Air Max 1 vs Air Max 90 [Key Differences Noted]

Written By Sunny

More or less all Nike sneakers are iconic in terms of design, performance, and colorways.

Among these, Air Max is the most beautiful silhouette and the first pair includes lightweight and visible Air Units for superior cushioning.


Hence, it’s quite tricky to make a choice between two editions of Air Max that is 1 & 90. To help you in taking a decision, I’m gonna highlight the diverse features of these stylish pairs.

So, let’s get into it!

What is the Difference Between Air Max 90 and Air Max 1?

As the name implies both Air Max 1 and 90 belong to the same lineage of expensive Nike brands. And so, they have more similarities than differences.

Still, they hold dissimilarities in design, price, fit, and most specifically in history. The very first model of Air Max 1 was designed in 1986 with a larger air unit, which was modified later.

The Air Revolution came to light in 1987 with the debut of the Sport Red and Varity Blue colored Air Max 1.

After some years (in 1990), Air Max 90 appeared in the sneaker field with more cushioning and a bold infrared window. The Infrared shade of this set created a huge craze among sneaker enthusiasts.

For now, the history is covered in brief.

So let’s identify the significant differences between Air Max 1 and Air Max 90.


Just like Nike’s most other series Air Max(AM) is expensive too. That’s because of Nike’s high profile value, celebrity endorsement, and limited supply strategy.

But while comparing Air Max 1 and 90’s price range, I’ve noticed the AM 90 is somewhat cheaper. Men’s Air Max 90 retails between $130 to $140.


On the other hand, Air Max 1’s male version pricing starts from $150. The price is so close, right? It is obvious because both of them fall under the same line.


If you check the outlook of two sneakers, you’ll see identical swoosh logos on the interior, tongue, and heel area. Analogous windows near the sole. And it’s hard to find any contrast.

Give a pause and take a closer look again.


Then, you will realize that AM 90 is chunkier. It has an additional panel for adding color around the air units. Another strip conceals most part of the swoosh logo, which is attached on each side.

Moreover, several random patterns at the bottom are visible from the outer side of this footwear, which is not seen in Air Max 1. Apart from these minor differences, all other things such as tongue shape, laces, collar, and heel height are similar.

Sole & Comfort

The midsole of Air Max 90 carries a relatively bigger Air unit. This benefits the users with extra cushion. As a result, the majority of consumers feel more comfortable in the 90s rather than AM 1.

AM 1 have also lightweight Air bags, but it is comparatively smaller. Its simple midsole comes with two tiny grooves. Besides, two parallel straight lines are seen across the midsole.

Coming to the outsole, the Air Max 90 and 1 have separate patterns and grooves. The 90s have durable rubber waffle outsole.

Though this structure builds up fair traction none of them are completely non-slip. To get more information on this topic, check out Are Air Max Nonslip Shoes?


Air Max 90 not only gives a bulky look from the outside, but also it’s pretty spacious on the inside. Consequently, this comfortable set suits nicely to wide and flat feet.

On the contrary, Air Max 1 is ideal for people with normal feet. If your feet are slightly narrow, you better opt for a half-size smaller pair.

However, if you unexpectedly get a loose pair and no exchange option is left make your shoes smaller and enjoy the perfect fit.

So, I have got you covered in the field of dissimilarities between two prime Air Max models.

Being made by Nike they inherit identical materials like leather, suede, nubuck, breathable mesh, and synthetics. Therefore, longevity and performance are also equivalent in both gems. So, which one to get for yourself?

Jump to the next section and get a suggestion about making a choice.

Pros & Cons of Nike Air Max 1 & 90

As I’m not aware of your specified requirements, it’s tough to recommend you only one. So, I’ll note the pros and cons of both shoes. Then you will be able to grab a suitable piece for yourself.

Nike Air Max 1

  • »A stylish pair with remarkable versatility.
  • »Filled with apparent Air Units for comfort and lightweight.
  • »Comes with a full-length foam midsole.
  • »The traction level is ideal for golf and walking.
  • »Existing color variations give an ageless look.
  • »Includes water-resistant feature.
  • »Durable for up to years.
  • »The waterproofing feature is absent.
  • »Isn’t non-slip.
  • »Color options are limited.

Nike Air Max 90

  • »Exposed Air cushioning underneath the feet.
  • »The low-cut collar design offers a great look.
  • »Excellent for short-distance running.
  • »Multiple ranges of bold colorways.
  • »Good for wide feet.
  • »Long-lasting and flexible.
  • »Comparatively heavier and looks chunky.
  • »Inappropriate on rugged terrain.
  • »Improper for narrow feet.

Air Max 1 vs 90: Which One to Pick?

If your requirements include a broad space of toe box, color varieties, and do not have issues with the bulkier appearance of the footwear go for Air Max 90. This streetwear shows a decent performance while traveling except for the rough surface.

Air Max 1’s overall service is also similar to the previous set. The exception is in the fit and available shades. It serves best for ideal feet and when you get satisfied with solid colors.

Surely it depends on your personal preferences that which one you’re gonna buy. Even though I’ve shared my expert opinion thus, you can make a decision earlier.


Does Nike Still Make Air Max 1?

Yes, AM1 is still in production to meet its customers’ demands. Though its making was paused for some years, recently this popular footwear has released again.

Do Air Max 1 and 90 Fit the Same?

Air Max 1 and 90 fit similarly along with the length. But when it comes to toe box structure AM 90 is sort of wider.

How Long Do Air Max 1s Last?

Air Max 1 easily lasts up to 1 to 3 years even if you use them on regular basis. But proper cleaning is essential to retain its quality for years.

Closing Thoughts

So, the analysis of Air Max 1 and Air Max 90 has come to an end. And I guess you’ve already made up your mind about which one to purchase.

No matter which one you choose, you will obviously get a durable pair with an elegant look.

For now, let’s pair up with Nike Air Max and make each step enjoyable.

If you’ve further queries regarding any kinda footgear, drop them in the comment below.

About The Author
Sunny is all about action and activities. He finds it difficult to contain himself. Be it motorcycling, playing football, or exploring the great outdoors, he loves to keep his legs busy.Sunny quickly realized the importance of footwear to keep himself going healthily. This was when he decided to share all his knowledge and expertise regarding different footwear and their significance.Now, he’s on a mission with this humble platform by his side. With time he plans on doing bigger and better things.Apart from his writing and other hobbies, he loves spending time with his cat Sophie. He loves to cook for his friends and family too.

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