Game On Air
The History Of Air Max
Take a look back on the legacy of one of the greatest sneaker lines in history: the Nike Air Max
In 1977, former aerospace engineer Marion Franklin Rudy pitched a far-out idea to Nike co-founder Phil Knight. Inspired by his time at NASA, Rudy wanted to put tiny air bags in the soles of athletic shoes to reduce the impact on the wearer’s foot, creating what would eventually become Nike Air.
Designed by the legendary Tinker Hatfield, the Nike Air Max 1 would drop in 1987. While designing the shoe, Hatfield took inspiration from the Centre Pompidou’s inside-out, transparent architecture when he chose to put the now-iconic visible Air unit in the shoe’s sole. The stylish and functional Air Max 1 would become massively successful, spawning a line of forward-thinking, tech-based shoes that continues to this day.
Several iterations of the Nike Air Max line have gone on to draw dedicated, hardcore fanbases who insist their model of choice is the best one. The Air Max 90’s loud colorways, fluid silhouette, and larger Air unit make it the sneaker of choice for those who gear up to turn heads. The anatomical design of the Air Max 95 makes it one of the line’s most memorable shoes. The minimalist branding mixed with the striking linework and gradient design make this model a must-have for those who love daring sneaker design. The Air Max 97 is considered by many to be one of Nike’s most stylish shoes ever for its ripple-inspired layered upper, which gives the shoe a sleek, speedy look. The psychedelic gradient and wavy overlays of the Air Max Plus were inspired by swaying palm trees in the Florida sunset, giving the model a wholly unique look that remains popular today.
More recent innovations like the VaporMax, the Air Max 270, and the Air Max 720 push Air technology to its limits, creating retrofuturistic designs that are as slick as they are innovative. Today, Air Max stands as one of Nike’s most popular and enduring sneaker lines ever. This Air Max Day, celebrate the legacy by picking up one of your favorite retros or diving into a brand-new model.