From the Lab: Nike’s Visible Air

The history of Nike‘s visible Air technology dates back almost 30 years and has been used on countless classic sneakers across all levels and sports, helping people to flex all over the world. Think about how many perfect silhouettes have sported this tech. From the Air Max 95 to the Air Max Penny I, it’s been a one-tech wrecking crew for Nike, helping to turn the brand from a floundering group in the mid-80s into a present day juggernaut with no plans for slowing down.

In our second installment of From the Lab, here is the story of the beginnings and innovation in Nike’s visible Air lineup, a phenomenon that officially began on March 26, 1987, but one that actually had roots stretching even farther back.

The Nike Tailwind running shoe was the first to feature Air all the way back in 1978. However, David Forland and two years later Tinker Hatfield pushed the tech further by finding a way to give runners a chance to actually SEE what they were running on. Forland created the prototype by moving the seams from the perimeter of the Air-Soles to the top and bottom, and contrasted the trend, which was seeing the Air-Soles get smaller instead of larger.

“At that exact moment the light bulb turned on,” he says. “I built a new prototype right there on the spot.”

The Nike Air Max 1 debuted it in all of its glory and the rest is history. From the origins to the present day Air Max 2015, take a look here at how the design has improved and changed over the years.

Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney

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Nike Air Max 90 design
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Nike Air Max 180 design
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Nike Air Max 93 design
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Nike Air Max 95 design
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Nike Air Max 97 design
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Nike Air Max Plus design
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Nike Air Max 360 design
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Nike Air Max 2015 design
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