KELLER X FOLLOWS FUNCTION
KELLER X FOLLOWS FUNCTION

NIKE AIR TECHNOLOGY

WELCOME TO THE FUTURE
From Air Max 90 to Air Max 2090: We take a look behind the scenes of the revolutionary Nike Air technology. Find out everything about its creation and function; Past, present and future of air cushion technology.

THE WALK ON AIR

Nike Air is one of the most successful cushioning technologies for running and lifestyle shoes - and has been since 1979. The Air element is filled with compressed air. It provides flexibility, bounce and support with every step.
THE AIR CUSHION
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MORE ENERGY
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THE IDEA
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FROM AIR TO SOLE

A visit to the Nike production halls in Beaverton, Oregan.

FROM AIR TO SOLE

HOW NIKE REVOLUTIONIZED RUNNING COMFORT

In 1977 the idea of ​​processing air in the soles of shoes reached the Nike headquarters of Beaverton, Oregon for the first time. Today it is probably the most traditional part of the Nike technology range. It all started with the vision of a NASA space engineer who saw air as the key to a completely new feeling of running ...

THE FIRST WALK ON AIR

Marion "Frank" Rudy had the vision of filling air in chambers and placing these chambers under the foot. So they should imitate the movement of the lungs with every step. Inhale. Exhale. Bloat. Contract. This function should make walking easier and prevent injuries at the same time. In 1977 he visited Phil Knight with a prototype and let the Nike co-founder run on his air sole for 15 minutes. The Nike headquarters was a huge incubator for groundbreaking shoe technologies in the 1970s. Rudy's idea also aroused the CEO's joy in experimenting.

A team of experts from designers, athletes, scientists and NASA space engineers developed the first prototype. The Air unit would be combined with conventional foam that was launched on the feet of selected runners in the Honolulu Marathon in 1978. The shoes almost fell apart at the finish line, but the runners agreed: they had never experienced such a feeling - light, bouncy and the energy in the legs was retained for longer. The Nike Air technology was ready for its release: In 1979 the Nike Air Tailwind appeared with the first integrated Air mid sole.

During the production of the mid sole, two polyurethane foils are pressed into the sole form in a thermoforming machine, which are then filled with nitrogen (i.e. not with air). The airtight cushions absorb the impact energy and enable the revolutionary, soft, responsive running feeling already described by the marathon runners.

FEEL THE DIFFERENCE

NEVER ENDING REVOLUTION

It was until 1987 that the Air mid sole made its global breakthrough. Shoe designer Tinker Hatfield not only wanted to make the cushioning revolution felt, but also visible. He was inspired by the Centre George Pompidou in Paris, a building whose architecture did not place normally hidden elements inside, but presented them on the outside.

On March 26, 1987 launched the Nike Air Max 1. For the first time no longer with "encapsulated" Air, but a visible air element. From now on, Nike's goal was to keep reducing the amount of foam in favour of the air. In the Nike Air Max 180 the air cushion was visible for the first time by 180 degrees, at the same time the cushioning was 50 percent more efficient. 2006 the next milestone: All foam layers were removed from the sole. The Air Max 360 finally enabled the complete "Walk on Air".

Today "Air" is not the same as "Air". With numerous technology variants, Nike can integrate the right element into the shoe, depending on the area of ​​application. Zoom Air, for example, is quicker to react and is therefore mainly used in performance running shoes. Incidentally, the name Air Max only has models in which the air is visible.

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MORE THAN JUST AIR
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INFLATED
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BEHIND THE DESIGN
LET'S TALK ABOUT...
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Find out more about design inspiration and the Air collector's scene.
BEHIND THE DESIGN
  • 9BFEE1DF66DFB4E0B4675B2B5F7FC8A9.jpg

    TINKER HATFIELD - DESIGNER

    "As an architect I was quite aware of Renzo Piano's masterful work - the Centre Pompidou. He really turned architecture inside out. That's when I started sketching."

  • 5762485AFCE9029CD24E8835E86E305C.jpg

    LALLA - PARIS

    "I have always said that life is war. And you must dress accordingly. I'm not just a sneaker collector. I'm a sneaker lover."

  • D07482587D679ACA4D7A5A040D06C455.jpg

    DJ WICH - PRAG

    "It started when I was a kid. We grew up under communism without any clothes that I liked. Then in 1990 the Air Max 90s were released."

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DARE TO BE BETTER

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TRANSFORM TRADITION
Discover the Air collection: The new silhouettes are unisex and ready for your life in action.
DISCOVER NOW
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