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Explore the Iconic History of Nike's Air Max Series...
6 min read
“I remember sitting on a plane with Mark Parker and we didn’t want anyone else to see the Air Max sample because we were fresh out of the factory. I’d look at it and he’d look at it and we’d look at each other and go, ‘Man this is wild!’ I remember us both pretty much thinking the same thing: ‘This is crazy but this is going to work, and people are going to go nuts!’ Sure enough, it just exploded.”

 - Tinker Hatfield, Nike Air Max & Air Jordan Designer


Nearly four decades ago, Tinker Hatfield stood across from the Centre Pompidou in Paris, where exposed plumbing, air ducts, and wiring on the building's facade deeply intrigued him. This avant-garde 'inside-outside' architectural concept became the pivotal inspiration for what would eventually emerge as one of the most iconic footwear designs of all time. From this fascination emerged the Visible Air technology, giving birth to the Nike Air Max 1, the inaugural model of the Air Max series that would forever revolutionise the sneaker industry.

Transitioning from an architect designing Nike showrooms to a daring sneaker designer, Tinker Hatfield earned both admiration and scepticism from his peers at Nike headquarters. Continually pushing creative boundaries and taking bold risks, his 'revolutionary' approaches sometimes tested the patience of those in Beaverton.

Undeterred, Tinker persisted, refining his designs with each prototype iteration, gradually bringing his vision of the Visible Air unit to life. In 1986, his perseverance paid off with what he considered his 'masterpiece.' Despite an initially rocky launch plagued by reported issues, Tinker continued to refine the design, leading to a re-release the following year with subtle modifications.

With the release of the Nike Air Max 1, the debut model featuring Visible Air, the worlds of sport and fashion collided. Its innovative design captivated sneaker enthusiasts, sparking an instant cultural phenomenon and cementing its status as a beloved icon among sneakerheads.



AIR MAX 1, 1987

In 1987, Tinker Hatfield introduced the Nike Air Max 1, pioneering a groundbreaking design that unveiled the sole's inner workings. Drawing inspiration from the innovative architecture of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Hatfield's unconventional approach brought visibility to Nike's Air technology for the first time in sneaker history.

AIR MAX 90, 1990

Originally known as the Air Max 3, the Nike Air Max 90 marked a significant evolution in the Air Max footwear series as the calendar turned into a new decade. Its innovative design thoroughly revamped the Air Max sneaker, setting a new standard for style and performance. Decades later, the Air Max 90 continues to maintain its status as one of the most beloved and sought-after sneakers globally, solidifying its place in sneaker culture history.

AIR MAX 95, 1995

​​The Nike Air Max 95, crafted by designer Sergio Lozano, boasts a distinctive blend of minimalist branding and captivating design. Lozano drew inspiration from the human anatomy, resulting in a sneaker that seamlessly blends form and function. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, the Air Max 95 represents a pivotal moment in the Nike Air Max saga. Its radical redesign reflects the brand's unwavering confidence in its connection with consumers, signalling a significant milestone in Nike's evolution. In essence, by 1995, Nike had solidified its place in the hearts of sneaker enthusiasts worldwide.


AIR MAX 97, 1997

Designed by Christian Tressler and drawing inspiration from the mesmerising ripples created by waterdrops in a pond, the Air Max 97 quickly captured the hearts of sneaker enthusiasts worldwide. Despite its iconic "Silver Bullet" moniker for the original colourway, the hue derives its inspiration from the gleaming silver finish of mountain bikes, adding an unexpected twist to its design narrative. The Air Max 97 stands as a beloved favourite within the sneakerhead community, embodying both innovative design and cultural significance.

AIR MAX 270, 2018

In 2018, Nike revisited its early 90s design ethos, seeking inspiration to drive forward-thinking concepts that catered to the burgeoning interest in lifestyle sneakers. The outcome? The Nike Air Max 270 - a retro-futuristic sneaker that seamlessly blends nostalgia with innovation, capturing the attention of a new generation of consumers, particularly the brand-savvy Gen Z demographic. With its bold design and innovative features, the Air Max 270 solidified its place as a must-have in the ever-evolving sneaker landscape, bridging the gap between heritage and contemporary style.



