfield was barely new working with Nike’s shoe design department when he thought of the concept of the Air Trainer, which was initially intended for on-court games and gym workouts. This generic-sounding sneaker turned out to be one of the revolutionary products of Nike, which is an amalgamation of basketball, running, weightlifting, and aerobics shoes rolled into one sneaker.

The shoe was constructed using a lightweight Air bladder in the midsole to provide the needed cushioning similar to running shoes. The lateral outrigger that gradually protrudes offers a broad platform for improved support and stability, which is an important aspect in a basketball shoe. The prominent foot-securing strap across the midfoot offers a lockdown fit.

The prototype was ready by 1986 and little did Hatfield knew, this shoe managed to sneak into the court when pro tennis player John McEnroe returned to the game that year wearing this multi-performance model. Primarily, McEnroe, a very outspoken and controversial player at that time, requested for performance shoe options from Nike for his court games.

Nike sent him a batch of sneakers and prototypes, but the Air Trainer 1 model immediately got McEnroe’s attention. This mid-cut sneaker gave him all the support and stability he needed in order to focus more on the game. He managed to slip into the court wearing the prototype version of what came to be one of the most innovative equipment by Nike, more particularly by Hatfield.

McEnroe won two tournaments wearing the said sample sneaker made of premium leather and gray suede, even in defiance of Nike’s instruction not to sport the prototype during competitions. This was disclosed in the press statements released by the brand. It was later known that McEnroe, who made the Air Trainer 1 famous, eventually received two other alternate editions, which had outsoles specifically meant for grass and clay courts.

1987 came and the Air Trainer 1 was officially launched in Chlorophyll colorway and notable elements. This includes premium uppers, rubber outsole, an Air sole unit in the midsole, and most of all, its famous adjustable midfoot strap which was later seen in almost every cross-training shoe following the drop of this icon.

Nike Air Trainer 1 History

Additional info

  • The upper of the Nike Air Trainer 1 is made of synthetic leather materials with perforations in the vamp.
  • Nike’s branding on the midfoot strap, tongue, heel panel, and outsole as well as in the inner lining of the tongue is in the famous green color named Chlorophyll for this model.
  • The midsole has the Air cushioning unit surrounded by a hard-wearing yet lightweight Phylon material.
  • The outsole is made of long-lasting rubber with good traction.
  • Apart from McEnroe, famous cross-trainer Bo Jackson also made the Air Trainer 1 popular with his “Bo Knows” ad campaign in 1989. The promotion showcased the Air Trainer 1 as a multi-functional training sports shoe.
  • A number of variations were made out of the Air Trainer 1 with its entry into the Nike Skateboarding division and collaborations with artists such as prominent streetwear design icon Hiroshi Fujiwara.
  • Nike came out with a variety of sneakers for cross-training, tennis, and other sports in mid-cut and low-top versions with reference to the Chlorophyll silhouette of the Air Trainer 1 while incorporating other modern technologies, namely: Nike Zoom Trainer, Nike Zoom Haven, Nike Air Trainer 1 John McEnroe and Nike Air Trainer Legacy Pack (both with Flywire technology).

Nike Air Trainer 1 Outsole2

Facts / Specs

Style: Sporty, Classic
Top: Mid
Inspired from: Training
Collection: Nike Air, Nike Air Trainer
Closure: Laces, Velcro
Material: Leather, Rubber Sole
Technology: Air Cushion, Phylon

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Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny is a sports nut with a particular interest in football and running. He loves to watch sports as much as he loves to play. Danny was lead researcher on RunRepeat and The PFA’s report into Racial Bias in Football Commentary. His football and running research has been featured in The Guardian, BBC, New York Times and Washington Post.