In every sneakerhead‘s diary, there is one day which is marked red all over. It‘s March 26th, the official Nike Air Max Day. The event, which has been fabricated out of love towards the iconic Air Max sneaker, was introduced by Nike in 2014 and has been the holiday for sneaker enthusiasts worldwide. Expect dozens of eye-catching and rare models of the Air Max family on the street as well as gatherings of sneakerfreaks wearing shockingly expensive and impressive sneakers in order to see who got the clutchest pair!
This year, the first Air Max model turns 30 and of course, Nike does it in style. Thus, March 2017 has been declared the ‘Month of the Air’ and it has been a blast so far. Eight highly-anticipated releases signify highlights of 30 years of Air. Nike hasn’t skimped on an expensive and extensive campaign to create an Air Max euphoria – luckily, the entire line is one of the most sought after and successful sneaker families, so there is no need to generate any kind of hype. The hype has always been there with the famous “bubble”!
Streetwear and streetculture can nowadays not possibly be imagined without the Air Max models. The first sneaker in its line of ancestors, designed by none other than probably the most famous shoe designer of Nike – Tinker Hatfield – , was introduced in 1987 as a running shoe and was bound to succeed. Since its beginnings, the concept and design of the Air Max have been celebrated by athletes and sneaker fans alike and helped to its status as probably one of the most high-flying shoes of all time. Launched in the late 80s, it’s famous “visible-air” bubble was revolutionary: Inspired by the very innovative and controversial Pompidou Center, a must-see in Paris, the Air Max soon became a must-have in the sneaker scene. The never-before-seen, visible Nike Air cushioning revolutionized the running scene and saved the sneaker an iconic place in sneaker-history. The Air Max models soon turned into highly coveted collectors’ pieces.
Needless to say, the sneaker soon filled and still fills shoe cabinets worldwide – thanks to the revolution of the Air Max 1, various other models joined the ranks of the iconic pair: from a Nike Air Max 90 to a ‘95er to innovated and modern styles, the silhouette slightly shifted throughout the decades. The famous Air-Sole unit survived though – thank god, because walking around with these masterpieces truly makes you feel like being on cloud nine.
Over the years, the Air Max models have been reimagined and retooled, but the heritage always remains. Celebrating the 30th anniversary of Air this month, we dedicated an entire week to the famous bubble. Kicking it off with the One before the One, our week takes you on a journey through time. Every decade has its style and trends – some might sink into oblivion and others celebrate revivals. From the Air Max One to Nike’s latest creation, the Air VaporMax, the various Air Max models must not lack in any sneakerhead’s collection. Join us on our trip down memory lane and fly through years and trends with us.
The Air Max Zero was originally designed in 1985 as a prototyp for the Air Max 1, but was only released in 2015. Therefore, the father of the AM1 is actually younger than its offspring. Equipped with the latest technologies and materials it is still somewhat of an insider tip because of its young age. The Zero was one of the actual concepts of the Air Max 1. Featuring supreme comfort and performance, the design iteration was way ahead of its time. Not just in regards to its appearance, but also in terms of the construction it required. Putting it short, the shoe Hatfield had designed was too advanced to be produced. For 31 years, the sketch was getting dusty in Nike‘s archives. Luckily, someone seemed to have stumbled across the interesting drawing and the prodigal son was bound to return. Actually looking like a more contemporary version of the Air Max 1, the Air Max Zero was brought into life in a time where comfortable and form-fitting uppers with a tipless vamp and external straps are the non plus ultra. Upping the ante by adding the latest Nike technologies, the AM Zero is an innovative salute from the past.
Sneaker history was made when the Air Max 1 appeared in 1987. Designed by legendary shoe visionary Tinker Hatfield, the AM1 is the first-ever sneaker with a visible Air unit and still one of the most popular kicks out there. The classic silhouette seems to be immortal and is being expanded with a few new models every month. To the next 30 years!
