Nike Air Max is one of the most popular sneaker lines of all time, first launched in 1987, featuring a visible air bubble in the sole using Nike’s unique Air technology. Its first-ever design was called Nike Air Max 1, made primarily for running; later on, various other models emerged with a focus on casual wear.
Nike Air technology’s original models include the Nike Air Max 1, Nike Air Max 90, Nike Air Max 95, and Nike Air Max 97, which were all intended for running and performance. However, the newer versions of the design, including the Nike Air Max 270, Nike Air Max 720, and Nike Air Max 2090, which all feature a large bubble cushion, have been mostly made for casual wear rather than with a focus on performance.
Nike continues to produce the latest and newer Nike Air Max models with lifestyle and casual wear in mind, whereas with older Nike Air Max models, focus is mostly on collabs, special editions, and unique colorways.
Occurring annually on March 26, Nike Air Max Day is a celebration of all-things-Air-Max. It started in 2014 and is the day that celebrates the shoe, as well as often marking the release of new models. A week ahead of the Nike Air Max day itself, the brand usually drops special editions throughout the week leading up to the actual day, with special drops also released on the day.
To ensure your Nike Air Max sneakers will last, taking care and cleaning your sneakers in the right way is essential, and simple soap and water will do the trick.
As the first step, make sure to put some plastic bags or newspapers in the shoes so your Air Maxes would retain their shape while you clean them, and remove the shoelaces. Secondly, use a soft shoe brush or a toothbrush to remove any loose dirt.
Next, mix soap and water, and wash the laces, soles, and the upper with a cloth dipped in soap water. In the case of fabric uppers, make sure not to scrub too hard to avoid any damage. After cleaning, leave your Nike Air Max sneakers to dry. This should take up to 8 hours, depending on the conditions.
The cost of Nike Air Max sneakers depends on the style and whether it is a limited-edition or a collab. However, you can cop a pair that starts at around $100, with prices going up to $300 via Nike.com online store, with exclusive drops, rare editions, and collabs costing more.
Putting your Nike Air Max in a washing machine isn’t recommended as it is likely your sneakers will lose shape and generally won’t last as long. The best way to wash your Air Max is with a toothbrush and a warm soapy water cloth instead.
Nike releases the Nike Air Max 1, its first shoe with a visible air bubble. The sneaker was designed by Tinker Hatfield – to both perform on the court and look good on the street and boasted an ad campaign (accidentally) fronted by John McEnroe. Nike Air Max became one of the brand’s biggest lines, spawning the Nike Air Max 90, Nike Air Max 95, and Nike Air Max 97, among countless others.
Nike Air Max II is released with the midsole replaced with EVA foam, making it lighter than its predecessor. Re-released in 2007, Nike has continued to develop additional colorways of this style.
Originally known as the Nike Air Max III until its 2000 re-release, the Nike Air Max 90 lands – with hip-hop and Britpop helping sportswear make its move into streetwear, and with it, the sneaker. The shoe boasts an even bigger air pocket than previous designs. A bold red colorway (later known as infra-red) draws some serious attention.
The Nike Air Max 93 drops, with a 270-degree Air unit earning it the moniker Nike Air Max 270. It came with yet more “air,” with the visible air unit extending to the back of the heel. It was the first to feature a fully visible air unit from both the back and side.
In 1995, the Nike Air Max 95 was released, bringing with it a shake-up of the Air Max line. The giant signature tick is replaced with a subtle swoosh, and air units are included at the forefoot. A layered upper inspired by human anatomy boasts a cool gray and bright neon yellow pop of color – which is still coveted today. The Nike Air Max 95 design continues to appear in Nike’s later drops to this day.
Originally thought to be inspired by Japanese bullet trains, the Nike Air Max 97 appeared as a ‘silver bullet’ style design – with a rippled layered upper. Later, it came to light from designer Christian Tresser that the upper was, in fact, representative of ripples of water in a pond. The 97 styles debuted the full-length air unit and are still seen today with a new “Neon Seoul” colorway announced as part of Nike’s 2019 drop.
This year boasts the first major Air Max change since the Nike Air Max 97 debut of the full-length air unit. The new Nike Air Max 2003 design boasts a carbon-based fiber upper while maintaining the full-length bubble.
Almost 20 years in the making, Nike finally delivers 360-degree air on the Nike Air Max 360. Known perhaps more for its technological revolution than its style – the company paid homage to its journey with a red and white colorway inspired by the original Nike Air Max 1.
With Flyknit technology released just a year prior, Nike added the coveted Air technology to its new running revolution. A sock-like upper combined with a 360 air bubble became a staple for the sneaker giant’s future Air endeavors.
Nike released the Nike VaporMax. Combining a brand new Air Max sole and Flyknit upper, it has become one of the most important technological advances of the decade. Nike VaporMax makes its name as the lightest Air Max to date, receiving a 2019 casual-use focused update on colorways.
In 2018, the swoosh brand released a new design, Nike Air Max 270, inspired by Nike’s 90s designs. Featuring a massive Air bubble in the sole, it was Nike’s largest heel bubble unit to date. Nike Air Max 270 was an instant hit. It sparked the interest of younger consumers, featuring a futuristic look and a refresh for a modern aesthetic designed for everyday use.
A year later, Nike introduced another new design, Nike Air Max 720, with 360-degree air cushioning. The Nike Air Max 720, the sequel of the Nike Air Max 270, lands as a bulky airbag shoe designed specifically “for steps, not strides,” with the air unit visible both horizontally and vertically. The original colorway was inspired by the Northern Lights.
The year 2020 was the anniversary of the Air Max 90, designed by Tinker Hatfield in 1990. To celebrate, the brand launched the Nike Air Max 2090, which is an upgrade of the legendary design. The next level, Air Max 2090, features the iconic Air unit, darker colors, and color blocking.
Also, in the same year, this time to pay tribute to the Nike Air Max 95 and celebrate its 95th anniversary, Nike Air Max Zoom 950 was released worldwide, combining a breathable mesh upper and a chunky 95s sole for max comfort fit.
In 2021, Nike launched Air Max Zephyr, a futuristic, chunky, yet streamlined aesthetic featuring Nike’s Air technology, the translucent 720 Air unit.
Nike Air Max 1 was the first ever model with Air Max technology on visible cushioning, introduced in 1987. To mark the occasion and celebrate the 35th anniversary of the original iconic Nike Air Max 1 appropriately, the brand brought three unique Air Max 1 colorways as a reissue from the original sneaker’s true form.
Continuing the big year of celebrations for the 35th-anniversary, Nike drops a pair of summery Air Max 1s “Bright Yellow” in white with yellow detailing, and an exclusive, autumnal limited-edition Nike Air Max 1 “Magma Orange”.
NIke Air Max 90 gets a “CORDUROY” fitting.
Nike releases a remake of the most iconic Air Max, the Nike Air Max 97 “Silver Bullet” retro sneaker.
In 2022, Nike launched a new version of the famed Air Max family, the Nike Air Max Scorpion, dropped in September.
Supreme and Nike team up on a hyped Nike Air Max 98 X Nike capsule.