A Quick History of Nike Air Max

The rise of sneaker culture gave Nike’s Air Max an 800% rise in market share in StockX since 2016. They continue to rise in popularity as one of the most in-demand shoes on the market.

There are several iterations of the Nike Air Max, from the Air Max 95 to the Max 270. The shoe provides smoothness and comfort for any baller or modern skateboarder.

But do you know about the history of the Nike Air Max? Before considering purchasing these dependable shoes, This short guide will give you the intricate history of the Nike Air Max.

Developing the Nike Air Max

The shoe history of the Nike Air Max begins in 1979 with the Nike Air Tailwind design. This classic late 70’s design is the precursor that would open the doors to the Nike Air Max design.  

Among our shoe facts is a noteworthy designer named Tinker Hatfield. Tinker began work with Nike designing shops as a premier architect.

This would lead to the emergence of the first style of Nike Air shoes. We know this model today as the Air Max 1.

After its release, it develops a massive cult following. This is due in part to the implementation of a visible air unit within the shoe.

The aeronautical engineer M. Frank Rudy implemented the technology used to develop the Nike Air Max. Using his knowledge and experience from NASA to condense air into urethane airbags for a rubber-like material to place in shoes.

Nike would pick up this patent and develop what we know as the Nike Air Max. This would jump-start the popularity of the shoe.

There are many different versions and colorways since its original release. Nike continues to collaborate with various athletes and artists as well. Each year, in March, they debut the next shoe style to the public.

The Nike Air Max 90

The beginning of the 1990s gave rise to the Nike Air Max 90. It was one of the first iterations of the Nike Air Max updates. This shoe is closely tied to the Nike Air Max 2 and the Nike Air Max Light.

The design elements of this shoe take inspiration from the Nike Max 1 with a mudguard and more. Though, the airbags are slightly smaller. There was also a new addition to the mesh on the toe box.

The Nike Air Max 95

These specific Nike air sneakers design debuted with a grey/neon colorway. You can begin seeing more callbacks to later designs like Nike Air Max 95’s in hip-hop songs. Artists such as Redman would reference the model in his lyricism.

This model transpires the design of the human ribcage and the ridges in the grand canyon. Many of the models before had white midsoles. But, the Nike Air Max 95 was the first to introduce the black midsole.

While the earlier Air Max’s feature a prominent Nike logo. Nike’s signature swoosh was made smaller in Nike Air Max’s 95 models in comparison to its predecessors.

The Nike Air Max 97

In the late 1990s, the uprising of ravers and other club dwellers began showcasing the Nike Air Max 97 model. In Italy, graffiti artists and ravers began sporting the shoe they would call Le Silver.

The French were also fans of this early model and gave it the nicknames The Shark and Le Raquin

Two of the most famous Nike Max 97 colorways are the silver bullet and the triple black design. The designs are still relevant today with modern designs replicating these models.

The Nike Air Max 360

The Nike Air Max 360 was a stepping stone into a new era of innovation. These shoes showcased the revolving 360 unit covering all angles of the shoe.

These red and white colorways reflected a new coronation of leaders in America. In addition, these colorways were reminiscent of the early Air Max 1 models.

The midsole contains zero foam material to add comfort. This new midsole could more easily conform to the wearer’s feet and provide natural resistance.

The 360, unlike the previous iterations of the Air Max, did not get a retro re-release treatment. You can shop now to see the famous rereleases and buy Nike air that suits your style.

Nike Lifestyle 270 & History of Nike Air Max

In the modern era, we are now finding great Nike air shoes like the Nike Lifestyle 270 set. These shoes were released around 2019.

They were originally performance shoes and now some of these silhouettes are entering the lifestyle range. Since its emergence, there are a slew of colorways available to the market.

One of the most notable features of this shoe is a large Air Max unit. These units provide ample comfort and cushion for performance.

As we hit later models such as the Nike 270, you begin to lose the transparent airbags from previous models. This model contains a complete black unit.

Nike Air Max 2090

As we progress into the latest additions of the Nike Air Max, we begin to see more stylish models like the Nike Air Max 2090. The new iterations of Nike Air Max’s continue to push their designs.

In these models, we begin to see how designers approach a more loud or outrageous appearance. If you take a closer look, you see subtle design elements pushing the designs forward.

The use of various materials such as silver mesh adds a futuristic look to the shoes. They have also added an elastic tab to help wearers pull the shoe onto their feet. 

The Future of Nike Air Max

Nike continues to innovate creating more futuristic designs with each new iteration of the Nike Air Max. Modern designers are making bold choices to keep the history of the Nike Air Max relevant in the modern era.

The newer designs are beginning to intermix athletic wear and lifestyle design choices. Before, Nike Air Max was geared towards runners and athletes. Now, we are seeing a whole new generation of sneakerheads deconstructing each new design.

If you enjoyed our article, follow our blog for more information on the rich history and new generation of Nike Air Max!

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