Taking advantage of the collaboration between STREETOPIA and Artwalk for the Air Max Day anniversary, let's dive into the Nike Air Max timeline, but first, let's remember a little how Nike Air, precursor of Air Max, with its revolutionary air cushion technology, was born.
In the late 1960s, aerospace engineer Franklin Rudy changed his career with the purpose of developing creative solutions for other companies and industries, including a concept that proposed the installation of small air cushions on the soles of running shoes so they could better absorb impacts.
He sold to companies the concept that the technology consisted of a flexible and resistant capsule with pressurized air that, in addition to not compromising the structure of the shoes, absorbed impact quickly and effectively without causing injuries to the feet. At the time, it was indeed very ‘futuristic’ for some, but after countless attempts, Phil Knight, one of Nike’s founders, saw the potential and then embraced the idea.
As a result of a well-studied Marketing strategy, in 1978 it was launched the Nike Tailwind, which we have written about it here, the first sneaker of the brand to offer such resource. As an experiment, only limited units of the silhouette would be sold before the brand thought of a broader large-scale launch. The 250 copies produced with the Honolulu Marathon in mind, were announced for approximately $ 50 and surprisingly they were sold out within 24 hours. With the full approval of runners and regular consumers, their goal was to increase sales and towards the end of the 80s, it was decided to explore new forms of design and innovative solutions for this successful shoe format. It was precisely when Nike needed to present the market with something to consolidate itself and ensure a competitive advantage over competing manufacturers.
After Nike's rise through sport in the 1970s, a lot happened in the world in the 1980s. Michael Jackson released the BAD album, Aretha Franklin became the first woman to be nominated for the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar scored his 36,000 points for the Los Angeles Lakers, while Michael Jordan set a new record for the Chicago Bulls for having scored 58 points during a game.
The conception of art and design also changed and the need for the brand to remain relevant in this context and also to be able to follow and adapt to changes, thus appears Tinker Hatfield, one of the greatest shoes designers who would then revolutionize the industry with his avant-garde creations. Subsequently, designer Sergio Lozano would also make a considerable contribution to the history of this competitive and creative sneaker universe, and that is what we will see now:
NIKE AIR MAX 1 - 1987
Air Max 1 is a milestone in the career of its creator, Tinker Hatfield, and for the segment scenario at the time. Launched in 1987, the silhouette paved the way for at least 30 years of revolution and evolution in the running shoe industry.
NIKE AIR WALKER MAX - 1988
Result of experiences between Nike and Tinker Hatfield to improve footwear and ensure better comfort when walking, the Nike Air Walker Max was launched.
NIKE AIR MAX LIGHT - 1989
Also known as Air Max II, Air Max Light was launched in 1989 and presented subtle changes in relation to its previous model, such as the implantation of thermoplastic strips and nylon fabric that provided better air circulation.
NIKE AIR MAX 90 - 1990
The iconic Air Max 90 remains alive and much desired by shoes enthusiasts and collectors even after more than 30 years after its launch.
NIKE AIR MAX BIG WINDOW - 1991
Similar to the Air Max 90, the Air Max BW became notable for the significant increase in the air unit and the increment of new construction techniques.
NIKE AIR MAX 180 - 1991
Launched in 1991, the model became known for being the first sneaker of the brand to have an air cushioning unit in contact with the floor.
NIKE AIR MAX ST - 1992
Perhaps one of the least successful shoes in the Air Max line for not having a 180 degree cushioning setup, the Air Max ST was launched in 1992 after the success of the Air Max 180.
NIKE AIR MAX 93 - 1993
Launched in 1993 with a modern and minimalist proposal, the silhouette innovated at the time using materials such as neoprene together with the air cushion exposed at 270 degrees on the back of the shoe. It would be relaunched in 2014 and later in 2018. It would also serve as an inspiration for the successor Air Max 270.
NIKE AIR MAX 2 - 1994
On models like the Air Max 180 and Air Max BW, Nike had already had the experience of working with a larger cushioning unit. But with the launch of the Air Max 2 in 1994, the brand took a leap forward and came up with another innovation, this time, two different cushioning systems placed in a single air unit.
