One of the greatest sneaker lines of all time, and certainly one of the most revolutionary, Nike Air dates back to 1978 when the technology first hit shelves via the Nike Air Tailwind. But what exactly is Nike Air, you ask? Well, the Swoosh explains that Nike Air “uses pressurized air in a durable, flexible membrane to provide lightweight cushioning. The air compresses on impact and then immediately returns to its original shape and volume, ready for the next impact.”
Since 1979, this technology has been used in a wide range of Nike sneaker silhouettes, many of which are counted among the brand’s most popular to this day. In 1987, Nike debuted the Tinker Hatfield-designed Air Max 1, the first shoe to feature the first visible Air Unit and window to the sole of the shoe — now an inseparable part of the Air Max line. As if you needed proof of its popularity, Air Max even has its very own day.
In celebration of Air Max and Nike’s enduring innovation, we’ve picked out some of our favorite Air Max models that are currently available to shop online. From new iterations of the OG Air Max 1 silhouette to the more modern iterations such as Vapormax, via various silhouettes of the ’90s, explore and invest in the technology below.
Shop some of our favorite Nike Air Max silhouettes available online.
Nike Air Max 1 DNA Ch. 1
Part of the DNA pack that was released earlier this year, the Nike Air Max 1 DNA Ch. 1 combines elements of the very first Air Max silhouette with those from the Air Huarache Run. Instilled with a retro aesthetic, the sneaker takes on the colors of the Huarache’s original “Scream Green” colorway from 1991.
Nike Air Max 90
After the Air Max 1 opened a literal window to Nike’s groundbreaking technology, the Air Max 90 arrived, reworking the silhouette for a new era of footwear. It remains one of the world’s most popular sneakers and continues to drop in new colorways, like this subdued black and white option.
Nike Air Max 90
So good, we had to include it twice. The Air Max 90 has been treated to a dizzying number of colorways since its inception. This neon green-splashed one screams ’90s rave scene.
Nike Air Max 95
Ok, so we skipped a few years. But forgive us, there are far too many great Air Max silhouettes to include in just one article. The Air Max 95 marked a drastic shift in aesthetic for the line, with a complete design rethink and Air units at the front of the shoe. While the OG neon colorway is hard to beat, this one will turn heads when they notice that the left and right shoes bear different shades.
Nike Air Max 97
To 1997 and the release of the Nike Air Max 97, which added Air technology and unrivaled cushioning to the entire sole. The original ripple design of the 97 was inspired by Japan’s bullet trains and remains in place on modern colorways, like this ultra-clean one.
Nike Air Max 98
As the end of the decade neared, it seems that Nike wanted to distill the distinct style of the ’90s in one Air Max shoe. The result is the Nike Air Max 98, a silhouette that encapsulates the bold, mismatched aesthetic of the time.
Nike Air VaporMax Flyknit 3
Never one to rest on its laurels, Nike took its Max technology in a radical new direction with the introduction of the Vapormax, a sleeker, more fitted silhouette, in 2017. Adopted by the high fashion crowd, the VaporMax also underwent a COMME des GARÇONS collaboration.
Nike Air VaporMax Plus
Making reference to the Air Max Plus from 1998, combining its floating cage with VaporMax’s Air technology, this silhouette made its debut in 2018.
Nike Air Max 270 React
For the Air Max 270, Nike looked back on its archive while keeping one eye on the future. Both retro and futuristic, the name of the silhouette, which was designed for lifestyle purposes, references the 270-degree view of the Air Unit.
Nike Air Max 720
The follow up to the popular 270, the Nike Air Max 720 delivered the first full-length Air Unit in a lifestyle shoe, which is highlighted by this vivid green colorway. The extra height and length of the 720’s Air Unit result in a far superior bounce and comfort. Oh, and in case you didn’t you know — the 720 is made from more than 75% recycled manufacturing waste.
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