Nike have pioneered some of the greatest innovations in sneaker design over the years. These innovations require patents, and I have stumbled across a couple of articles on SneakerNews that showcase the original patents of two of Nike’s most successful designs.
The Air Max 1 was the first ever running shoe to utilise the benefits of air cushioning and adapt it successfully into a product. The concept of visible air has been ever present on Nike sneakers since, making this and the AM1 arguably Nike’s most successful piece of design. I love the “original” name of this too.
“Nike Viscoelastic Unit Comprised Of A Resilient Gas Inflated Insert Within A Shock Absorbing Foam Material”.
It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it. Nike Air Bag is a much more befitting term.
As for the Air Foamposite, this too the air bag technology to a whole new level. The design would even by modern terms be described as “out there”, a futuristic looking shoe which can now be referred to as “vintage”. This patent focuses more on exactly how it was possible in 1996 to create such a quirky and unique shaped shoe, such as molding techniques and equipment.
As a design student interested in not just the aesthetic appeal of sneakers, but the technology behind them too; I’m really interested by the information here. The patents may be 25 and 16 years old, but many of the production techniques are identical to those used today. Plus, they’re both sneakers that are currently on sale, brought back with Nike’s recent “Vintage” drive, along with the likes of the Blazer, Dunk and Air Force.