8 best Nike Air Max 1 sneakers

Based on reviews from 1,897 users. Learn how our rankings work or see our guide to Nike Air Max 1 sneakers. Updated Dec 2018.

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Nike Air Max 1 Sneakers Collection

best nike air max 1 sneakers
Best Nike Air Max 1 Sneakers - October 2018

Nike Air Max 1 was the first Air Max designed by the legendary Tinker Hatfield. It debuted in 1987 and was also the first sneaker to feature a visible Max Air unit. Since its introduction, it has been hailed as one of the greatest shoes in history.

These days, the model and its various editions, colorways, collaborations, and limited issues are still sought after by many fans and sneakerheads. When it comes to colorways, Nike has provided many options for Nike Air Max 1 sneakers. These include the classic “Bred” or black and red combo, along with black, white, olive, and grey, among many others.

Below is a comprehensive list of what is considered the best Nike Air Max 1 sneakers, as well as some info about popular colorways and more.

Most Notable Nike Air Max 1 Shoes

There are many editions to choose from for Nike Air Max 1 shoes. They have been so popular that they continue to be modern classics, reissued in different patterns, colors, designs, and upgrades. In the following list, there is some further information about the most noteworthy models.

Nike Air Max 1 OG

This is the model that launched the Nike Air Max 1 sneakers collection back in 1987. Over the years, the legendary design has been updated with new materials and colors, all while retaining the original model’s lightweight cushioning. A hit with collectors, athletes, and casual wearers, this sneaker offers striking color combinations and the Air Max 1’s signature lightweight and comfortable structure.

A three-sided tongue reminiscent of the 1980s Air Max 1 is featured in this model. There is also a half-done Swoosh logo on the shoe’s lateral sides, which is a signature branding of Nike Air Max 1 shoes.

Additional info:

  • Several new colorways were released for the model, such as Atmosphere Grey/Deep Royal Blue/Sail/Sail, and Olive Canvas/Dark Russet/Sail/Black.
  • This sneaker comes with spare laces and a commemorative box.
  • Men’s sizes from 6-15 are available. It fits true to size.
  • An affordable price point of S110 was set for this model.

Nike Air Max 1 Master

Released on March 26, 2017, Air Max Day, the Air Max 1 Master was meant for the most avid fans of Nike Air Max 1 sneakers. Many buyers, including sneakerheads and resellers, lined up for hours just to acquire a pair of this limited-edition sneaker. In only a few weeks, the shoe was sold out at the Nike online store. Resellers have since offered it at marked up prices.

The shoe features uniquely placed textiles and materials in the upper and mudguard. These details took inspiration from the twelve exclusive and iconic styles of the first Air Max. Notable editions such as the Kid Robot x Air Max 1 and the Air Max 1 x Premium SP also served as inspirations.

Additional info:

  • This shoe was released in a Black/Black/University Red colorway.
  • Gucci Mane and Kevin Hart were among those who loved this sneaker.
  • It has a true-to-size fit and is available in men's 4-13.
  • It was offered at an average price of $130.

Nike Air Max 1 Mid Sneakerboot

Featuring a chunky midsole and prominently padded collar, the Nike Air Max 1 Sneakerboot has a winter boot-inspired look that lends it a street style charm. It was released in 2015 in a mid-cut silhouette that offers a feminine yet edgy take on the original Nike Air Max 1 shoes. This model also has a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) membrane that ensures that no water can enter the shoe.

Additional Info:

  • Colorways for this sneaker include Sequoia/Menta/Bright Crimson, Black/Crimson/Sequoia, and Black/Gum Medium Brown.
  • Women’s 5-12 are available for this model. It has been said to run narrow, especially for wide-footed users.
  • It comes at a slightly expensive

Nike Air Max 1 Premium

The Air Max 1 Premium levels up the original Nike Air Max 1 sneakers with premium materials, upgrading and refreshing the classic design. At a higher price, this shoe could also be customized through a version called the Nike Air Max 1 Premium iD.

Buyers can choose the materials and colors that they would like to have for the upper. The colors of the outsole, midsole, and Air Bubble could also be customized, along with the logos and labels on the heel and tongue.

Additional info:

  • There are many colorways available for this model, including Beach/Praline/Light Cream/Black, Black/Total Orange/White Black, and Work Blue/Yellow Ochre/Sail/Mountain Blue.
  • Leather, synthetic or canvas is used on the upper depending on the color.
  • Men’s sizes ranging from 7-15 are offered for this shoe.
  • It’s available at an affordable price of $120.

