Sneakers, Sports Memorabilia & Modern Collectibles

The 5 Best Air Maxes to Buy Now

By Zoë Vanderweide
Find your pair of Air Maxes today. Explore our selection of new Nike sneakers including rare Air Max 1s and other popular Air Max Nike sneakers, all available to buy now on our online Sneaker Shop .

Brief History of the Nike Air Max

In 1987, Nike introduced the revolutionary Air Max 1 - the first Nike shoe to reveal its Air-cushioned sole. Nike entered the 1980s with strong market share, but by mid-decade it was clear that the Nike brand would need bold ideas to retain their edge.

Enter: A radical new design at just the right time, from architect-turned footwear-designer Tinker Hatfield. The rest, as they say, is history.

Nike’s Air technology, developed by NASA engineer Frank Rudy, first debuted nearly a decade prior with the Air Tailwind. Up until this point, however, the performance-enhancing feature had remained hidden. Luckily, this was about to change: Tinker Hatfield had recently visited Paris, where he was inspired by the design of the Centre Georges Pompidou. Applying his architectural background to sneaker design, Hatfield envisioned a shoe that, like the Pompidou, embraced the exposure of its structural elements.

While the renegade design faced some initial resistance, Tinker Hatfield knew he was onto something special. The Nike Air Max 1 was finally released on March 26, 1987, to whirlwind success: proof that the brand was still at the head of the pack in design innovation. Since then, the original Air Max 1 design has spawned numerous hype-worthy collaborations and special editions, not to mention the rest of the classic Nike Air Maxes sneaker series. Read on for our top picks for the best Air Max shoes to buy now.

The Best Nike Air Maxes to Buy Now

1 | Nike Air Max 1 Ducks of a Feather signed by Tinker Hatfield 

The Ducks of a Feather NFT project, Flying Formations, created 120 unique digital art pieces serialized by legendary Nike designer Tinker Hatfield. Each NFT comes with a one-of-a-kind Nike Air Max 1, signed and numbered by Hatfield, as a reward to the holder. The University of Oregon-inspired Nike Air Max features various shades of green with multicolor strips on the insoles and Swoosh, and a duck mascot on the tongue pull. The left and right heels display the University of Oregon and classic Nike logos, respectively, making this sneaker a highly coveted collector's item for both sneakerheads and digital art enthusiasts. Serialized 97/120, this limited edition sneaker is a must-have for those looking to add a unique piece to their sneaker collection.

2 | Nike Air Max 1/97 VF Sean Wotherspoon

The Sean Wotherspoon Air Max 1/97s, created by the founder of Round Two and legendary sneakerhead Sean Wotherspoon, were the winning design of Nike's 2017 Vote Forward competition. These highly sought-after Nike Air Maxes feature wavy uppers in yellow, grey, pink, blue, and black corduroy, inspired by Wotherspoon's two favorite sneakers: the Air Max 1 and Nike Air Max 97. The Air Max 1 sole features an infrared Visible Air Unit, adding to its unique design. Released in 2018 for Air Max Day, the crashing wave logo patches on the tongues of these sneakers add the finishing touch. These Sean Wotherspoon Air Maxes are a must-have for any sneaker collector or enthusiast looking for a stylish addition to their sneaker collection.

3 | Nike Air Max 90 Off-White Desert Ore

These Nike Air Max 90s, a popular sneaker collaboration between Virgil Abloh and Nike, was released in 2019 with limited stock. This shoe features a re-designed classic Air Max running shoe in a tan colorway made of leather and suede. Visible stitching and exposed foam create a comfortable fit while the Nike Swoosh in bright orange adds a playful element to the design. The midsole has a visible Air unit on the heel for support, and Abloh's signature bold text is on the inner of each shoe, and his emblematic zip-tie is featured in light blue. This iconic Air Max Nike offers the option to dress in brown or orange shoelaces, and both options feature Off-White hallmark "SHOELACES" labeling across.

4 | Nike Air Max 1 Patta Waves Noise Aqua

Step up your sneaker game with the Patta Air Max 1 shoes, a unique collaboration between Nike and Amsterdam's renowned retailer, Patta. These Air Maxes put a fresh spin on the classic Air Max 1 design, featuring a stylish wavy suede mudguard and cream midsole with Nike Air Max cushioning. In the eye-catching ‘Noise Aqua’ colorway, the mudguard and matching suede Swoosh stand out against the silver mesh uppers and white leather overlays. The Patta logo is prominently displayed on the tongue and sockliner, while the heel boasts retro Nike branding and an embroidered mini Swoosh on the toe wrap of the mudguard for a touch of elegance.

5 | Nike Air Max 1 Paris Bespoke

With only 75 pairs in existence — 25 of which were given exclusively to friends and family — the women’s Nike Air Max 1 Paris Bespoke is by far one of the scarcest and most coveted sneakers released in 2017. Created using Nike’s premium Bespoke customization service, this style was inspired by Parisian architecture, culture, and fashion. The style’s upper is constructed with a mix of high-quality materials including gray suedes, snakeskin-embossed leather, and perforated leather. The Air Max design also features a pink Swoosh, lavender liner, and a gum rubber outsole for durability and comfort. Metallic gold dubres and “Paris” embroidery at the heel add luxurious details to this unique sneaker. It comes packaged with a metal hangtag and lace aglets, making this Air Max Nike a must-have for sneaker collectors and fashion enthusiasts alike.

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