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Nike Air Max 1 ‘86 “Big Bubble”: Sneaker Release Date, Price, Where To Buy

Andy Silva breaks down the details for the Nike Air Max 1 ‘86 “Big Bubble” set for release on Sunday, March 26.

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Air Max Day is Sunday and Nike is celebrating in a BIG way, figuratively and literally. That is because it is delivering the Nike Air Max 1 ‘86 “Big Bubble” on Air Max Day for a retail price of $150.

Last year, I wrote about the Air Max 1 and Air Max Day and their importance to Nike. It’s not a stretch to say that the Air Max 1 is a top five shoe in terms of importance to the Swoosh. This shoe introduced the concept of visual air, and despite being a staple of the brand and an icon today it was an idea that was not well-received at the time and almost cost the GOAT Tinker Hatfield his job (imagine how much different sneaker history would be if Tinker’s Nike career was nipped in the bud before it even really began).

The history of this iconic silhouette begins with a trip to Paris for Tinker. He was inspired by the Centre Pompidou, noted for its “inside out” design. That was the inspiration for Tinker to make a bold suggestion — showcase the company’s Air technology by making it visible for all to see. Despite some initial misgivings within the company, the rest is history and the shoe is one of the most important of all-time.

However, the shoe most think of when they think of the Air Max 1 was not the first version. The shoe was actually initially released in small quantities with a larger Air bubble with four columns rather than the three columns we’ve grown to know and love. The reason we’ve become familiar with the smaller Air bubble is because Nike had to quickly pivot to the smaller bubble mid-production because the larger Air bubble was seeing an issue of cracking in colder temps. Thus, it became an almost mythical grail for some due to the limited number of pairs which made it out into the wild with that larger Air bubble. Nike got Tinker himself to sit down and talk about this history recently.

Now, in 2023, Nike has circled back around and found a way to make the larger Air bubble work. Nike notes on SNKRS that they used CT scans to replicate the Air unit and window used in the ‘86 original. A result of that larger bubble is that the midsole on the Big Bubble is slightly different than the Air Max 1 we’re more familiar with. I think this tweet illustrates the differences quite well, comparing the Big Bubble to the 2017 anniversary edition of the Air Max 1:

The Big Bubble comes in the classic white/grey/red color blocking that we all know and love. As you can see above, in addition to the slightly different midsole, the shape of the upper is also slightly modified. Additionally, the size is printed on the interior lining as was largely the case in Nike shoes of that era.

The shoes had a shock drop following a SNKRS Live event last week, which would seem to indicate a decent production run. The shoe in men’s sizing currently has an average sale price of $219 on StockX, which represents a 33% price premium, while the women’s version is currently selling for an average price of $193, which represents a 10% price premium. The aforementioned 2017 anniversary edition is currently selling for an average sale price of $388 (191% price premium) and a previous Air Max Day release, the Air Max 1 Air Max Day 3.26 released in 2014, currently has an average sale price of $678 (220% price premium).

This shoe is a part of sneaker history. As such, I think this is a must-own for many sneakerheads, so this should be a popular drop. Best of luck to all who are going for this legendary shoe!

Nike Air Max 1 ‘86 “Big Bubble” Release Details

Sneaker Release Date Retail Price
Sneaker Release Date Retail Price
Nike Air Max 1 '86 Original Big Bubble Mar. 26 $150
Women's Nike Air Max 1 '86 Original Big Bubble Mar. 26 $150

To see more of this month’s releases, check out our release date calendar.