The Nike Air Trainer 1 made a comeback this year in multiple colorways giving us a chance to check it out once more and review its features. 

A brief History of Nike Air Trainer 

This model is the first ever cross trainer shoe that was released in 1987. It was designed by Tinker Hatfield, the one and only who also brought us the Nike Air Max 90 , Air Max 1, Nike Air Flight 89, Air Jordan 3 and Air Jordan 11 just to name a few. When going in the gym he noticed that people were carrying around two pairs of shoes for different activities so the idea of a cross training shoe was born. He also designed several of the “Bo Shoes” series that followed right after this first release. The first colorway released is the Chlorophyll one which at the time was also the first pair to feature volt on a pair of Nike sneakers. 

The Nike Air Trainer 1 however was mainly linked to John McEnroe who at the time wore them on the tennis court and brought them to the spotlight even if the shoes were not designed for tennis. Due to its inherent versatility this model was also adopted as a skateboarding shoe with Nike eventually coming up with a SB version that featured a few tweaks. 

How Do They Fit? 

The Nike Air Trainer 1 fits true to size with a roomy toe box that will accommodate even the ones with wider feet like me. The velcro strap that goes on top at the base of the lacing system makes it easy to adjust them on your feet. They feel comfortable from the get go but after a bit of a break in period they get even better. Given that they are a mid top and made of leather they are quite lightweight, with size 9 weighing just over 13oz. If unsure about your size check out this size chart for a better understanding of Nike’s shoes fit. 

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The upper of the Nike Air Trainer is made of leather and suede. Nike uses high quality leather for the most part which makes this a very durable sneaker. The idea around its design was to have a shoe that will withstand the rigors of intense workouts while providing comfort,stability and optimal lockdown. The velcro strap that sits on top makes it so it’s easy to get your foot locked in place while the heel area was designed to keep the feet securely on the midsole platform during lateral moves. To maintain a good air flow the upper features multiple perforations in the toe box and the inner side of the shoe. As I tried it on for this review on a late December afternoon I could surely feel the cold air flowing in. 

Sole Unit 

The sole unit of the Nike Air Trainer 1 was built to provide optimal support, cushioning and stability during workouts. The removable neoprene sockliner provides a supportive, comfortable lining for the foot, being designed to minimize heat build-up. The base of the sole is the high density polyurethane material that keeps the foot centered during ground contact. The shoes also feature a full length Air sole unit that does a great job in providing cushioning without sacrificing stability. Lastly, the rubber outsole features a partial cupsole which was designed to provide stability for lateral and front moves. This whole structure was very advanced at the time, so much so that more than thirty years later this shoe is still relevant in the gym.

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Are Nike Air Trainer 1 comfortable? 

The Nike Air Trainer 1 is a very comfortable sneaker, at least when compared with its retro counterparts. If you need support for long hours this shoe delivers, mostly because of its full length Air sole unit which does a great job in terms of arch support. It is a shoe that you can wear casually all day and will do a great job keeping you comfortable while keeping your feet secure in place to get the best of its cushioning. 

Who are they for?

The Nike Air Trainer 1 is a shoe for those looking for a versatile retro sneaker that they can pretty much wear anywhere. Its original purpose was cross training but I would say that it became even more versatile over time. If you are looking for a retro shoe that you can wear casually, take in the gym but also on the basketball court or skateboarding this one’s for you. 

Bottom Line 

It was nice to see the Nike Air Trainer 1 close up again for this review. While it is not my favorite retro sneaker from that era in terms of looks it’s hard to deny its unique impact in the industry. Other than being the first ever cross trainer it also stands up with its design that sets it apart from the rest. It was the model that inspired so many other cross trainers, including the Air Trainer SC or the Air Cross Trainer 3. It is a shoe that offers a lot of value for the money spent, one that is made to last for a long time.