Released ahead of the Air Max 90’s 30th anniversary

Released ahead of the Air Max 90’s 30th anniversary, the Air Max 2090’s design story can be traced back to its iconic ancestor. Retaining the mudguard, cassette and heel logo found on the AM90, the fundamental difference between the two pairs is the imposing Air unit at the 2090’s heel, containing 200% more air. According to Nike senior creative director Dylan Raasch, the idea was to create a lightweight update of the original AM90 without compromising its DNA. The Air Jordan 6 is special to Jumpman fans because it was the silhouette that MJ was wearing when he won his first (of six) NBA championships back in 1991. It was also designed by the legendary Tinker Hatfield of Air Max 1 fame, and unlike a lot of his other signature sneakers with the Swoosh, Jordan offered a lot of input for this one. For example, he really wanted the front of the shoe to look like his own personal Porsche 911.

Because of course! Below, we’ve gone back through the years to survey the storied history of Air Max, including all the seminal models and what you need to know about them. In the late ’90s, Italian ravers and graffiti artists became so enthralled with the original Air Max 97 that they gave the shoe its own nickname, “Le Silver.” In France, the Air Max Plus garnered its own colloquialism: “La Requin,” or “The Shark,” due to the shoe’s sleek profile, while Americans recall The Game name-dropping Air Max 95s on “Hate It Or Love It” and Redman spitting “Get you steppin’ in your Air Max” on “I’ll Bee Dat.” Likewise, fans of English grime grew up watching their favorite emcees like Skepta and Dizzee Rascal laced up in Air Max sneakers. Jordan Brand have long brought new colourways that go on to become staples for the Jumpman. ‘Cool Grey’, ‘Racer Blue’, and ‘Lucky Green’, to name a few, have made their way across different Air Jordan silhouettes, and the ‘Toro Bravo’ colourway is no different. And later this month, the bright red raging bull hue is set to hit the Air Jordan 6. I was only in my early 20s at the time, and I didn’t really understand that the Swoosh was super precious, and that we needed to be precious with it. So I was just said, ‘Screw it, let’s try it. I think it’ll be dope.’ Nike designer Sergio Lozano must have been an outdoorsman at heart. It’s pretty easy to see the inspiration in the receding mesh panels along the side of the 96, the waves of the ocean.

Much like 2006’s Air Max 360, juxtaposition was the name of the game for 2014’s Flyknit Air Max. The tooling came in the form of the dynamic, flexible, ultra-comfortable Max Air cushioning that debuted in 2013, while the upper was constructed from lightweight and breathable Flyknit for a minimalism-meets-maximalism design that was actually the perfect marriage of two flagship Swoosh technologies. The Air Max 720 incorporated the largest Air pocket to ever feature on a Nike silhouette at the time of its debut, clocking in at 38 mm (for context, the 270 measured 32mm). Exaggerated tooling defines the sneaker, with the rest of the build falling in line accordingly. As a final aesthetic flourish, undulating lines—described as radiating energy that occurs in the natural world—adorn the upper. The Nike Air Max Plus marked the introduction of Tuned Air. Tuned Air is a series of individual Air cushioning bags, calibrated to differing PSI. This Air Max design was conceived by designer Sean McDowell, who created the shoe’s signature gradient colorways after witnessing a particularly inspirational Florida sunset. “I hung out on the Florida beaches and just thought and sketched—it was one of my most creative times,” said McDowell. The upper’s stripes are inspired by palm trees, while the shank plate is inspired by a whale’s tail. Of course, it wasn’t just the sound of 120ish people chewing that filled Chin Chin. A full musical medley from Melbourne’s finest disc jockeys, singers and performers tag-teamed a killer setlist. JPS, Billy Davis, Jerome Farah, The Menace, Young Shogun, DJ Smilez and NayNay each enthralled the crowd, playing an eclectic mix of ambient, neo-soul and funky house with back-to-back raps sandwiched between. Accompanying visuals by rising projection extraordinaire Isaiah Morris hypnotised eyes and locked them on NB stories. This year marks the Air Max Plus’ 25th birthday, and to celebrate this massive milestone, the American sportswear company has been dropping a range of coveted colourways, just like this one.

They’re also be bringing back the OG ‘Hyper Blue’ (which is a firm favourite among UK sneakerheads), and introducing some big, big collabs with some big, big brands as well. Expect the Air Jordan 1 High OG ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ to cause the same kinda buzz when it drops on May 20. Swinging to Nike, the Snkrs app, and select stockists for £170, these are gonna sell out. Fast. After the ceremony, as an August 1992 Sports Illustrated article outlined, Jordan ‘tossed his award suit to NBA Public Relations director Brian McIntyre after the ceremony’ (who is now partnering with Sotheby’s to sell the piece). Underfoot, the chunky TN Air Max midsole has been fully blacked out, but it’s accented with a red-to-blue gradient. The colourway is then finished with a single Nike Swoosh in white, which is very similar to Peter Parker’s mask, more specifically, his eyes. At that time, we were trying to tell stories and educate people on the fact that SB had been around a long time – well before 2020.

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