pastel Nike Air Max 1

Sneaker pimps // The history of Nike Air Max AKA our all-time trainer hero *swooshy swoon*

We quite like are obsessed with the 90s here at Le Blow. And we’re also pretty partial to a pair of pimped-up kicks.

So it probably comes as no surprise to learn that, if we had to choose our all-time favourite type of trainer (or make that ‘style of sneaker’ for our US readers – yeah, we can speak American), then it would undoubtedly be *drum roll*


And more specifically, Nike Air Max 90s. Innit.

Nike-Sneaker-Illustrations-by-Jack-StockerImage: Jack Stocker

The Air Max 90 has become quite the icon since it’s debut in, er, 1990. It was the second running shoe created by architect-turned-trainer-designer (sure) Tinker Hatfield, displaying it’s air bags for all and sundry to see (a bit like the Le Blow gals on a night out).

Join us as we take a cheeky little look at the Nike Air Max 90: past, present and future *cue spooky 70s sci-fi music*


Nike invented its Air Cushioning Technology in 1979. By plonking air bags in the mid-soles of its running shoes, it changed the way athletes performed FOREVS.

Nike Air Max history chart

In June of 1981 a fresh-faced architecture graduate joined Team Nike, as (funnily enough) an architect. And what of it? No one outside of Nike would ever see his work, right? WRONG!

That architect’s name was Tinker Hatfield, and when Nike sprinkled him with magic dust, he became SUPER TINKER! Er no, wait.

When Nike asked him to try his hand at trainer design in 1985, NOTHING WOULD EVER BE THE SAME AGAIN. He single-handedly changed the aesthetic of sneaker stylin’, and the design process, too…

Tinker Hatfield designing Nike Air Max

Fast forward to 1987. Prior to Tinker’s tinkering, the air unit (to be said hippity-hop style, like G-Unit!) in the swoosh brand’s sneaker soles was always concealed.

Then Tinker saw this fugly building: the Centre Pompidou in Paris…

George Pompidou Centre in Paris isnpired Nike Air Max trainers

Inspired by the skeletal structure, with its “guts spilling out” – you can see everything inside, from the escalators to the people – he came up with the idea of exposing the air unit, and after much debate at Nike HQ, (“Why don’t we just cut a big hole in the midsole?”), this happened…

Nike Air Max 1

Nike Air Max 1: A historyReleased: 1987

Followed three years later by this:

Nike Air Max III (Nike Air Max 90)


Released: 1990

Note: Originally known as the Air Max III in the 90s, but became the Air Max 90 from 2000 onwards, fact fans…


This is obviously not an all-encompassing history of the Nike Air Max – we’d be here all bloody day! So here’s a few notable Nike Air Max collabs that have caught our eye – a smörgåsbord of stylish sneakers, if you will.

For more Nike Air Max trainer porn, check out the Le Blow Nike Air Max Pinterest board.

Liberty x Nike

Liberty x Nike Air Max 1 Pepper

Nike x Liberty Air Max 1 Volt

We’re in love with the Nike x Liberty collabs and have written about them here and here.

Nike Air Max Safari pack

Nike Air Max 1 Safari PackLeopard print AND Nike Air Max? WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE?!

The return of the Nike Air Max 90 Infrared (re-release)

Primitive Shoes Nike Air Max sexy shoot

The original Nike Air Max 90 colourway was re-released in 2010 – and we loved this promotional shoot by Primitive to, er, herald their return.

Nike Air Max Dizzee Rascal

Remember this pair designed by Dizzee Rascal with the words “tongue” on one tongue and “cheek” on the other? TRAINER LOLS.

These pretty pastel Nike Air Max 1s are currently on our SS13 Want List:

pastel Nike Air Max 1


Who knows what exciting new Nike Air Max developments the future may bring? We’re gunning for graphic equalisers style lights in the air cushioning which reflect your emotions, mood ring style. If you’re reading this, Tinker, that idea’s COPYRIGHTED, YEAH? #CALLMEMAYBE

Space sneakers by Ghica Popa

Image: Space sneakers by Ghica Popa

And so, back to our original point. Which was, in case you’ve forgotten with all our inane waffle, that we would without any shadow of doubt vote for the Nike Air Max if there were some kind of Battle of the Trainers.

*cue another dream-like sequence…*

Yup, those cheeky scamps at JD Sports want to know who YOUR all-time trainer hero is. Have your say, and you could only bloody win a pair of the sneaker style you voted for!

To vote for Nike Air Max as your fave (and you will do if you know what’s good for you…) click here.

To shop Nike Air Max, spring over (LOL, do you SEE what we did there?) to JD Sports.

  • Comments

  • avatar
    Sneaker Pimp

    Such a cool post – nice one!

  • avatar

    This was like actual trainer porn. I have to go and… lie down now.

  • avatar
    Nike fan

    It’s all about the Nike Air Max 1 for me. Slighlty slimmer style. Less clunky than the Air Max 90s. Great post.

  • avatar

    This is a topic that is close to my heart… Thank you!

    Exactly where are your contact details though?

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