Nike Air Max Day 2024: Celebrating an Icon

Nike Air Max

Every year on March 26, Nike celebrates its iconic sneaker—the Air Max. In 1987, legendary designer Tinker Hatfield changed the sneaker world forever when he designed the Air Max 1, after taking a trip to Paris and seeing the Centre Pompidou. Like the building that exposes its structural elements, Tinker wanted to expose the shoe’s air unit. The ultra-futuristic design became a global phenomenon, as it merged performance with style in an extremely innovative way.

Three decades after the shoe debuted, Nike declared its first ever Air Max Day, a day for the brand to reveal its new hype-worthy styles. Whether you’re a sneakerhead or not, below are four iconic Air Max styles you won’t regret adding to your collection.

Air Max 90

Widely considered to be one of the brand’s most important designs since its start, the Air Max 90 was originally released in 1990 and is Nike’s flagship shoe behind the Air Max 1. Another legendary sneaker designed by Tinker Hatfield, it merges function with design in a bold way. Like the Air Max 1, the Air Max 90 features a visible air pocket but is bigger and more prominent. The debut style also had an infrared window on the air pocket, instead of being fully transparent, and a padded tongue and collar for added comfort. Originally designed for performance running, the low-top sneaker is both sleek and comfortable. Since the shoe first launched, there have been at least 40 variations on the style, usually with a mix of colours and textures, but its most-known colourway is a distinct red-orange hue called the Infrared. Today, the shoe is not only a fashion-statement but a perfect everyday sneaker.

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Air Max 97

First released in 1997 as a running shoe, the Air Max 97 was designed by Christian Tresser, a young designer, whose previous experience was creating high-end soccer shoes. Nike scooped him up from a competitor and within 10 months created numerous classics for the brand. The futuristic shoe took inspiration from the alloy and aluminum from mountain bicycles, becoming an instant hit in Italy’s club culture. The silver hue of the shoes reflected the strobe lights in the club and soon became synonymous with status and taste. The Air Max 97 features a full-length Airbag underfoot, which was a revolutionary feat and major design detail. Style aside, the Air Max 97 is considered the most comfortable Air Max model because of its balanced cushioning. The “Silver Bullet” will always be the shoe’s most iconic colourway, but over the years has come out with numerous eye-catching colour combinations.

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Air Max 270

Unveiled in 2017, the Air Max 270 was created to pay tribute to the history of the Air Max, while injecting it with a new modern feel. The designers named the shoe after the 270 degrees of visible bubble seen on the heel. With its hybrid silhouette and slip-on constructions, the shoe features a cool breathable mesh upper and oversized air bubble that combines a retro aesthetic with a more futuristic vibe. The Air Max 270 was the first shoe from the brand designed to be an exclusively lifestyle shoe, but with its dual-density foam sole, it has enough cushion to handle activities like running and basketball. Sleek and lightweight, this sneaker is breathable enough to wear without socks and comfortable to wear all day long. With its 32mm heel height, prepare to turn heads. 

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Air Max Vapormax

Launched the same year as the Air Max 270, the Air Max Vapormax was the first sneaker to come with a midsole that contained only one air unit. Visually, it’s designed to look like the shoe is floating, as the air units are the only parts that touch the ground directly. It took designers seven years to achieve the final design, with designer Zach Elder spending three years just on the cushioning system. The sneaker also features a flexible Flyknit upper, a design that took innovation specialist Tom Minami, three years to perfect. To make sure the shoe checked off all of the performance boxes, the team tested the shoe on 350 runners in all types of terrain, making it the brand’s most tested running shoe. Designed to conform to your foot, the Air Max VaporMax is incredibly comfortable to wear day-in and out. Not only are you actually walking on air, it actually feels like it too.

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