Sneakers
From the ground up

The Sean Wotherspoon x Nike Air Max 97/1 is releasing on March 26 (March 24 in Europe) as the winner of last year’s Air Max Vote Forward design competition.

Wotherspoon decided to combine an Air Max 97 upper with an Air Max 1 outsole and midsole, finishing the bold look in a rainbow-esque corduroy colorway.

While we’ve already put together a guide on how best to cop the sneaker when it finally drops, Nike has now provided some information on what went into the design process.

So, with the release coming up soon and this hybrid silhouette one of the most hyped Air Max models of 2018 (so far), we’ve summarized some of the most important points below.

Scroll through and then let us know your thoughts on the design in the comments.

The sneaker has some old school inspiration

Sean Wotherspoon revealed that his Air Max 97/1 was inspired by vintage Nike hats, sneakers, and windbreakers from the ’80s and ’90s.

The smiley face found on the shoe’s insoles was taken from a vintage “Have a Nike Day” T-shirt.  Speaking on that detail, Wotherspoon said, “When you put your shoes on, the first thing you want to see is a face smiling back at you, right?”

It was designed to match white T-shirts

Wotherspoon feels he was subconsciously inspired to design the sneaker to match his own uniform staple of white T-shirts. The pastel colors he ended up going with go perfectly with plain white tees.

So much so, that one of his friends at the store asked him, “Dude, did you notice that your shoes match every white, vintage T-shirt?”

Friends helped during the early stages

When he first set out to come up with his entry for the competition, Wotherspoon said he organized a brainstorm with close friends and confidants over pizza.

“I wanted as many opinions as possible,” says Wotherspoon. “I tried to bring together people who represent different types of sneakerheads, collectors, consumers, and styles.”

A friend sketched out all the ideas that were brought up during this brainstorm session.

The mini Swoosh was a no-brainer

During the aforementioned brainstorming session, Wotherspoon said that the addition of a mini Swoosh near the toe of the shoe was a “unanimous decision.”

These shoes are peak nostalgia for Wotherspoon

“When we designed these shoes, I tried to take my nostalgic memories and create something new from them,” says Wotherspoon. “That’s my thing. It’s an organic feeling, and as you can see in the shoes we made, it’s pretty special.”

One such personal reference is the addition of the “VA –> LA” embroidery on the heel, which serves as an ode to his roots in Richmond, Virginia and move to Los Angeles, California.

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  • Photography: Nike

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