AIR MAX MONDAYS: Nike Air Max I / Air Max 87

When you look at a lot of the sneakers in today’s market one can see all the technology and thought that goes into creating them. Nike has been a trail blazer when it has come to sneaker technology and one of the sneakers that they created that is still relevant to this day is the Nike Air Max. When they introduced this Nike Air Max in 1987, it completely changed the way everyone had to look at sneakers. Not only was in one of the most comfortable sneakers on the market, but it was also one of, if not the MOST attractive sneaker out.

The purpose of Sole Theory’s Air Max Mondays is to educate and showcase the great progress that the Nike Air Max has made from 1987 up until this very day. There is no denying the impact that this sneaker has had on the whole footwear culture that goes beyond just sneakers now. We hope by showing people in the sneaker culture how far the Nike Air Max has come from throughout the years they will really start to appreciate it and the impact that it has even up to today.

Name:  Nike Air Max I / Nike Air Max ‘87

Release: 1987

Designer: Tinker Hatfield and developed by Mark Parker


It was in 1979 when Nike first introduced their Air Cushioning Technology to the sneaker world. This technology revolutionized the comfort of sneakers by placing Air Cushioning in the midsoles of the shoe. When one thinks of the comfort levels from an athletic point of view it was a dream come true.

“It was like Nike had reinvented the wheel with this new look and technology on their sneakers.”

Fast forward 8 years later to 1987 and through the brilliant masterminds of Tinker Hatfield and Mark Parker, Nike releases the Nike Air Max I or as others called it the Nike Air Max ’87. All this time people were seeing “Nike Air” on the sneakers, but this sneaker gave the term visual meaning. The sneaker had a visible air bubble in the midsole of the sneaker, which at the time was something that completely changed the sneaker world…FOREVER!


There is no easy way to explain how much of an impact this visible air bubble had on the sneaker world. It was like Nike had reinvented the wheel with this new look and technology on their sneakers. Most people think of a visible air bubble as common place on their sneakers now, but people need to realize that it always wasn’t this way.

Another item that people should really take in is the fact that Tinker Hatfield and Mark Parker were able to design a sneaker that not only looked amazing, but it was just as comfortable as it looked. Almost everyone can say that they have bought a sneaker or shoe just because of how nice they thought it looked, but burned your feet by the end of the day. With the Nike Air Max I you got the best of both worlds and then some.

I can tell you the first time I saw the Nike Air Max I…I was standing in Foot Locker and they displayed them right beside the Nike Air Jordan II…talk about being conflicted! I spent the whole month before this Foot Locker trip negotiating with my parents about all the chores I would do to have the beautiful Air Jordan IIs on my feet. I finally get them to say yes and then Nike does this to me…DAMNIT! I had to have them both, but there was no way I would be crazy enough to ask for them both after the beautiful campaign that I presented to get my Air Jordans.

So, we asked the employee in the store if they had my size in the Air Jordans and said he would go look. Five minutes later he returned and said they didn’t have them in my size. So, instead of being disappointed like most sneakerheads would be I asked about the Nike Air Max I right away and they had it in my size…SCORE!

So let me paint the picture for you…all my friends at school or around the way either had or wanted Air Jordans because it was THE sneaker to have…then in I walk wearing the NEW and NEVER seen before Nike Air Max I with the visible air bubble…*GASP* “What the…? Look at the…! Is that a…? Did they put that in the heel?” LOL…yeah my sneakerhead friends and I still laugh about the day I broke out the mold with those sneakers…and when it came to the Nike Air Max series this was just the beginning!


    First, Red w/ Baby Blue… no contest, SICK KICKS. Second, story is epic, should be filmed n’ posted with narration, slow mo worms eye view of you in the sneakers walking down the hall black and white, cept the shoes, and people just totally losing their s**t. *GASP* “What the…? Look at the…! Is that a…? Did they put that in the heel?”

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About Sole Theory

Sole Theory is a sneaker lifestyle guide that explores the social impact of the sneaker culture. Users can expect to gain insight on recent trends, historic brands and signature styles that have heavily influenced the shoe industry. Content will be driven by articles, interviews and reviews that will uncover interesting facts and stories that have rarely been told.