Sometimes inspirations and themes used on projects can generate some sort of educational experience as well. Though I knew the Japanese can cook up a mean Air Max 1, I never heard of the Red Diamonds before the Urawa’s. The shoes paid homage to the successful J League Division 1 football club from Saitama, translating the Red Diamonds home kit to the classic Air Max 1 silhouette. Aside from the powerful colorway and winning combination of material choice, two other details stood out for me. The Urawa’s are one of few pairs not bearing the customary Nike Air logo on the back of the heel, and they look excellent with either black, white or yellow laces. Both of these distinctive attributes served as an influence on the Air Max 1 projects we have worked on.
In celebration of Patta’s 5 year anniversary, Nike offered us the opportunity to create a collection of Air Max 1’s. The Tier Zero “Lucky Greens” as some people call them, are my favorite of the bunch. Looking back at our favorite Air Max 1’s from the past, we combined the stand out details that we like, such as mini Swooshes and gum soles, and aimed to blend that with something fresh, yet timeless. We went with sturdy canvas and ballistic nylon, inspired by luggage. Like many Patta products, we often throw something Dutch in the mix, in this case a sockliner design featuring artwork based on the old Dutch currency, the beloved 5 Guilder coin. Black and green are also the signature Patta colors.
Following up on the Air Max 1 is not an easy task, but the Air Max Light (or Air Max II) did a great job at expanding upon the signature design of it’s older sibling. As the name already suggests, the shoes were lighter than their predecessor, shaving off some weight in certain areas, utilizing EVA foam in the forefoot area and keeping the laces in place with thermoplastic eyestays which would return on the Air Max 90. The fact that the Air Max Light didn’t reach the insane Air Max 1 level popularity only made them that much more desirable among sneaker devotees in search of the obscure and underrated.