Nike is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Air Max this March. Here's a look at some of our favourite Air Maxes over the years
March is a significant time of the year for Nike – it’s Air Max month, during which people across the world dig out their Nike footwear to commemorate the launch of the first-ever Air Max sneaker on 26 March 1987.
We spoke to Nike South Africa’s communication manager, Seruscka Naidoo, to find out more about Air Max month, the significance of the sneaker and the impact it’s had on street culture through the decades.
“Back in 1987, the first Air Max 1 was introduced, and it pretty much changed the world of footwear,” Naidoo says. “It was the first shoe that was designed by Nike designer Tinkler Hatfield, who took the concept of air, put it into a bubble and put it in a shoe.
“It had started out as a running shoe, but very quickly became something that penetrated the street culture of the community, and people started wearing this as a casual shoe.”
Over the years, many of us have seen the evolution of the Air Max, with a redefined version of the shoe being launched every year.
“This year, we’re releasing four to five new styles of the Air Max, and two of those include the OG, which is the original Air Max 1,” Naidoo says. “Obviously we’ve used new materials, but they’ve been formed in the original shape.”
Come March, those who love this Nike brand of footwear usually dedicate much of the month to dressing up in their Air Maxes, styling them in various ways and bringing out the sneakers at the back of their closets to celebrate the shoe’s history.
As part of the commemoration of Air Max, Nike has partnered with youth radio station YFM for a sports and culture show called Rebels on Air.
These are some of our favourite Air Max sneakers over the years:
Originally released in 1987, the Air Max 1 introduced the world to visible Nike Air cushioning. The Tinker Hatfield design was first released in three iconic colourways, including the white, red and grey combo and the white, blue and grey version. The icon returns with its coveted shape.
To celebrate 30 years of Air Max 1, the Air Max 1 Ultra 2.0 was launched. Recognised as the most innovative Air Max 1 to date, cored-out ultra-tooling helps make it one of the lightest Air Max models ever. The “3.26” placed on the tongue marks the anniversary of the original.
The Air Max 1 atmos was the undisputed winner of the Air Max Day 2016 Vote Back campaign. The collaboration spliced a staple Nike motif with meticulous colour-blocking to highlight the subtle jade icon. Co-created by Japanese retailer Atmos, this sneaker was originally part of the Zoo Pack released in 2006.
Created for Air Max Day 2016 by legendary streetwear designer Hiroshi Fujiwara, the LD-Zero mixes a clean upper inspired by the 70s-era Nike LD1000 and the Boston with the 360 Air Max unit that debuted in 2006, and was updated for the Air Max 2014. The result is an original design that merges classic style with modern comfort.
Welcome to the rebirth of Air. With a flexible Flyknit upper on top of a radically reinvented air-cushioning system, the Nike Air VaporMax reignites the Air Revolution, declaring in no uncertain terms that the state of air is once again state of the art.
The Air Max 90 OG is quickly recognised, especially in its vibrant infrared colour. In the Air Max 90 Flyknit, two new innovations make this icon lighter: a Flyknit upper, which also increases flexibility, and a cored-out midsole that decreases weight and increases comfort.