Nike’s Air Max Day has came and almost gone without a bang this year — to the disappointment of many OG Air Max collectors. While in previous years, the fictional holiday has brought with it some of the most coveted Air Max drops of the year, 2020’s selection pales in comparison.
This year, the crown jewel of the Nike Air Max Day collection is the “Reverse Duck Camo” Nike Air Max 90, which — a strong release by itself — is let down by a supporting cast featuring the hybrid Air Max 2090 and a trio of metallic Air Max 90s.
Thanks to Sean Wotherspoon’s multi-colored corduroy Nike Air Max 1/97, 2018 will certainly be ranked as the best Air Max Day by most, though the two years prior were no slouch either, as Nike brought back the atmos Air Max 1 “Elephant” from 2006 and the atmos Air Max 1 “Safari” from 2002 in 2017 and 2016, respectively.
Unfortunately, those from prior years are usually out of most peoples’ price range thanks to a booming resell market. That doesn’t mean you have to end Air Max Day empty handed, though, as there are plenty of older, underrated releases that are just as worthy of a pick up and — luckily — don’t break the bank.
The most underrated Nike Air Max Sneakers
Skepta x Nike Air Max 97/BW SK
Name: Skepta x Nike Air Max 97/BW SK
Release Date: May 14, 2018
Buy: StockX, Stadium Goods, GOAT
Editor’s Notes: All of Skepta’s Nike collaborations to date have pulled inspiration from the Grime MC’s personal life and connection to various places around the world. His second Air Max collab, the above Nike Air Max 97/BW SK, was inspired by Paris, one of the first places outside of the UK Skepta gained a foothold and loyal following. The tricolore color scheme is a nod to Paris, while the sneaker itself is a hybrid of several Air Max models, flexing Skepta’s design chops.
Nike Air Max Lunar90 SP “Moon Landing”
Name: Nike Air Max Lunar90 SP “Moon Landing”
Release Date: July 20, 2014
Buy: StockX, Stadium Goods, GOAT
Editor’s Notes: When the Nike Air Max Lunar90 dropped in 2014, it fused Max Air and Nike’s latest and greatest in cushioning, Lunarlon. The next-level comfort was immediately evident, though the hybrid shoe didn’t really catch on until this special edition, moon landing-inspired pair was launched in the summer. The fully reflective upper sent sneakerheads crazy at the time and, while it may not make any lists of classic Air Max models, is definitely one of the more underrated releases of recent times.
Nike Air Max 95 “Pollen Rise”
Name: Nike Air Max 95 “Pollen Rise”
Release Date: March 21, 2020
Editor’s Notes: This Nike Air Max 95 “Pollen Rise” was released exclusively in Korea — much to the dismay of Air Max fans worldwide. The sneaker is inspired by the Korean forsythia flowers, which typically indicate the beginning of spring. It features a predominantly white mesh upper with black piping that makes it look like it was drawn on. The release also arrived with attachable Velcro Swoosh patches for customization.
Nike Air Max 180 “Berlin”
Name: Nike Air Max 180 “Berlin”
Release Date: March 30, 2019
Editor’s Notes: Inspired by Berlin’s techno nightlife, this Air Max 180 features the words “UNITY” and “FREEDOM” hidden underneath its transparent outsole, while neon elements on the heel, Max Air unit, and tongue serve as nods to the club culture that the city is so famous for. This release didn’t sell out immediately upon release, but the neon color-blocking and story behind the design make it one of the more underrated pairs of the last few years.
Arthur Huang x NikeLab Air Max 1 Ultra 2.0 Flyknit
Name: Arthur Huang x NikeLab Air Max 1 Ultra 2.0 Flyknit
Release Date: March 27, 2017
Buy: StockX, GOAT
Editor’s Notes: Arthur Huang and NikeLab teamed up on an environmentally-conscious release in 2017, long before sustainability was the latest trend in the fashion world. The Air Max 1 features a Flyknit and leather upper, as well as a leather lining and is made entirely out of post-consumer materials.
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