To say that Nike’s athletic shoe division has had a remarkable stretch over the last 30 years would be a gross understatement. Beginning in the early to mid-1980s the brand seized on the popularity of one individual that served to catapult the brand ahead of all of its competitors at the time. When Nike launched its most iconic model, the Air Jordan, it put all other brands on notice and became the most sought-after endorsement opportunity for athlete’s worldwide. While the brand has never been able to match the success of the Air Jordan situation, it has had a lot of great runs with athletes and catch-models like the Air Huarache and Air Max.
The Air Max hit the scene in 1987 with the Air Max One, which is still one of the top-selling models of the Air Max. Air Max is viewed as the first cross trainer and to many, it is still the best cross trainer on the market. Whether it is the best is debatable, but its popularity is not. Here are the top five Air Max models of all time.
Air Max 1
Because of the length of time that these originals have been on the market (more than 30 years), they don’t pop up for sale that often, and when they do, they are accompanied by a hefty price tag that is commensurate with their rich history. It has been a long time since this show debut, but the design is timeless. Recently, Nike released the original silhouette in a number of different colors. In fact, the white and varsity red just might fool people into believing you have the originals. While Nike has done a great job with retro releases of Jordan’s they are slow to use the same marketing strategy with shoes like the Air Max. There are definitely a lot of people who would love to see that happen in almost every model.
Air Max 90
The Air Max 90 represents the first major changes to the original design, as Tinker Hatfield determined there was a need to modernize the shoe. One noticeable difference was the addition of extra eyelets that facilitated the option to create new lace configurations that would personalize the look of the shoe. The ribbed side panel was added to give the shoe even more personality and aesthetic appeal. The infrared color scheme was introduced as a key element that connected the new design to the original is a subtle way.
Air Max 95
The Air Max 95 represented one of the most radical shifts in shoe design in the history of Nike. It was almost as if they had introduced an entirely new shoe. The original release featured a colorway that included fluorescent yellow accents along with varying shades of gray and black. While the original model is not being released the NikeiD customizer tool will let you get very close to the original, but it would be much more fun and unique to create a shoe that no one else has. The tool allows for some very subtle but impactful changes to the shoe that you create. However, at the end of the day, this original 95 release remains one of the most sought-after model of the shoe from enthusiast around the world.
Air Max 97
It was obvious through the Air Max and Air Huarache models that Nike was not going to be satisfied with anything considered to be status quo. The Brand was intent on pushing the boundaries of technology to present a shoe that was highly aesthetic and even more functional. The Air Max brand is not simply about appearance, it has a reputation for performing extremely well as a cross trainer and short-distance running shoe. One change made with the 97 model that was immediately noticeable was the extension of the visible air sole that provided the shoe’s cushion. The almost full-length air sole not only provided support, but it created a highly futuristic look.
The Air Max 2015
As we have moved through the years two significant things have been consistent throughout the evolution of the Air Max. The first is that the shoe has improved in the level of performance based on technological advancement that was not available with the previous model. Additionally, the shoe has taken quantum leaps in the area of design and aesthetic appeal. The Air Max 2015 is no different. In fact, the 2015 model may represent the most radical shift in design since 1997. Nike’s Flyknit technology couple with the unique colorways of these design captivate your desire to be seen and the lightweight air-cushioned support ensures that you are performing at an optimal level.
Written by Benjamin Smith
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