In case you thought the only groundbreaking event in 1987 was the release of the first Nike Air Max, we have a little history lesson for you. Here are some other hugely revolutionary moments that shaped our culture to this day: 1. Aretha Franklin became the first women inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 2. The Simpson were seen on TV for the first time, 3. Dirty Dancing debuted in cinemas, 4. Michael Jackson’s legendary ‘BAD’ album was released and last but not least, 5. the search for Nessie revealed no evidence after investing 1.6 million dollar in the quest (just kidding with this one). Apart from the Air Jordan 1 release back in 1984, the year 1987 probably marks the most important birth of a sneaker legacy.
Sometimes it needs to be simple and plain. Especially when it comes to sneakers, the classic, straightforward look is still very much in demand. Thus, Nike introduced essential colorways on one of the most essential sneakers. The Air Max, originally known as the Air Max III up until 2000, was retroed and renamed to the commonly known Air Max 90 – obviously released in 1990. “Bigger is better” had been the motto for the next shoe in line: introducing a larger volume of encapsulated Air and bold, new colorways, these features would go on to define the series. Especially the vibrant colors would draw attention to the famous Air unit, letting everyone know that Air Max was the shoe to have in the 90s. Air Max had officially arrived! Thanks to the huge selection, the infinite amount of possible colorways go with almost every outfit. All the more reason that the Air Max 90 is one of the most favored sneakers of Air time, eh pardon, all time.
Basketball players need maximum cushioning, imagine that. But we don’t want it to feel like a brick and it’s supposed to look nice, too. For decades, NBA professionals choose footwear with Max Air Cushioning. Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley knew what they were doing from the very beginning. While these legends rocked the Nike Air Max Penny (Penny Hardaway), the Air Max CB34 (Charley Barkley) and the Air Max Uptempo models, the popular bubble celebrated its return in the current Air Max Audacity and the Air Max Infuriate. The Audacity, worn by none other than NBA All-Star Anthony Davis, is supported by a phylon midsole while the Max cushioning perfectly blends in with its superbly breathable mesh upper. Flywire inputs and sockliner combine for an improved footing and – at the same time – provide a comfort boost. Furthermore, the Air Max supported performance sneaker has been equipped with a non-slip rubber outsole, whose herringbone pattern adds well-needed traction for quick direction changes. On court, its performance is flawless. The Max Air Cushioning has always been part of basketball performance machines!
Crazy color combos are not the only way to distinguish oneself in the mishmash of the sneaker world anymore. Today the material has become just as important. Flyknit, Ultra or Jacquard refine the value of every shoe and on top of that, enhance the comfort level multiple times. The stylish makeover has first been implemented in 2013, building the annual model, the Air Max 2013, with a full flyknit upper. Ever since, the different Air Max models have been updated and feature almost every color the color palette has to offer. This breakthrough is quite reminiscent of the Air Max’ first tentative steps that would later on start an entire revolution. The Nike design teams have always had a way with setting trends and the innovated Air Max uppers have significantly defined present and future sneaker zeitgeist. The multicolored silhouettes are a bold fashion statement and are an indispensable part of streetwear culture. Taking successful Air Max silhouettes and transforming them in state-of-the-art masterpieces, Nike revolutionized the sneaker game.
Tavas, Thea, Command… Despite their modern silhouette the “new” AM models also carry the original Air Max soul deep within them. Max cushioning provided by the big air unit in the heel, unmatched suitability for daily use and an epic selection of colorways made these sneakers bestsellers for years. The lightweight, breathable Air Max silhouettes were updated with brand new slimmed-down beach bodies. The creative minds of Nike altered the iconic running profile for everyday comfort and freshness. The sleek and filigree silhouettes with its slimmer sole give the latest Air Max innovation a minimalist appeal; the innovative design for superb cushioning, durability and lightweight comfort truly is on point. Air Max Tavas and Thea are shoes, sneakerheads love to collect and – thanks to striking colorways – easy to fall in love with. In these kicks, you will most definitely get the right “summer vibes”!