Nike Air Max 1 SE

A seasonal update of Nike Air Max 1 sneakers, the Air Max 1 SE is a special edition that also retains the revolutionary cushioning that made the original model famous. It has an eye-catching, glittery, and modern-looking upper that’s ideal for serving looks.

The whole upper was revamped in this model to incorporate such innovative features as Hyperfuse, Tape, and Ultra tooling. As a result, this sneaker is very trimmed down compared to other versions.

Additional info:

  • Its bright color variations include Total Orange/Black/White and the counterpart White/Total Orange/White.
  • Men’s sizes from 6-15 and women’s sizes from 5-11 are offered. It is said to have a narrow fit.
  • It has a slightly expensive price of $130.

Nike Air Max 1 Ultra 2.0 Essential

Remastering the design of Nike Air Max 1 shoes, the Air Max 1 Ultra 2.0 Essential reduced the shoe’s weight and switched up the colors and materials. Its Ultra 2.0 cushioning provides two densities of foam for support and comfort.

Additional info:

  • Its color options include Obsidian, White, and Black/Wolf Grey/Dark Grey/Black.
  • The tonal black colorway has a prominent white line that is said to be glow-in-the-dark.
  • Men’s 6-15 sizes are available.
  • It has a price tag of $120, offering value for the money.

Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Flyknit

Released in July 2016, the Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Flyknit is reputed to be the most lightweight among the Nike Air Max 1 sneakers. Old school style meets innovation in this model, which is the first Air Max 1 to feature a Flyknit constructed upper. It also offers breathability and comfort with its zonal ventilation and no-sew film overlays.

Additional info:

  • Many colorways are available for this sneaker, including Varsity Red, Dark Obsidian/White/Racer Blue, and Purple/Maroon.
  • It’s offered in women’s sizes from 6-8 and men’s sizes from 7-14, having a narrow sizing.
  • It was released at a premium price of $160.

Nike Air Max 1 Ultra SE

Made up of a multi-density foam upper, the Nike Air Max 1 Ultra SE has a buffed-out aesthetic compared to most Nike Air Max 1 sneakers. As a result, this shoe delivers supreme cushioning and comfort. It comes in bold colorways with a contrasting Swoosh, placed on top of a pristine white sole that features the iconic Max Air cushioning.

Additional info:

  • Two of its colorways are Dark Grey and Black.
  • Among its other features, the sneaker has perforated detailing, a Phylon midsole, and forefoot flex grooves, offering flexibility and support.
  • Men’s sizes from 6-15 are available.
  • Its price point is $120, making it affordable.

Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Essential

With its no-sew synthetic leather and mesh upper, the Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Essential is much lighter and more breathable than the original Nike Air Max 1 sneakers. It also has a unique screen-printed Swoosh logo.

  • Many colorways are available, including Black Jade/White Bright
  • Offered sizes are in men’s 7-13 and women's 5-12. It’s been confirmed to fit true to size.
  • It is reasonably priced.

Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Moire

With its laser-printed Swoosh as part of the seamless upper, the Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Moire offers a fresh take on Nike Air Max 1 shoes. Some colorways feature reflective 3M detailing. It also has a slimmed down midsole and a minimalistic upper.   

  • There are several color options for this one, including Gym Red/Team Red/University Red, Metallic Cool Grey/Gym Red/White, and Green Glow/Vapor Green/Emerald Green.
  • Available sizes are in women’s 5-11 and men’s 6-15.
  • It’s set a reasonable price.

Collaborative Editions of the Nike Air Max 1

Because of their popularity, Nike Air Max 1 sneakers have been released in collaborative editions that offer fresh designs of the iconic silhouette. The model is also deemed ideal for collaborations since it has been called an icon in the world of sneakerheads. Here are some of the most popular collaborations of the shoe so far.

Nike Air Max 1 x Atmos

Japanese sneaker and streetwear label Atmos was founded in 2000 by Hidefumi Hommyo. The Tokyo-based boutique has risen to be a trusted name in Japan’s streetwear scene. In particular, the brand’s collaborations with other big names have been sought-after.

One of its collaborations is with Nike Air Max 1 shoes, upgraded with the signature Atmos touch. The following are a couple of the brand’s special versions with the iconic shoe.

