Air Max 1 vs Air Max 90 (Side by Side Comparison)

Air Max 1 vs Air Max 90 (Side by Side Comparison)

Talking about shoes and their brands brings one name right across your mind: Nike. Nike shoes are always trustworthy. The Air Max model earned a fanbase among so many different sneakers of Nike. The most discussed Air Max series is the Air Max 1 and 90. We decided to participate in the discussion, and here’s what we found about Air Max 1 vs Air Max 90.

We have also presented a quick comparison table showing the differences side by side which you will find at the end of the article.

Air Max 1 vs Air Max 90 (Main Differences)

In this part of our article, I will elaborate on the differences between Nike Air Max 1 and Air Max 90 in terms of their features. Let’s start.


Going all the way back to 1987, the first Air Max 1 came out. The issue created a lot of controversies back then. Most people think that Air Max 1 was Nike’s first pair of sneakers with an air unit. But a model named tailwind came out in 1979. The basic structure idea actually came from there. 

The tailwind couldn’t create much of a buzz because the air unit in that pair of sneakers wasn’t visible. So Tinker came out with the idea of showing the air unit on the side of the shoe in the Air Max model. This one particular idea did change the game. 

Material Quality

If you put both sneakers side by side, you will see the same suede nubuck-type material in the front. The same goes for the end of your mesh too. You will get to see the same kind of material in the toe area and the lace area for both models. There is some additional plastic material of a different color in the Air Max 90. 

The inside of Air Max 1 is mainly built with a cotton mesh and fiber. The paddings on the inside of an Air Max 1 are thicker, providing better cushioning for the feet. 

Air Max 1 vs Air Max 90 (Side by Side Comparison)
Air Max 1 | Air Max 90

The Air Max 90 is a little heavier shoe. It has more plastic use in it. However, the paddings on the inside of this pair are pretty lighter to keep the shoe’s weight as low as possible. 

The outer layer of both the shoes is made of leather, foam, and a synthetic blend.

You can also check our article on the differences between Air Force 1 and Jordan 1.

Now we will discuss the next point of difference between Nike Air Max 1 and Air Max 90.


Talking about the outsole, both are almost similar. You will see some shape differences in the pattern, shape, and flow. However, both the shoes provide a similar grip, which is fantastic. The grip performs excellently on muddy and slippery grounds.

Coming to the midsole, the Air Max 90 has some additional color added in the middle housing the air unit, mirroring the lace area. On Air Max 1, you have two tiny grooves on the front and end of the foot. You will also get to see two indented lines that go all the way around the midsole.

On the other hand, on the Air Max 90, you will have one entirely smooth midsole. The indented lines are housing the air unit. 

Air Max 1 vs Air Max 90 (Side by Side Comparison)

The air units on both the shoes look identical. But the air unit bubble in the Air Max 90 is a lot bigger than the Air Max 1.

You can also check our article on Air Max 97 vs 95.


 Air Max 1 looks a little lighter. The Air Max 90 looks bulkier. 

There is a difference in the color play, and the profile of the shoesThe Air Max 1 is plainer when it comes to color-coding. You will see more colors in the Air Max 90. The Air Max 90 has different colors on the crease. There is a popping mudguard on the side.

The swoosh line is higher in the Air Max 90.

The Nike logo is more distinguishable in the Air Max 1. Air Max 90 has used more infrared colors than Air Max 1. The Air Max 90 is a few centimeters higher than the Air Max 1.

Air Max 1 vs Air Max 90 (Side by Side Comparison)
Air Max 1 | Air Max 90

If interested, please check our article on the differences between Nike Air Force 1 and Court Vision.

Air Max 1 vs Air Max 90 in Comfort

The insole of both the sneakers has a very soft lining. The material is exceptionally breathable. So you can wear both of them in hot and humid weather. The larger air bubble in the Air Max 90 makes the walking experience more fun and easy. 

Talking about the peoples’ opinion, it seems to be people like the basic and iconic model of the Air Max series, the Air Max 1 more. If we think about the percentage, more people find the Air Max 1 comfortable than the 90.


Both the sneakers are worth every buck you spend behind them. All the Nike shoes got a reputation for their longevity. Talking about the Air Max series, the Air Max 90 looks more rigid than the 1. 

But the outer layer of the Air Max 90 is a little softer than the other. The softer material is used to provide more comfort and keep it light. So there is a slight probability that the Air Max 90 will wear out a sooner than the 1. 

You might want to read our article on the differences between Nike Air Force 1 vs 07.


