The Untold Story
Air Max 1 ‘86
Art Direction
Packaging Design
Graphic Design
The challenge
Add to the buzz as Nike finally released the legendary ‘Big Bubble’ on Air Max Day 2023, 37 years after the bubble first burst on this iconic shoe.
The aim
Inviting street culture opinion formers to Air Max Day in Paris by telling them the untold 'unsuccess story' of the one before the 1 in a captivating way.
The how
Concepting and crafting a limited edition shoebox and accompanying insert to do justice to this epic tale of Nike’s greatest lesson to keep ‘failing forward’.

The exposure of Air to the world is one of Nike’s biggest success stories. But lurking in its shadow is another untold tale – an unsuccess story. Few people know that for the first few months of its release, the Air Max 1 featured a noticeably bigger window. 

So why did the window shrink? Two words. The. Cold.

Manufacturing was underway, the launch date already looming, but the designers discovered to their horror that the newly visible Air unit cracked in frigid temperatures. Adjusting on the fly, they quickly and quietly ‘shrunk the window’ to prevent a complete cracking catastrophe. 

So how do we tell all this in an artistic way that captures the imaginations of attention-poor streetwear influencers?


The lesson from re-embracing a failure from the 1980s is clear: there are no lost causes. Never give up.

No matter how disastrously broken something seems, it can always be fixed, and even improved. It’s that attitude that means we finally have this shoe to put on our feet today.

Thanks to failing forward, we can now wear that legendary lost Air Max from ’86. The one with the big bubble. The one before the 1. 


The exclusive box it arrived in told the tale, wore its scars with pride.

Inspired by kintsugi, the Japanese art and philosophy of repairing with gold; we took something shattered by the cold, the most lost of causes, and turned it into something even more beautiful and meaningful.

An ode to the imperfections and missteps of life, and a cherished memento of a shoe that fell through the cracks.

Using another ancient Japanese technique – paper folding – we put the same craft and attention to detail into telling the story in full. Echoing the kintsugi box design, we created an accompanying ‘cracked’ poster. A similarly covetable and keepable item that revealed The Untold Story of the AM1 ’86, one imperfect, organic unfold at a time.