Nike to Bring Back the Air Max 1 ‘Big Bubble’

January 20, 2023 by Joey Birch

Nike to Bring Back the Air Max 1 ‘Big Bubble’

Almost like clockwork, the start of the year feels like a time which Air Max fans can revel in as Nike slowly build up towards the annual Air Max Day on the 26th of March promising new silhouettes, and renditions of old favourites as well as celebrating the anniversaries of fan favourites. 

2023 is no different. However, despite being halfway through January with Air Max Day beginning to come into focus in the distance, we’re still somewhat left in the dark as to what we can expect to see from the Swoosh. With 2022 marking 35 years of the Air Max 1, it was fairly easy to assume that a retro of the OG model or collaboration would ensue. This prediction came true in the form of a myriad of projects kicked off by Concepts and followed up by Nike with three Geo-specific variations of the AM1. 

However, at the time of writing, we are yet to see a clear vision from Nike as to the trajectory of the Air Max lineage in 2023, at least with regards to the Air Max anniversaries for silhouettes including the AM93. 

Nevertheless, one release we can expect to see is the return of the OG Air Max 1 ‘Big Bubble’. It’s important to note that this is not the same as the Air Max 1 which was released in 1987; the sneaker that was able to kickstart the illustrious lineage, it is in fact the prototype that Tinker Hatfield made prior to the release of the original that never officially was sold.

At first glance, the regular AM1 and its ‘Big Bubble’ variant don’t appear to be much different from each other. However, there are subtle details such as a 4 holed Air Unit as opposed to a usual 3 holed one found in the original. As a result of the larger Air Unit, the midsole also appears to be slightly wider to accommodate it. 

The importance of the return of the 1986 version of the Air Max 1 is a huge matter. In an episode of SNKRS Live in which Air Max Product Line Manager, Jamie Paige, and Footwear Designer, Jon Kosenick spoke about the upcoming release, Paige highlights this point by saying: “Having an Air Unit in a shoe, number one, was crazy. Number two, making it visible is impossible, and the team back then did the impossible”. 

At the time the sneaker was due to get released, Nike found that in areas where it was significantly cold, parts of the larger Air Unit would crack. As a result, Nike was forced to take pairs off the shelves and switch them with the smaller Air Unit variant which fans have since become accustomed to. 

However, the issues that were previously being faced appear to have been resolved. Later in the SNKRS Live episode, Paige explains: “All the issues that occurred originally, we’ve been able to work through…through about three years of work, we found out, yeah, it is possible”

Thus far, it has been suggested that the OG ‘University Red’ colourway of the AM1 will be arriving at some stage in 2023. Official images are yet to be released, however, when viewing the SNKRS Live footage, fans of the silhouette can expect to see the retro they’re hoping for following the last OG AM1 retro on Air Max Day in 2017.  

However, further colourways have also been alluded to both within the SNKRS Live episode as well as being reported by Complex suggesting an ‘Early Sketch’ variant of the Air Max 1 will be releasing in the Summer of 2023 as well as the second original colourway, the ‘University Blue’, slated to appear in 2024.

Promising to bring back the same construction and functionality from their 1986 model, Nike’s upcoming Air Max 1 is certainly one to look out for as the brand further explores its archive. 

For the latest on the Nike Air Max, including the possible return of the OG AM180, keep it Kick Game