This year isn't just the 40th anniversary of Nike
— it's the 25th anniversary of the Air Max 1 and Air Trainer; two classics that spawned two of our favourite shoe dynasties. The celebrations for both birthdays have been dignified. Nike set off their birthday year by dropping Flyknit and the AM1 and AT1 have had some treatments (notably an OG Air Trainer and Safari variant of the shoe, bringing in another birthday boy). With all the shape changes, new colourways, concepts, sequels hybrids, Flywire, Zoom editions, First Takes, Fuses, theme packs and limited editions that have dropped since, it was worth looking at the original 1987 marketing materials that ran in several high profile magazines leading up to the Revolution campaign. Aside from bringing the Safari into the mainstream, and just throwing in equally groundbreaking creations like the Air Sock (an underrated dry run for the Flow) there's some great trash talking against other brands like Converse and arch-enemies Reebok and Avia on the subject of cushioning.
We definitely take the significance of that the AM1's launch for granted. It's also frequently forgotten that, beyond McEnroe on the court, triathlete Joanne Ernst and the Raiders' Howie Long were the faces of Cross Training, embodying the diversity of the Air Trainer 1's performance capabilities. The Wieden+Kennedy helmed visual formula for the shoe is classic too. That women's colourway is a classic to rival the more recognizable Chlorophyl edition. In a world where brands are aiming right for the "sneakerhead" market, we miss the fact-heavy, diagram aided, long-form copy creations like this that had us convinced that these were the best shoes ever made back in the day. Has anyone else ever gathered a roster of this stature for a campaign? We're not sure they have. Looking back at these materials, it's clear that Nike's aim was to obliterate the brands eating into their market share with their exercise creations. Footwear's never been better than it was from 1985-1988.