Following numerous leaks and rumors, Nike finally lifts the veil on the much-anticipated Air Max 720. While the Swoosh has only shared the above official image of the sneaker so far, Highsnobiety was invited to the brand’s Beaverton world headquarters back in July to see the shoe in person and talk to some of the key designers behind it. But first some facts.
The 720 measures up as the tallest Air Max to date, upping the 32mm height set by the 270 to 38mm. Essentially what that means is that the Air Max 720 offers the most spring of any silhouette in the Air Max family due to the biggest heel volume displacement.
The name itself, of course, is derived from the idea that the Air unit is visible in 360 degrees, both horizontally and vertically. The Swoosh has also taken increased efforts in sustainability this time around, crafting more than 75% of the 720 Air unit’s materials from manufacturing waste.
Speaking to Nike’s Vice President of Color Design, Courtney Dailey, we were told the 720’s launch colorway pictured above is directly inspired by the beauty and awesomeness of the Northern Lights.
Narrowing it down to just a few colorways that tell such clear stories is an accomplishment in itself (we also caught glimpses of colorways inspired by the Milky Way, lava flows, and sunrises and sunsets) since the color team usually starts with a palette of around 200 colors years before any actual product is developed. That means each palette needs to not just include, but predict, which colors will be trending when.
Expanding on the concept, Dailey explains that her team’s color palettes also have real-world implications, including this one which looks at how “consumers are moving to cities across the world” and, perhaps more importantly, how young people want to have a voice and be politically engaged. The team then aims to implement that insight in subtle ways like pops of color which reflect an underlying feeling of hope and optimism.
Dylan Raasch, Nike’s Senior Director of Air Max, elaborated on the increasingly dependent role technology plays in our lives and the deliberate effort him and his team had to take to break away from it when working on ideas and concepts for the 720. Essentially, Raasch and co had to ask themselves, “where are we getting our energy from?” Pondering the question over numerous camping trips and time away from their phones and computers, they eventually concluded that there’s a sweet spot in between technology and peace that the 720 conceptually sits right in the middle of.
Finishing up the session at Nike WHQ, Nike’s Senior Footwear Designer of Air Max, Jesi Small, gave us even more background on the new silhouette, saying that the shoe is designed with all day-comfort in mind, specifically anywhere from “12 to 18 hours a day.” With a background designing shoes for Nike SB, Gomez made the shift to Air Max just a few years ago where she took this know-how and applied it to the line’s requirements of “comfort, cushioning and stability.” The result is by far the most bulbous Air Max unit to date, which at the very least, is sure to shake things up and usher in a new era of Air.
Collectively, the team no doubt knocked it out of the park and if early reactions are anything to go by, the Nike Air Max 720 is set to be one of the Swoosh’s standout silhouettes of 2019.
There’s no word yet on release date or price but we do expect to hear more info on both accounts in the coming months. Stay tuned for more on Nike’s Air Max 720 and the team behind the silhouette.