Air Max Day, observed annually on March 26th, serves as a commemoration of the illustrious heritage of Air Max, accompanied by the unveiling of new designs or innovations centred around Air technology. This celebration underscores Nike's steadfast dedication to advancing Air Max as a platform, continually refining Air cushioning to meet evolving needs and preferences.

The inception of Air Max Day dates back to 2014 when Nike's team decided to honour the anniversary of the iconic Nike Air Revolution advertisement, which premiered on March 26, 1987, heralding the introduction of the Air Max shoe.

In that inaugural year, Nike's product team chose to release an original colourway of the Air Max 1, featuring a striking Volt accent in the midsole and the inscription "3.26" on the tongue. Leading up to the launch, excitement surged as Air Max enthusiasts worldwide were encouraged to share their stories, experiences, and photos related to their beloved Air Max shoes.

The response was overwhelming, with thousands of individuals from around the globe coming together to celebrate a shoe that had become an integral part of their lives. This collective outpouring of passion and nostalgia underscored a significant realisation for the Nike team: Air Max had transcended its status as merely a footwear line to become a cultural movement in its own right.


Nike's Air Max Golf line has always been a platform for the brand's boldest designs, showcasing everything from faux leopard fur to artificial grass and Realtree-style camo patterns. This penchant for audacious designs sets the Air Max Golf line apart, particularly when compared to other popular models like the Air Jordan 1 Low G, allowing Nike to strike a delicate balance between satisfying sneaker enthusiasts with recreated OG colourways and infusing golf culture references to push the line's boundaries even further.

The resurgence of interest in the Air Max series, spurred by Air Max Day and the return of the iconic '86 big bubble, has brought renewed attention to the Air Max Golf collection. Nike seized this opportunity by revamping the AM1 G to feature the supersized Air Max unit reminiscent of the original pair. Notably, golfing pro Jason Day was spotted sporting the Nike Air Max 90 G shoes during the 2015 tour, solidifying their reputation as one of the top spikeless golf shoes.

Described by Nike as the OG icon with added golf-centric features, the Air Max 90 G combines classic streetwear aesthetics with integrated traction and a waterproof lining, making it ideal for golfing in various conditions. Available in black, white, grey, and green colourways, these shoes received a special edition release for the 2021 Masters tournament.

In 2019, Nike introduced the Air Max 1 Golf shoes, delighting fans with golf-inspired iterations of the beloved Air Max 1 style, including three distinct designs. The grass-camo style stands out as the most unique entry, featuring a turf-like material that mimics the lush green grass of a golf course. 

While the grass-camo and shredded-money versions garnered significant attention, the Air Max 1 Golf line also offers more traditional colourways. Paying homage to Tinker Hatfield's iconic Air Max designs of 1987, these sneakers feature visible air pockets in the midsole, representing a significant milestone in Nike's footwear innovation journey.



Following the successful launch of the "White/Black" colourway for the Nike Air Max 1 '86 OG Golf shoe with gum soles, the Swoosh brand returns with another highly anticipated release, this time showcasing the "Royal Blue" edition.

Scheduled for release on Wednesday, March 27th, just one day after Air Max Day, Nike presents another iconic shoe tailored for golf enthusiasts. Adorned in a classic colour palette of white, hyper royal, pure platinum, and black, this shoe boasts a diverse mix of materials in its construction. Featuring a distinctive four-window design that emphasises cushioning and comfort, the synthetic upper incorporates waterproof properties, ensuring golfers can enjoy their game in any weather condition.

Adding to its allure, the shoe showcases intricate detailing, including "Nike Air" embroidery on the heel and "Nike Golf" branded insoles. Additionally, the outsole is engineered with traction elements tailored for optimal performance on the green. Available for purchase at TRENDYGOLF.COM, this premium offering is priced at £155, promising both style and functionality.


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