The Air Max 1 is true to size. You can get the regular size you wear. It will fit you perfectly. The paddings will provide you with enough support during the breaking time. Thin socks will do just fine with it. This makes a great summer shoe. 

As we know, the Air Max 90 is a little bit bulkier. So this model is an excellent fit for those people with a broader feet. But that does not mean you need to size down if you have a narrow foot. The length of Air Max 90 is true to size. But if you often struggle because of your wider foot, consider getting a pair of Air Max 90 instead of the Air Max 1.

You can also check our related article on Air Max 270 vs Ultra Boost.

Breaking in Time

Both the shoes are made of the same kind of material. The soft building materials barely take any time break-in. But the Air Max 1 fits a little tighter than the 90. It contains heavy paddings and cushioning on the inside. So the Air Max 1 may take a day or two fit perfectly with your feet. 

Air max 1 & 90 breaking time
Air Max 1 & Air Max 90

The Air Max 90 is a wider shoe on the inside with thinner paddings. This will hardly take any time to break if you have a standard or narrow foot. It might take a day or two to get set if you have a wider foot.

If interested, you can read our article on Nike Air Max 90 vs 95

Air Max 1 vs Air Max 90 (Comparison Table)

Feature Air Max 1Air Max 90 
Material Quality Mostly leather, cotton, and fiber High-quality leather and synthetic blend, cotton and fiber; Small touch of plastic
Sole One color, smaller air bubbleDual color, larger air bubble 
Design Plain and light Color popping and gives a bulky vibe
Comfort Very comfortable, preferred by most peopleComfortable for walking 
Longevity Very durable Durable 
Size True to Size True to size, perfect fit for the broad foot 
Breaking Time 1-2 daysBarely any
Air Max 1 vs Air Max 90

You can also check our article on Air Max Excee vs Air Max 90.

Maintainance of the Air Max

Maintaining a summer shoe can get a bit tricky. But not that much if you know the proper way. If you want your favorite pair of Air Max to last for longer, you need to do some maintenance work. 

In order to keep it clean and odor-free, put it in an airy and open place. Wear it with fresh socks every day. 

The cotton mesh on the ankle part tends to get dirty quickly. In order to avoid staining, wash it with cold water and dry it using normal airflow. Direct sunlight can cause some deformation to the shape. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the difference between Air Max 1 and 90?

The Air Max 90 is more like the big brother version of Air Max 1. Look wise; both of them are almost identical. But the Air Max 90 is a bit fluffier than the other. 

2. Do Air Max 90 and 1 fit the same?

The Air Max 90 fits a bit wider than the Air Max 1. Lengthwise it fits the same.  

3. Does Nike still have the production of Air Max 1?

Yes, Nike still have the production of Air Max 1. This is the most popular model of the entire series. 

4. What was the time when the Air Max 1 was released?

Air Max 1 is the first model of the Air Max series. It was released in 1987 and still going hot. 

Final Thoughts

The Air Max series was a game-changer shoe back in the 1990s. The idea of air units in the sneakers kept getting popular over time. The retro look, the comfort, and rigidity made the series shine, and it is still equally famous. People nowadays still root for the good old classic Air Max 1 model even after 30 years. So if you are thinking of getting yourself one, do not hesitate. You will not regret your decision. 

2 thoughts on “Air Max 1 vs Air Max 90 (Side by Side Comparison)”

  1. I love them both but I gotta say that the Airmax one fits better than the air max 90 white one foot is a little thicker and wider than the other because of constant swelling due to a bone that was broken healed the wrong way so yes the Airmax one fits so much better that way and you can’t tell that my 1 foot is different from the other but you can’t with the air max 90 you look at me wearing the shoes and the one she looks a little wider on the top because of my foot well that’s all I gotta say I love Nike I think they are the best show on earth and I wish I could afford to buy more but life is life I guess I’m getting exclusive Paris is next to impossible because people with bots on their computers Nike says they got a program for that but they don’t I remember one time I had the shoes in my car 10 seconds after they came out and I was already at the pay place and I went to panic says wait a second I didn’t even get a pair that’s happened to me plenty of times so you’re telling me from picking the pair I’m going to pay for them it took me 10 seconds and I didn’t get a pair obviously box it’s pretty sad because I’ve been a loyal customer for 43 years ever since I was born pretty much my parents always bought them for me since I was baby pretty much and have a teenager I bought my own at least five pairs to six pairs a year so I hope they fix this problem thank you I hope you enjoyed my comment


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