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Air Max 1 x Patta

When Nike first collaborated with Patta in 2006, the creative streetwear brand was only two years old. The duo’s first model – an eye-catching Air Max 90 made with Dutch hip hop publication State Magazine – incorporated the passions of Patta’s founders, Edson Sabajo and Guillaume Schmidt, who are both sneaker fans and record-store enthusiasts. This popular design set the tone for their future as Air Max aficionados, and just three years later, Nike and Patta reconnected to help the latter celebrate its 5th anniversary. To do so, they developed a set of specially designed Nike Air Max 1 x Patta colorways. Having long been associated with Amsterdam’s hip hop subculture, the groundbreaking visible-Air sneaker has always had a special relationship with Patta’s home city, making it the perfect shoe to honor the brand’s achievements. The resulting collection formed the beginning of a beautiful partnership that would go on to produce some of the most highly sought-after Air Max 1s of all time.

The debut Air Max 1 x Patta sneakers are defined by their use of premium materials, blending denim and breathable mesh with fine suede and nubuck in the name of both comfort and style. The earliest two emulate the classic color-blocking of the original AM1, the Purple Denim adding deep purple shading to its mudguard and swooshes, which are made of the titular material, as well as its tongue and heel branding, the former of which features a chunky Patta logo above the familiar Air Max text. The Chlorophyll edition, meanwhile, goes for a pleasant shade of green on the aforementioned elements in contrast with its white midsole, mesh underlayer and smooth gray nubuck overlays. Both colorways were released in limited numbers and are still popular collectibles to this day. The third member of the 5th Anniversary series is no less desirable even though it was made in higher quantities than its peers. Known as Denim Corduroy for how it integrates these textiles into the navy blue overlays of its upper, it is filled with bold tonal variations formed by the juxtaposition of its dusky panels with its green swooshes, purple mesh underlayer and bright red tongue branding.

These three colorways have all remained popular throughout the years, their success paving the way for many more Nike Air Max 1 x Patta collaborations. 2010 delivered two new AM1s, one of which was conceived with the help of Peter Jensen under his popular nickname, Parra. The Dutch designer and artist had already worked with both brands separately, and this showed in their clear synergy and combined creative talent, which brought about one of the most coveted of all Nike x Patta sneakers – the Air Max 1 Patta x Parra Cherrywood. Its asymmetrical features reflect Parra’s abstract style, its bright colors Patta’s bold use of color and its luxurious materials Nike’s penchant for fine signature details. A rich shade of burgundy coats its suede and chenille upper, while special Parra branding adorns the furry tongue label, and the insole is decorated with a unique Patta x Parra graphic that subtly incorporates a Nike swoosh. The other Patta x Nike release from 2010 is a dapper black and white version nicknamed Lucky Green after the vivid tone that brightens up its heel and tongue branding, the TPU eyelets in the front of the collar and its Air Max unit. Like its peers, it also makes use of high-quality materials, this time via a black ballistic mesh overlaid with canvas panels in the same tone and white textile swooshes.

Over the next decade, Nike and Patta continued to work together, but it wasn’t until 2021 that they came back to the Air Max 1 silhouette. This time, they gave it a whole new look, developing four colorways with a distinctive wavy edged mudguard. Their release was accompanied by a series of short films entitled The Wave, which were made to celebrate the relationship between Patta and the Air Max community, as well as the brand’s influence on fashion and culture. Directed by multi-disciplinary artist and filmmaker Mahaneela, with creative input from Oscar-winning film director Steve McQueen and cameos from rappers Little Simz and Skepta, the series delves into notions of community and creativity as seen through the lens of young and aspiring creatives in the realms of art, music and sport, who Nike and Patta hope to empower with their work. In the films, the Nike Air Max 1 x Patta Waves acts as a symbol for the ebb and flow of the story with its rippling mudguard. The Monarch colorway features throughout, its orange suede swooshes and wave-pattern mudguard standing out against the white leather and gray mesh that covers the rest of its upper. The Noise Aqua edition has similar color-blocking, only with blue instead of orange, and includes the same artfully embroidered mini swoosh on the lateral forefoot and characteristic Patta branding on the tongue and insole. The other two colorways in the set also come with these elements but extend the particular coloration of the mudguard to the quarter overlays as well. The Rush Maroon contrasts its titular hue with a metallic silver mesh and orange elements on the inner and uppermost eyelets, while the Black colorway’s matte black leather overlays are set against its bright white branding effects.

So compelling was the Air Max 1 x Patta Waves that the brands decided to expand the collection in 2022 by bringing out two more colorways. Continuing the theme from the previous year, this new set was entitled The Next Wave and was inspired by the African-American proverb “Each one teach one”. In a powerful embodiment of this phrase, the Patta Academy set up a mentorship exchange event at Nike’s SHAPA Soweto sports facility in Johannesburg to connect with and elevate its community by offering opportunities to talented young Africans. The Next Wave started with the release of the Dark Russet colorway – an eye-catching edition covered in copper-colored leather overlays upon a silver mesh, with pink and blue highlights and the same mini swoosh and wavy edged mudguard that characterized 2021’s designs. Its follow-up is the White colorway, which brings together a range of white and gray tones across its mesh and leather upper, before its all-white outsole and retro-looking off-white midsole complete its elegant look.

The Nike x Patta collaboration has now been going for more than 15 years. During this time the brands have grown together, forming a strong bond that has produced some remarkably unique sneakers. Their stunning collection of Air Max 1s represents some of their best work and reflects the commitment both have to their craft and to the global fanbases they each support. Their collaborative colorways have not only tapped into the creative mindset of artists, designers, musicians and other entrepreneurial individuals all over the world, they have also transcended shoe design to tell a deeper story about culture and community that gives each Nike Air Max 1 x Patta sneaker its own timeless quality.

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