Brand Guide: Nike Air Max
When it comes to worldwide Sports brands, you can't get much bigger than Nike and the jewel in Nike's crown is the Air Max line. We all know those iconic trainers, but how is it that this brand came to capture the obsession of sneakerheads and casual fans all over the world? Read on to find out...
In the late eighties Nike designers Mark Parker and Tinker Hatfield lit a fire under the sneaker industry with the revolutionary design of the Nike Air Max 1 (or as it is sometimes known, the Air Max '87). The design was bold, a bright red constrasting on clean white, boosted by a midsole foot frame and heel notch. But it was that secret ingredient in the shoe's base that really got sneakerheads going. The Air Max 1 boasted the world's first visible air unit (that iconic window in the midsole).
The Air Max '90 was a natural evolution of the Air Max design, adding some undeniably cool visual touches and improved functionality. The deep blacks weaved into the red and white design added an aggressive flair to the shoe. The shoe also featured a multi-lace port system as part of the seven molded materials in the upper.
The Nike Air Classic was, as the name suggests, designed as a throwback to the original design. As a running shoe, the Classic provided extra support to the heel with a boosted Air-Sole unit in the heel and a anatomically engineered PU midsole. Whilst initially concieved as a running shoe the Nike Air Classic has experienced several redesigns with the casual market in mind.
Featuring a simplified visual design that draws attention to the 180 degree visible air unit, the 180 made a bold statement. Designed with basketball players in mind, the air unit was designed to put more spring in the wearer's step.
Designed by Tinker Hatfield as a celebration of the Air Max's universally adored visual style and technology, the Air Max '93 employed new construction techniques to improve comfort, fit and performance. The visible air unit was a clear evolution on the Air Max 180, in a design that was affectionantly dubbed the 'bubble'.
For the Air Max '95, legendary designer Sergio Lozano looked to shake things up with a radically different design that pushed the line forward with forward thinking design. The iconic swoosh was downsized significantly and relocated to the upper heel, allowing the futuristic layered design to take centre stage. The '95 provided more support than ever before and boasted additional air units in the forefoot.
The Air Max '97 was a groundbreaking moment in Air Max history. This was the first Air Max shoe to include a air sole running the entire length of the shoe. This was the first Air Max that had been specifically developed for running - a nod back to Nike's heritage as a pioneer as high performance footwear for athletes.
Sergio Lozano took centre stage once again in the 2003 edition of the Air Max. Simplifying the colour scheme brought a contemporary feel to the shoe, whilse the maintenance of all the best features of the original Air Max meant this was still guaranteed to be a classic. Again, this shoe featured a single air sole running across the length of the shoe.
2006 | NIKE AIR MAX 360 (06)
The last release from Nike, this Air Max style features a no-foam midsole - relying solely on Nike Air technology to provide runners with a hard-wearing, comfortable shoe. This version had several different updates released in following years, further securing Nike's place in the sneaker market.
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