It all started in 1977 when inventor Frank Rudy talked to his friend Phil Knight about his crazy idea: creating a shoe with air bags inside for extra cushioning. The two made a sample pair, and once Mr. Knight came back from his test run, they were off and running in a completely new direction. It took ten years to present the world with the first ever visible air running model with the Nike Air Max 1, and now 30 years later the technology has been an incremental part of the advancement of performance running style.
Tucked inside Nike’s Beaverton, Oregon campus is an elusive facility dedicated to perfecting AIR technology. According to the brand, approximately 1,300 employees work day in and day out to continue what NASA engineer Frank Rudy invented for the brand in the late 1960s. In fact, the AIR sole first appeared on the Tailwind model in 1978 and many developments have been made up until the most recent VaporMax sole.
In the video abiove, entitled “Fresh Air from Oregon,” the intricate manufacturing process behind the VaporMax is revealed. The system is incredibly complex and detailed, especially considering it takes over 30,000 parts to create one AIR bag. In addition, when it comes to defective components, Nike breaks them down and reuses these parts to create working ones, 90% of faulty AIR bags are recycled.
Take a tour inside Nike’s Air Manufacturing Innovation facility above and let us know your thoughts.