  • Atmos x Nike Air Max 1 Safari. This was the first ever collaboration of the Nike Air Max 1, and the first design of the iconic model by Atmos. Released in 2002 in a lively Flax/Tennessee Orange-Chestnut-Light Graphite colorway, this model has been reissued due to its enduring influence.
    • The sneaker was re-released on March 14, 2016.
    • Its reissued color is designated as Flax/Chestnut-Kumquat.
    • At its price tag of $150, the shoe is considered to be slightly expensive.
  • Atmos x Nike Air Max 1 "Premium Retro Elephant." In 2006, Atmos released a unique collaborative edition of the iconic model. With its elephant skin pattern and vibrant jade accents, this model is a distinctive one among Nike Air Max 1 sneakers.
    • As the top choice in the 2016 Nike Vote Back survey contest, the sneaker was rereleased in 2017, rebranded as the Premium Retro Elephant.
    • Men’s sizes ranging 4-13 are available.
    • It retailed at an average price of $150.

Nike Air Max 1 Lux x London Cloth Company

Part of the London Cloth Company x Nike Sportswear Women’s Collection, this model offers a bold colorway done in premium materials. Other iconic shoes in the collection are the Nike Blazer Mid and the Cortez Classic. The London Cloth Company has been specializing in woven pieces since 2011 and reworked the legendary Nike Air Max 1 sneakers with its signature bold touch.

  • Made up of a special fabric from LCC, the sole factory in the United Kingdom that weaves denim, this shoe’s material is spun and dyed by hand.
  • A full indigo color is featured on this model.
  • It was released on September 1, 2017, in women's sizes at an affordable price.

Nike Air Max 1 LHM “Los Primeros”

Made especially for Latino Heritage Month, the Nike Air Max 1 LHM was part of the Los Primeros limited-edition pack that was released on September 15, 2017. The collection featured collaborative versions of the classic Nike Air Max 1 sneakers, designed by local Latino street artists from South America.

  • Nike Air Max 1 x Wasafu “Nomad.” This model was created by Wasafu, a well-known graffiti artist from Chile. He took inspiration from the body paint designs of the Ona people, a nomadic tribe in Patagonia. The sneaker’s design is also inspired by graffiti.
  • It comes in a White/University Red-Neutral Grey colorway.
  • Men’s sizes ranging from 4-13 are offered for this model.
  • Its price tag is set at $150.

Nike Air Max 1/97 SW

In 2017, Nike invited twelve creative individuals to submit a design for the future of Nike Air. They were aptly called the “RevolutionAirs,” and their creations were voted on by the public to choose which design should be released on Air Max Day 2018.

Vintage clothes and sneaker collector Sean Wotherspoon emerged as the winner; hence his initials are included in the model's name. His creation, the Nike Air Max 1/97 SW, was revolutionary in that it combined the upper of the Nike Air Max 97 with the midsole and outsole of the Nike Air Max 1 shoes.

  • A multicolored design is featured on the shoe, which is made up of corduroy.
  • It was released in the U.S. on Air Max Day, March 26, 2018.
  • At its price of $160, the sneaker is considered to be expensive.

Parra x Patta x Nike Air Max 1

Dutch artists Parra and Patta had collaborated with Nike on a few versions of the Nike Air Max 1 sneakers, all of which proved to be successful. So, when the two combined their creative forces along with Nike for another take on the model, the result was something fresh and bold, as expected.

A straightforward and simple sneaker, the Parra x Patta Nike Air Max 1 has a maroon upper made up of suede and chenille, complemented by blue accents on the ankle and tongue.

  • It comes in a bold Cherrywood Red/Baltic Blue colorway.
  • The model has been nicknamed “Cherrywoods” or “Burgundy Pattas.”
  • It was released in 2010 and has continued to be sought-after, fetching high prices at the reseller market.

Technologies Used on Nike Air Max 1 Shoes

Footwear giant Nike has long been a pioneer when it comes to shoe technologies. The brand's commitment to innovation not just in athletic shoes but also in lifestyle models has made it a favorite by people from all walks of life. When it comes to Nike Air Max 1 sneakers, the brand has incorporated some of its revolutionary technologies to upgrade the well-loved silhouette.

