Progressively decreasing glomerular filtration rate (GFR), or renal decline, is seen in patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D) and normoalbuminuria or microalbuminuria. Here we examined the associations of kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1) in plasma and urine with the risk of renal decline and determine whether those associations are independent of markers of glomerular damage. The study group comprised patients with T1D from the 2nd Joslin Kidney Study of which 259 had normoalbuminuria and 203 had microalbuminuria. Serial measurements over 4 to 10 years of follow-up (median 8 years) of serum creatinine and cystatin C were used jointly to estimate eGFRcr-cys slopes and time of onset of CKD stage 3 or higher. Baseline urinary excretion of IgG2 and albumin were used as markers of glomerular damage, and urinary excretion of KIM-1 and its plasma concentration were used as markers of proximal tubular damage. All patients had normal renal function at baseline. During follow-up, renal decline (eGFRcr-cys loss 3.3% or more per year) developed in 96 patients and 62 progressed to CKD stage 3. For both outcomes, the risk rose with increasing baseline levels of plasma KIM-1. In multivariable models, elevated baseline plasma KIM-1 was strongly associated with risk of early progressive renal decline, regardless of baseline clinical characteristics, serum TNFR1 or markers of glomerular damage. Thus, damage to proximal tubules may play an independent role in the development of early progressive renal decline in non-proteinuric patients with T1D.