Let's be clear, sneaker culture and history begins here: the Air Max 1 'Big Bubble'.
The holy grail of sneaker lore returns along with the true story of visible Nike Air. Using CT scans (yes, really) to dissect 1 of maybe only 400,000 released pairs of the 'Big Bubble', we replicated the Nike Air unit and window used in the '86 original, so you can step on the bedrock of sneaker history. And don't worry, you still get the throwback colour-blocking.
Hiding in the shadows of one of Nike's biggest stories (that of revealing Nike Air to the world) is the fact that for the first few months of its release, the Air Max 1 featured a noticeably bigger window. So, like, why did the window shrink? With a launch date in place and manufacturing already started, Nike engineers (to their dismay) discovered that an exposed Air unit had a tendency to crack in cold temperatures. Adjusting on the fly, engineers quietly "shrunk the window both in length and height" and began using a new Air unit to prevent the great cracking catastrophe.
Released on 26 March 1987, the ultra-rare Air Max 'Big Bubble' hit the shelves and thankfully didn't burst (probably because of the rising spring temps). After the initial run, the Air Max 1 as we know it secretly replaced the original, taking hold as the leader of the Air Max pack. And the 'Big Bubble'? It faded away—until now. Welcome to the beginning.