Max Air

Max Air technology is part of the Nike Air family. It was specifically designed to offer maximum protection against the impact caused by repeated landings. Less midsole material is also used on shoes that utilize Max Air to accommodate larger volumes of airbags. A groundbreaking creation, the visible Max Air unit launched the popularity of Nike Air Max 1 sneakers.

  • Max Air units reduce the heavier materials that are often used on midsoles, making the models more lightweight without sacrificing function. Subsequently, the wearer uses less energy.
  • Impact forces are absorbed by the Air unit, which cushions the foot each time it strikes the ground. Tendons, joints, and muscles are well-protected.
  • Max Air is also proven to be durable, enduring extended wear throughout the sneaker’s lifespan.

Hyperfuse Technology

Hyperfuse was introduced in 2010 and was initially fine-tuned by Nike for its line of basketball shoes. The material was first used on a breathable, flexible, and stable shoe called the Nike Hyperfuse. It evolved into a whole new technology due to demand.

The Hyperfuse system uses a three-layer durable composite material, with each one having a function for ventilation, stability, and durability. Heat and pressure fuse the layers instead of the usual cut-and-sew method.  

  • Hyperfuse has a unique appeal, featuring a minimalist look that has been changed up by Nike using various colors and finishing touches.
  • The material has open overlays that allow users to see through it.
  • Hyperfuse has been used on a few Nike Air Max 1 shoes, such as the Nike Air Max 1 SE.

Flyknit

Nike innovated the standard knitting process commonly used in the making of shoe uppers with the introduction of its seamless Flyknit technology. The concept was first revealed during the 2012 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, where the Flyknit Trainer and Racer models were introduced.

Polyester yarn is used in Flyknit material, constructed through a precise knitting design that makes it form-fitting, seamless, and ultra-lightweight.

  • Flyknit material is refined to provide support and flexibility in areas where they are most needed.
  • Waste reduction is also achieved by Flyknit, as it diminishes the need for cutting up multiple materials to make the upper of a sneaker.
  • The Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Flyknit uses this technology. It is the most lightweight model among Nike Air Max 1 sneakers.

Interesting Facts from Nike Air Max 1’s History

It is well-known that Tinker Hatfield designed the Air Max 1 back in 1987. Not only did it feature the first visible Air Unit of its time, but it also impressed people with its cushioning and performance abilities. However, even though Nike Air Max 1 sneakers have been highly popular for over three decades, there may still be much about them that fans and sneaker lovers do not know.

To know more about the beloved silhouette, below are some of the interesting facts taken from its long history.  

  • For the design, Tinker Hatfield took inspiration from the Le Centres George Pompidou in Paris. The polarizing structure has divided people due to its "inside-out" design. This aesthetic pushed Hatfield to showcase the Air Max cushioning for the first time.
  • The bold colorways of Nike Air Max 1 sneakers also took inspiration from the Le Centres George Pompidou, which was painted in bright hues to make the design stand out. Subsequently, Hatfield chose a bright red colorway to make the shoe visible from afar.
  • Initially, people were afraid that the Air unit on the sole would puncture. As the unit had not been visible before, people doubted its durability. They needn't have worried, as the airbag often outlived the midsole it was housed in.
  • Nike Air Max 1 sneakers started a revolution in running shoes, which Nike was able to capitalize on. The company saw its best numbers yet when the model was first released.
  • Nike’s ads to promote the model spurred the competitive nature of sneaker advertisements in the 1980s and 1990s. The brand commissioned full-spreads in magazines such as Sports Illustrated, and other brands scrambled to catch up.
  • Nike didn’t stop at print ads when promoting Nike Air Max 1 sneakers. The company also released a commercial set to the song “Revolution” by The Beatles. It featured such stars as Michael Jordan and Bo Jackson and is credited for making Nike a household name
  • Contrary to popular belief, Tinker Hatfield did not create Air technology. An independent inventor named Marion Frank Rudy was contracted by Nike to develop the technology.
  • Despite leather being the predominant material used on Nike Air Max 1 sneakers, it wasn’t until 1988 that the first leather version was released. The shoe was initially made up of suede and mesh.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does one style Air Max 1 sneakers?

Due to their smooth and sports-inspired style, Nike Air Max 1 sneakers could be styled in many different ways. They are considered versatile and are commonly paired with jeans or shorts to create refined street style outfits. For both men and women, the kicks could be matched with sporty apparel to create everyday athleisure looks. Meanwhile, more laidback pieces such as pants and light dresses could also go well with the shoes.

