Detailed Look at the Upcoming Concepts x Nike Air Max 1

March 08, 2022 by Joey Birch

Detailed Look at the Upcoming Concepts x Nike Air Max 1

2022 celebrates the 35th Anniversary of the Nike Air Max 1. Designed by Tinker Hatfield, the AM1 stands as a focal point in the history of sneaker design and culture as we know it giving way to what is now deemed as one of the greatest lineages of all time. 

Inspired by The Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Air Max 1 was the canvas Hatfield used for this idea of showing the inner workings of a sneaker, telling a story of the construction and subverting technology at the time. Initially met with negative feedback, the Air Max 1 has since become one of the most beloved sneakers in history. 

To celebrate the anniversary of the shoe that brought us the visible Air Unit, Concepts are releasing three colourways of the acclaimed silhouette, featuring a magnitude of details, each unique from the other. 

With Concepts opening their first store in 1996, founder Tarek Hassan has stayed true to the Concepts ethos, drawing the lines that connect skate, street and fashion. Since its inception, the Boston based sneaker and streetwear retailer has done several collaborations with the likes of Asics on the Gel Lyte 3, New Balance with the 999 and most notably Nike creating projects including the grail level Lobster SB Dunks in 2018. 

While one of Concepts' biggest niche points is their in-store experience, the effects of the recent pandemic didn’t slow the brand down, with the upcoming collaboration with Nike set to be one of the best they’ve done yet. 

Titled “Message to the Universe” the three pair collection is Inspired by the music festival scene in the ‘60s; utilising the vibrancy of the colours, materials and sounds of the era. A muse that is rarely seen when it comes to sneaker design.

While each of the three colourways differs from each other, there are common features seen throughout. The most notable of which is the use of denim on the toebox and foot arch panels of all three iterations, inspired by the jeans the festival goes would wear, the denim is made to be worn and evolve with each wear - as is the sneaker. 

In contrast to the light wash denim, paisley panels in varying colours and designs are found around the heel and toe panels of two of the upcoming pairs as a nod to the guitar straps the artists would wear at the festivals. In addition, each pair comes with a small guitar pick hangtag as a further detail showing the inspiration behind the sneakers as well as the era as a whole.

The third major detail seen on the upcoming Concepts Air Max 1, and carried over onto the eclectic shoebox design, is flowers. Reminiscent of the slogan ‘Flower Power’ which Hippies in the ‘60s would describe themselves as, the flower design can be found stitched on the medial Swoosh of each of the sneakers as well as the Swoosh on the black Nike shoebox. 

While there are many obvious details on each pair of the AM1s, there are still many more that are slowly being found in leaked imagery leading up to the release of the trio including cow print hits on the upper, velvet material used on the tongue as well as smaller details stitched into the toebox. 

A final additional feature that ties the sneakers design and inspiration together, is the mud splatter found on the midsole of each shoe. Representing the unpredictability of weather at the festivals in the ‘60s with the likes of Glastonbury, the faux mud splatter on the midsole goes further to promote wearing the sneaker and experiencing how its materials and colours develop over time. 

Much like Concepts' in-store ethos, their upcoming collaboration on the Air Max 1 provides an experience and exceeds their name ‘Concepts’ by providing a story with each of the three colourways. 

Set to release in the UK & EU later in March, the Concepts x Nike Air Max 1 may be set to go down as one of the best collaborations of all time.

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