The Nike Air Trainer 1 “Limestone” is a contemporary classic

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There’s something to be said for being a jack-of-all-trades. In an age that encourages and even expects perfection, there’s a certain charm to stepping out of your comfort zone and trying to do it all. Introduced in 1987, the Nike Air Trainer 1 bucked the trend of hyper-specific footwear to create a versatile sneaker that truly can do it all. Now available in a Limestone colourway with hits of brown, blue and suede, the crossover lace-up and strap trainers are a contemporary classic.

Celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, the Air Trainer 1 was born out of frustration and necessity when famed Nike designer Tinker Hatfield grew tired of lugging multiple shoes to the gym for varied workouts. Seeking to bridge the gap between sport-specific categories, Hatfield set out to create a sneaker that does it all with ease.

It was not an immediate success. The concept fell flat with Hatfield’s colleagues, who feared that a versatile sneaker would attract sales from the company’s key running and basketball categories. Despite detractors, Hatfield gained support from his friend and collaborator Mark Parker, who ran the R&D program at the time, before becoming CEO.

Proving you don’t have to be the best to make an impact, the Air Trainer 1 has been well received by professional athletes – including John McEnroe and Andre Agassi among fans – and gym regulars alike. . While there were better basketball sneakers and superior running sneakers on the market, the Air Trainer 1 represented the golden loop of sneakers, the one that was “right” for most people.

Now, while the original Chlorophyll colorway – inspired by the gym equipment at the Metro YMCA in Portland where Hatfield trained – can best be described as utilitarian, the new Limestone colorway really works. While the seminal rugged sneaker has veered somewhat into “ugly shoe” territory, the Limestone color scheme of neutral tones with a hint of blue steers it into the streetstyle-worthy category.

Perhaps the best representation of the hybrid nature of the Air Trainer 1 is the inclusion of the two laces and a strap, the latter providing a secure locking feel. The Limestone colourway sees the signature strap and Swoosh dressed in blue, while rough beige suede overlays and a hint of coffee brown leather adorn the white leather upper. One of the main “ugly” features of the Air Trainer 1 is the outsole, which extends over the upper quarter. Rendered in white rubber, it doesn’t look so bad anymore, lending a fun curvilinear element to the sneaker.

Putting function first and letting form follow, the Air Trainer 1 does it all. But make no mistake, this will never be your typical “dad shoe”. Pairing them with cargo shorts or a Jerry Seinfeld-esque normcore outfit would be putting them down. Tap into the hybridity of the sneaker by looking at dualities; Pair the Limestone Air Trainer 1 with slightly more formal outfits. Think a slim brown suit paired with a polo neck top; or pleated pants and a t-shirt. Go ahead, they can handle it all.

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