Nike Air Max shoes have been making the rounds since they were introduced in 1987, setting a high bar not just for performance, but also for appearance. With the Swoosh brand’s very own Air unit, an innovative technology that provides lightweight cushioning beneath the foot, sneaker fans the world over have discovered what it means to walk on air. The original Air Max trainers, envisioned by Tinker Hatfield, were targeted toward runners, but their unique aesthetic has made them popular among the lifestyle crowd, all of whom are drawn to the visible air bubble. Whether you’re looking for maximum impact protection or a casual shoe that you can wear on the daily, Nike’s Air Max line is guaranteed to impress.
Air Max 1
The brainchild of one of Nike’s most legendary designers, the OG Air Max silo by Hatfield boasted the first visible Air unit, showing the unique cushioning system in action. Layered material to the sidewalls added to the already impressive aesthetic and ensured that the aptly named Air Max 1 would never be forgotten. And this has proven to be true, with the design making waves decades after its release with a retro model.
Air Max 90
In 1990, Nike dropped yet another pair of Air Max runners, ones that would be loved by athletes and sneakerheads alike. These new kicks were known as the Air Max III until the year 2000, when they adopted a name reflective of the era in which they were created. The influence of the ’90s can be seen in its thick heel, whose exaggerated features give a bold and chunky look.
Air Max 95
When the ’90s reached their midway point, another Nike employee, Sergio Lozano, decided to switch up the shoe game, basing the 95 on the human anatomy. The midsole was the spine, the layered side panels muscle fibres, and the laces ribs. This was the first Air Max sneaker to use two Air units, and it’s no surprise that it remains one of the brand’s most sought-after silos.
Air Max 97
For the 97, designer Christian Tresser took a different approach by drawing inspiration from a high-speed Japanese bullet train. It had a smooth feel to it and is today famous for introducing the hidden lacing system and a full-length Air unit.
Air Max 270
The 2018 release of the 270 refused to rest on the silos of recent generations, taking inspiration from models such as the 180 and 93 and blending retro style with future tech. This produced a standout something unique—a retro-meets-future kick featuring the tallest Air unit to date, measuring 32 mm. Available with a mesh or Flyknit upper, the 270 marked yet another turning point in the history of Air Max.