Designer Alexandra “Mini Swoosh” Hackett and Nike have created friends-and-family Air Max Plus-inspired shirts to mark the 20th anniversary of the iconic Nike silhouette.
Also known as the Tuned or TN, the Air Max Plus is one of Nike’s most recognizable and culturally impactful designs from the revolutionary Air Max range. Today the shoe is synonymous with British, French, and Australian sneaker culture and is a street style go-to worldwide. And the Air Max Plus’ hexagonal “Tn” badge has gained global recognition in its own right.
However, what many people might not realize is that the shoe’s launch in 1998 was closely tied with retail chain Foot Locker.
Nike and Foot Locker conducted an experiment by placing the shoe — which was intended as a special make-up for the retailer — in a Foot Locker window right as schools were letting out. According to the shoe’s designer Sean McDowell, “Five or 10 minutes later, there were like 10 kids flocking to the shoe asking, ‘What is this? How do I get it?'”
After Foot Locker championed the $125 sneaker, which was quite expensive compared with comparable sneaker offerings at the time, it was quickly adopted by sneakerheads. Today, it remains one of the most admired sneakers in the Nike catalog.
To celebrate this story, Hackett has created bespoke polo tops for staff at Foot Locker in the UK as a nod to the longstanding relationship between the retailer and Nike.
Speaking to Highsnobiety, Hackett explains the relevance of the silhouette by noting, “The TN has been such a staple in the UK for so long, specifically the all-black colorway. It’s always been a pivotal footwear icon for so many unique subcultures, too, which has created a really varied but loyal fan base.”
She continues, “The first pair of TNs I bought were from a Nike Factory Outlet in Australia. I wanted to buy them for a long time leading up to that but hadn’t taken the plunge yet. The pair I bought were a grade-school size — so, unfortunately, no air bubbles on the front — in black and red with a white tooling unit. I actually bought two pairs because they were on sale for $60 or something.”
While the TN-inspired shirts are exclusive to Foot Locker staff, the Nike Air Max Plus “Hyperblue” drops this Thursday, November 8.
To stay updated on everything happening in the sneaker world, follow @Highsnobietysneakers on Instagram, check our sneaker release date calendar and subscribe to our sneaker chatbot on Facebook to receive lightning quick updates to your inbox.