Fresh Air: The Story Of The Nike Air Max

It’s been 35 years since Nike first introduced its Air Cushioning technology. Then in 1987, Nike flipped the whole thing on its head. Designers Tinker Hatfield and Mark Parker pushed sneaker technology years ahead, showcasing and enlarging the midsole cushioning so people could see it. The shoe had a hole in it; Nike Air Max was born. It was something unique, revolutionary even, and so different people actually questioned whether it would even stay together. Would the Air Bag puncture? They wanted to know. Would it fall apart? Would it even work? It’s funny how silly all that sounds now because, for runners, it changed the game.

Since then we’ve seen classics like the Air Max 95, Air Max 90, and Air Max 1 come… and never really go. Go into any city in America and you’ll still see everyone wearing them, from young teenagers still searching for identities to grizzled, wily sneaker game vets.

As Nike says, “Air Max is more than a shoe.” Air Max is “Bo Knows.” Air Max is “Revolution” and the Beatles. Air Max is years of innovation and over 50 sneaker models. Air Max is Marion Frank Rudy, the man contracted by Nike to actually create the Air concept. Over the years, the line has been many things, and has lent its talents to signature sneakers for the likes of Penny Hardaway, Ken Griffey Jr., and LeBron James. In late 2013, we saw the tech combine with the future to create the Nike Flyknit Air Max, sporting an entire Flyknit upper. This created the most flexible Air Max sneaker ever. Then earlier this summer, the Air Max Lunar1 debuted as the lightest sneaker ever in the line, combining Nike Lunarlon foam with the traditional Air Max technology to update the original classic for a new generation.

Even though everything started with a basic white and red colorway — inspired by the Le Centres George Pompidou on Tinker’s trip to Paris — Air Max branched off to do more than just the traditional. We’ve seen tiger prints, and we’ve seen reptile prints. We’ve even seen “Livestrong” colorways. And this summer, Champs Sports is bringing you exclusive colorways for all of the latest Air Max models, like the Flyknit-based Air Max 2014, the Max Wright and Fingertrap Max, and shoes featuring the iconic Tuned Air that first debuted on the Air Max TN.

Check out the store now to see for yourself, and embrace history this summer by wearing what nobody thought possible 35 years ago.

Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney

*** *** ***

Nike Air Max 95

Nike Air Max Plus

Nike Air Max Wright