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  • Writer's pictureOlivier Blanc

Air Max by Nike (Article) The everlasting sport shoe

Updated: Apr 17

Category: Design, Fashion

Contributor: Olivier Blanc

hand going out of a shoe box while holding a classic pair of nike air max

Designer: Tinker Hatfield

Year: 1987

Produced by: Nike


The first model of the everlasting Nike Air Max shoe was very much of a revolution within the footwear industry at the time it was launched and released.


As the feature of a visible air-cushioned unit in the sole had never been made nor designed before then, the aesthetic shoe was truthfully innovative and new.

Its uniqueness lies in two aspects: the visual and the technical.


Visually, from a fashion point of view, the look was modern, stylish and unlike any other sports shoes. From a technical point of view, the characteristics of the air-cushioned and the sole increased shock absorption and provided superior comfort. This innovation came about thanks to Tinker Hatfield's design inspiration from the Pompidou Centre building in Paris (France).


Hand in a glove carefully holding a nike air max shoe

The Pompidou Centre, designed by the architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, is one of the most famous examples of a European postmodern architectural masterpiece. The building boasts an open-air escalator system on its exterior, while the interior, designed with expansive open spaces, features art exhibits. The use of colours and transparency throughout the design creates a sense of energy and dynamism.


The Pompidou Centre was revolutionary, and so was the design of the Nike Air Max. The shoe was lighter but also improved performance for athletes. Its popularity expanded from the sports sphere to extend across the streetwear look embraced by the street-credible youth.

Today, the Nike Air Max legacy lives on as a cultural icon and continues to be reinvented by Nike's updated iterations and collaborations with designers, musicians, and artists.


Below: Pompidou Centre (also called "Beaubourg") in Paris, France.


Photograph credits: Air Max photo 1 by Sébastien Chiron, Air Max photo 2 by Malvestida


Further research:

- "Shoe Dog, A Memoir By The Creator Of Nike", by Phil Knight.

- The Pompidou Centre (Beaubourg)


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