Nike Air Max: Through The Years

Nike Air Max: Through The Years

Posted by Alive and Dirty on

Nike Air Max Day is Here

The first Nike Air was unveiled in 1987, introducing ‘Air Cushioning Technology’ to the world. The air bubbles and comfort revolutionised the sports shoe, eventually turning heads in both the sports and fashion industry.

The patented design developed by former NASA engineer M. Frank Rudy was trademarked as the ‘Air’ sole. Aimed at elite runners in the early years, then eventually marketed to anyone who had the money to spend on a one-size-fits-all comfort solution.


The 1980s - The Release of the Air Force 1 & Air Jordan

In the ‘80s, Nike took over the world of Basketball with the iconic Air Force 1 and the Air Jordan. After dominating courts across the world, they were eventually banned for not meeting colouring guidelines. Despite this, Nike agreed pay ambassador Michael Jordan's’ fines if he agreed to continue to wear the shoe - which he did.

1987 - Air Max 1 Running Shoe

The largest air pouch yet - 1986 saw the release of the Air Max 1 running shoe, the first ‘Air’ shoe to feature a little window into the air cushion on the side of the heel. The original design made it easy for Nike to produce multiple colourways without having to completely redesign the shoe itself.


1989 - Air Max Light aka Air Max ll

Two years after the drop of the visible Air-Sole in the Air Max 1, the Air Max Light introduced a secondary air-sole in the forefoot. Advertised as providing even more comfort, capitalising on the patented technology, promising fans of the Air Max 1 ‘more support, more comfort and more of the great Air Max ride’.

1993 - Air Max 93

The year 1993 brought the introduction of the full wrap around ‘air’ heel, another step on from the original visible air design. The shoe provided the next level for the Air Max, and although Nike didn’t confirm the actual benefits, the message always seemed to emphasise how more air equals better shoes, making it a must-have!


1995 - Air Max 95

The Air Max 95 introduced a shoe where the focus was for it not to be worn by athletes, but more of a fashion statement. The design, based upon human anatomy, drew attention to the heel of the shoe depicting the human spine and an introduction of materials intended to represent skin, ribs, and tendons. It was also the first Air Max to provide visible air cushions both at the front and the back of the shoe.

1997 - Air Max 97

After the Air Max 95 showed that the air cushions could be placed anywhere, the Air Max 97 design incorporated a completely air-filled midsole, stretching from the heel to the ball of the foot. The design of the shoe was inspired by the bullet trains of Japan and was the first shoe to introduce a hidden lacing system.


2006 - Air Max 360

Nike introduced ‘Tuned Air’, where the air pressure differed in specific parts of the shoe. This provided the right amount of support in the right areas. As this evolved, Nike eventually announced what was expected and released a shoe that featured one visible air pocket that stretched from heel to toe - The Nike Air Max 360



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