The Evolution Of The Nike Air Max
As most of you Sneakerheads know, March 26th marked “National Air Max Day,” so we found it only fitting to throw it back to the 1980s and the time that marked the beginning of the Nike Air Max saga.
1987 - Air Max 1
This was a great year for culture and fashion, as was reflected in this shoe’s design. The Simpsons aired for the first time on TV and Nike released the Air Max 1. This sneaker introduced a line of tennis shoes that used the now iconic “air technology.” The air was designed to replace EVA soles that were found in most tennis shoes at the time, which were composed of gas-filled urethane pouches.
1990 - Air Max 90
Nike wanted to take the second series of the Nike Air Max and render it bigger and better with the Air Max 90. Their goal was to increase the volume of air that was used in the shoe and introduce bolder colors that would start a new trend of statement shoes on the streets.
1991 - Air Max 180
Nike was still seeking ways to go bigger with their next design,the Nike Air Max 180. This design introduced 180 degrees of visible air cushioning and a softer wear than ever before. It became very popular on the streets and was used in the first-ever sneaker collaboration with Kanye West.
1993 - Air Max 93
If you thought Nike couldn’t go bigger than the 180, they did just that in 1993. The Nike Air Max 93 introduced 270 degrees of airbag-like pockets that extended to the back of the shoe for additional cushion. Although this design didn’t quite take off like they thought it would, it was still a dope shoe.
1995 - Air Max 95
This was the year of perhaps the most memorable Air Max sneaker of all time. Sneakerheads and rappers alike embraced this design and to this day, the ‘95 remain a go-to pair of shoes that have proven themselves over the test of time.
1997- Air Max 97
1997 was a landmark year for Nike and marked the 10th anniversary since the release of the first Air Max. After a decade, the design of Air Max 97 provided runners more of the industry-leading, air technology cushioning than ever before.
2003 - Air Max 2003
The material used for this new sneaker design added waterproofing to the shoe without adding bulk. The multiple airbags remained unchanged from the 1997 design, but the overall style of the shoe made less of an impact on the streets than previous editions.
2006 - Air Max 360
The people spoke and Nike listened. In 2006, Nike introduced a 360-degree air pocket. Although it wasn’t hugely popular when it was first released, it would definitely fit in with today’s futuristic designs.
2013 - Flyknit Air Max
Nike released an updated model using Flyknit to create a more breathable and lightweight shoe. To add style, Nike introduced a gradient color fade along with the 360-degree airbag that would become a staple for the Air Max line.
2016 - Air Max 2016
This design was more of an aesthetic update to the shoe rather a technological one. Nike repositioned its “swoosh” branding and tweaked the mesh for improved breathability during long distances.
In the month leading up to its 30th anniversary, Nike released a series of shoes to add to their already large Air Max line. With their improved technology and style, Nike will always remain a major player in the sneaker industry.
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