NIKE AIR MAX 2 LIGHT - 1994
The Nike Air Max 2 arrived in 1994 combining the characteristics of a perfect performance sneaker loaded with style and it could also be worn all day providing great comfort.
NIKE AIR MAX 94 - 1994
One of the most interesting models in the line launched in 1994, the Air Max 94, oozed comfort with the cushion unit exposed at 180 degrees, in addition to combining quality materials such as suede and leather.
NIKE AIR MAX 95 - 1995
One of the most popular models in the Air Max line to date. When launched, it again brought innovation and comfort to runners with cushioning units spread across the front of the shoe, in addition to the traditional ones located towards the heel.
NIKE AIR MAX 96 - 1996
The sensibility of designer Sergio Lozano was easily perceived in the Air Max 96, especially on the sides of the shoe, as it was inspired by ocean waves.
NIKE AIR MAX 97 - 1997
Another important work by Sergio Lozano would emerge 10 years after the technology that revolutionized the shoes industry. This time, instead of having only the air cushion placed in the heel area, almost the entire extension of the foot was filled with cushioning. This shoe is still one of the most sought after by fashion and design enthusiasts.
NIKE AIR MAX 98 - 1998
Still bearing some elements and the same comfort as the Air Max 97, the Air Max 98 caught on with anime fans by its resemblance to the RX-78-2 robot from the Japanese anime franchise 'Mobile Suit Gundam'.
NIKE AIR MAX PLUS - 1998
Known for its warm tones in degrade and for resembling the colors of a tiger's skin, it is one of the most well-known colors of the Air Max Plus. The model was originally launched in 1998 and relaunched in 2015.
NIKE AIR MAX DELUXE - 1999
Launched in 1999 on the same platform as the Air Max 97, the Air Max Deluxe impressed with its design, which was clearly ahead of its time.
NIKE AIR MAX 2003
Taking advantage of the new turn of the millennium, Sergio Lozano lived up to the moment and bet on a very futuristic design thinking about a light, comfortable and maximum protection solution through the usage of carbon fiber.
NIKE AIR MAX 360 - 2006
Launched in 2006, the Air Max had a full cushioning system with a 360 degree view, in addition, it relied on the use of Dynamic Fit engineering to keep the foot steady, whether for walking or running purposes.
NIKE AIR MAX FLYKNIT - 2014
For the first time, Nike combined the innovative Nike Flyknit technology with Air Max cushioning. There was much ado at the time of its launch, and it also integrated Flywire technology, an option that uses high-resistance wires that act as suspension bridge cables, providing a lot of precision and comfort.
NIKE AIR MAX ZERO - 2015
Developed by Tinker Hatfield and launched in 2016 (30 years after its original first design), Air Max Zero celebrated the beginning of everything and the person responsible for the birth of Air Max 1, that is the reason why it was produced with a coveted and memorable colorway.
NIKE AIR MAX 2015 - 2015
Designed in 2015 for running, the Nike Air Max would be another example that features the Flywire technology.
NIKE AIR MAX VAPORMAX - 2017
The Nike Air Max Vapormax is one of those that proclaimed a new revolution in the cushioning system, as it is one of the lightest models made by the brand due to the quality of the materials used in its design.
NIKE AIR MAX 720 - 2019
Released in 2019, Air Max 720, was one of the biggest launches of the brand, its marketing proposal was to preserve the design of the Air Max line, but with one of the largest cushioning units ever created, presenting more futuristic shapes and comfort for daily use.
NIKE AIR MAX 2090 - 2020
Launched in 2020, for the 30 year-anniversary of Nike Air Max, the Air Max 2090 was released in 2020 from the concept of one of the great classics in the history of shoes, the Nike Air Max 90.
NIKE AIR MAX EVO - 2021
The most recent and last launch of this timeline, is called the Air Max Evo, and it is for sure the shoes of the moment thanks to the technological resources used, in addition to the references of other Air Max icons used in this silhouette.
Don't miss the new launches of the Max Air shoes line and so many other silhouettes at www.artwalk.com.br and happy Air Max Day.