Are Air Max 1 shoes durable?

Nike Air Max 1 sneakers have been known to be durable in general. The Air Max unit on the midsole, in particular, has been observed to outlast the sole, providing cushioning until the end of the sneaker’s usability. Nike also uses high-quality materials for the shoe’s upper, ensuring that it offers value for its price. 

How does one describe the style of Nike Air Max 1s?

Nike Air Max 1 sneakers took inspiration from running shoes, making its silhouette distinctly sporty-looking. The midsole has a chunky design that lends an athletic look to the model. Meanwhile, the Air unit, flat laces, and lightly padded tongue and collar complete the sneaker’s sporty appeal.

How comfortable are Air Max 1 shoes?

Often made of leather, Nike Air Max 1 sneakers may need to be broken in due to their rigid structures. However, when it comes to comfort, the shoes have been praised, especially because of their cushioning and support. As the Air unit on the sole absorbs impact efficiently, wearers report that they could wear the sneaker all day without feeling tired.

What are the most effective ways to clean Air Max 1 sneakers?

Nike has outlined specific steps for cleaning Nike Air Max 1 sneakers, which require a gentle touch. Putting the sneaker through the washing machine or dryer is highly discouraged, as is using strong detergent. The brand also instructs that the kicks should be cleaned as soon as they get dirty.

  • Nike recommends using a dry brush with soft bristles to remove dirt from the upper, midsole, and outsole of the sneaker. An old toothbrush would also do.
  • A mild cleaning solution made up of a small helping of detergent mixed with warm water would be effective in washing the laces.
  • To clean the shoe, dipping the dry brush in the solution would work well in scrubbing off stains and dirt.
  • A microfiber towel or soft material should be used in wiping off excess moisture.
  • Finally, air drying at room temperature is highly recommended.

Are there celebrities who like Air Max 1 kicks?

Nike Air Max 1 sneakers are so popular that even celebrities are drawn to the model. From the music world, artists such as Adam Levine, Swizz Beatz, DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber, John Mayer, and Justin Timberlake were seen wearing the kicks both on and off the stage.

Actresses and actors are also fans of the shoe, including Jude Law, Joe Manganiello, Josh Duhamel, Kevin Hart, Chloe Grace Moretz, and Queen Latifah, while supermodel and reality star Kendall Jenner also sported the shoes. Athletes such as Kobe Bryant and Lebron James were also seen wearing the sneakers during off-court activities.

Where could one buy Air Max 1 shoes?

The Nike online store is one good bet on where Nike Air Max 1 sneakers could be found when they are first released or as stocks last. They are also sold at big footwear retailers both in-store and online. Small shops could also carry certain models, especially if they are general releases.

Most of the time, in-demand models, especially those that are limited editions, are quickly sold out on the site and instead find their way on reseller websites, such as eBay and Flight Club, where they are listed with higher prices.

Are Air Max 1s eco-friendly?

Although Nike has been known for working towards sustainability in the production of its sneakers, most Nike Air Max 1 sneakers are unfortunately not yet eco-friendly. Among all the shoes in the series, there is only one that is deemed environmentally-conscious: the Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Flyknit.

Flyknit technology effectively reduces waste due to its one-piece upper. This is because limited resources are used, and each stitch is precision-engineered, unlike the traditional cut-and-sew process of creating sneakers. It is part of Nike’s Sustainable Innovation drive. 

What are the materials used in Air Max 1 shoes?

Depending on the model and colorway, Nike Air Max 1 shoes are usually made up of leather, suede, mesh, polyester, or canvas or a combination of some of these materials. The midsoles are often made up of polyurethane or PU material, making them durable and supportive.

Meanwhile, the Air unit is made up of pressurized gas enclosed in polyurethane material. The gas that was used in the past was sulfur hexafluoride, but it has since been replaced by nitrogen due to its perceived harmful effects. 

Where are Air Max 1 sneakers made?

Nike Air Max 1 sneakers are made in the brand's factories, which are mostly located in Asia. There are factories in China, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan, and Malaysia. The shoes could be made in any of these factories. On the label at the back of the tongue, one could usually see information about the manufacturing country.

This shoe has recently been added to RunRepeat. There are still not enough reviews for us to assign it a CoreScore.
CoreScore
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