Model: Air Max Plus
Key Features: The “Hyperblue,” “Sunset,” and “Purple” colorways each boast the silhouette’s signature gradient upper, with the yellow TN badge at the heel. The shoes also feature contrasting Max Air units to match the midfoot Swooshes, with black plastic overlays and black suede mudguards.
Release Date: November 8 (“Hyperblue,” Europe), November 24 (“Sunset,” Europe), December 15 (“Purple,” Europe); North American launch dates are December 22, November 24, and December 15
Buy: SNKRS, SNEAKRS, Foot Locker, and select retailers
Editor’s Notes: Nike is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Air Max Plus by releasing new styles and colorways in time for holiday season and bringing back three of the silhouette’s more iconic iterations. Since its launch in 1998, the Air Max Plus has seen hundreds of colorways, Ultra variations, and even slip-ons.
The Air Max Plus was designed by Sean McDowell and, at the time of initial production, combined three never-before-employed manufacturing techniques. The upper’s aesthetic was influenced in part by Florida beaches and palm trees.
“One evening, it was turning to dusk, so the very blue sky was starting to fade to dark blue, and the palm trees were blowing in the wind,” says McDowell. “I sketched that out, and I thought, ‘It could make a quarter panel, like you could hold your foot down with those palm trees.”
McDowell’s first assignment at Nike in 1997 was to create a new running shoe whose working title was “Sky Air.” Upon hearing the name, he immediately thought back to his time in Florida and the upper’s design was born.
The shank, meanwhile, was inspired by a whale. “That tail coming out of the water is so iconic,” says McDowell. There were doubts about whether the designer could turn his ideas into reality, however. Some problem-solving by McDowell meant the shoe would ultimately be created by making it out of three sections of thin welded TPU, a first for Nike at the time.
The Nike Air Max Plus was created to be sold at Foot Lockers across the US. To gauge interest in the design, a Foot Locker executive suggested putting the sample shoe on a shelf around the time school let out and children walked past the store. “Five or 10 minutes later, there were like 10 kids flocking to the shoe asking, ‘What is this? How do I get it?’” recalls McDowell.
The result was one of Nike’s most iconic models to date. For more information on the design process, head to Nike here.
The Nike Air Max Plus “Hyperblue,” “Sunset,” and “Purple” will be released in North America on December 22, November 24, and December 15 respectively via SNKRS, at Foot Locker, and other select retailers. The European launch dates are November 8, November 24, and December 15.
In other Swoosh news, two new Nike SB “Diamond” Dunks are dropping this weekend.
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