Nike Air Max: evolution of legendary sneakers for 27 years
March 26, 1987 a legend was born. Her name is Nike Air Max. Thanks to the innovation – special cuts in the sole, the invisible became visible, and the new Nike Air cushioning system helped Nike to forever change the design of running sneakers. In anticipation of a landmark day for fans around the world, we recall the path to becoming and transforming the running shoe icon, Nike Air Max.
It all started with the idea of aerospace engineer Frank Rudy, who had his own vision of the perfect fit of running shoes and its role in the lives of athletes. A simple experiment in depreciation turned into the future of the industry thanks to a meeting between Frank Rudy and Nike President Phil Knight in April 1977.
After much trial and error, Rudy’s concept found its application in the Air Tailwind model in 1978, thereby giving the running industry a powerful boost. A real revolution happened a decade later, when Tinker Hatfield took on the design of sports shoes.
Hatfield proposed a revolutionary innovation – making a “window” in the sole to emphasize the key characteristic of Air Max – the so-called air cushion.
“If we literally cut out some of the material in the middle of the sole and display the air gap, then people will be able to understand the concept of our shoes,” he said.
Someone believed in the success of this idea, someone did not understand it and denied it. But now, working side by side with designer Mark Parker (now the CEO of Nike), they create the first prototypes, samples and, finally, the final model. The crazy idea that many laughed at turned into shoes that forever changed the course of history and the idea of innovation and style.
Those that changed everything. The result of the work of Hatfield and Parker made a breakthrough in sports shoes, showing an air gap. Sneakers are made in bright red and white colors.
Lighter than their predecessors, AM Light slightly modified the characteristic design of Air Max, while maintaining the original fit.
Called once “dazzling red,” now iconic infrared bursts in this design defined the AM 90 concept.
How to pack even more air into running shoes?
Start from the bottom. In a literal sense. AM 180 introduced the cushioning visible at 1800, right in the middle of the sole. The main emphasis is on flexibility and comfort, taking into account the convenience of landing.
Big window. More influence. The Air Max BW has been so successful all over the world that they have never left the production line since their first release. Like its predecessor, this model also became iconic due to its color, which was officially called the Persian Purple.
In 1993, the Max Air concept reached its new high. The massive visible portion of the Air layer debunked the fears of some buyers who believed that the layer could burst.
To create the Air Max 95, designer Sergio Lozano drew his inspiration from the study of human anatomy – muscles, spine, ribs and tendons. Thanks to this, the functionality and appearance of the new model were ahead of their time and gave a new round to the development of sports shoes. Large inserts of the visible air gap in the front and back of the sole were complemented by a gray gradient and blots of bright yellow.
More like a high-speed train, which served as the inspiration for the design of this model, AM 97 was created for speed. For the first time, the Air layer was exposed to the survey completely along its entire length.
AM 360 implemented the original Nike idea – running completely on a layer consisting of a block of thermoformed air. Another innovation was the top created using laser technology. Sneakers are made in the color scheme of the original Air Max model.
In 2014, another Nike Air Max model was released, which combines the 2 most significant technologies: the Air interlayer and Lunarlon cushioning foam. Each design element has been revised down to the smallest detail. The result is incredible lightness and comfort. This is a new chapter in the development of Nike Air Max.
To mark 27 years of history of the grandiose model, Nike is releasing a limited edition series of Air Max 1 sneakers. Nike Sportswear is returning to the color scheme of the original Air Max, highlighting the legendary innovation and introducing Nike’s latest developments. In addition to the tongue, marked on March 26, Air Max 1 combines the original white and red upper with a bright sole, focusing on the Nike Air cushion.