The Nike Air Max 97, 25 Years and Counting

18.02.22 General

With great discipline comes superior ideas. A forward-thinking masterpiece. Timeless and ahead of its time, 25 years later, here we are still talking about the Nike Air Max 97. Sneaker junkies across the globe unite as we briefly educate you on what you need to know about this iconic footwear emblem.  

The year 1997. A pinnacle moment in sneaker history saw the birth of the Nike Air Max 97. Visible air continued to shine but this time throughout the entire midsole as well as a hidden lace up system which enabled Nike to innovate a shoe model loved by many to this day. Air Max was first born in 1987 through Tinker Hatfield’s daring design on the Air Max 1 (originally known as just ‘Air Max’ with experts not knowing how legendary the first of its kind would become therefore naming it the Air Max 1) – a shoe which to many changed lifestyle culture and foot comfort forever. Fast-forward 10 years later and here we are with the updated/futuristic 97 iteration of the legendary line.

As Tinker Hatfield and Sergio Lozano stepped away from Air Max to focus on more performance-based and flagship Nike footwear, the reins were handed over to Christian Tresser – little did he know this moment in his career would stand the test of time amongst sneaker evolution. With a new millennium approaching and technology advancing it was vital Nike kept one step ahead of its competition. Tresser, taking inspiration from rain drops, nods to the Japanese Bullet Train, automobiles, CD’s, the waves of the sea and of course mountain bike frames – the Nike Air Max 97 emerged. 

The shoe was a huge hit in Italy, especially the neck-breaking Silver Bullet which had a significant regional elegance to it with a sense of luxury – a fan favourite to the always stylish Italians. This version of the shoe also takes reference from the infamous, high speed, Japanese bullet train which revolutionised the way people travel. With the help of Japanese culture and design, Tresser had a solid base to work from in producing a new vision for Air Max under high pressure and big expectations. The 2 year earlier success of the Nike Air Max 95 (the 110’s to us in the UK), Japan also helped the evolution and innovation of sneaker culture and with this demand, came the need for upgraded premium releases. Connected fact: The small boutique street-style stores in Japan also inspired Footpatrol London’s earlier shop interior decor.

2017 brought the silhouette’s 20th anniversary, a welcomed return with many new retroed versions of some classic colourways, along with some clean in-line and premium itterations, plus some new high heat releases alongside. The year revived the AM97, fueling sneaker addicts to acquire pairs they had once forgotten about. 2017 will be looked back at a key time for the Air Max model. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled on the Footpatrol launches app calendar for what’s coming up in the Nike Air Max line. 

Over the years Nike has come up with some truly outstanding Air Max pairs worthy of any sneaker rotation or collection. Here are a few of our favourites picked by the team over at Footpatrol. 

Nike Air Max 97 Silver Bullet (See Below)

There have been a few versions of the AM97 Silver Bullet since its beginnings in 1997 – the colourway even inspired further silhouettes in the Nike production line such as TN’s, Zero’s and Jewel’s. The jarring colours scheme inspired by the Japanese Bullet Train and the ripples from a water droplet sets precedent to the Air Max 97 DNA.

Over the years, the Air Max 97 Silver Bullet has retroed only a handful of times since its original release, hence its consistent high demands from consumers and sneaker enthusiasts alike. The iteration from 2012 released along a pack of original Air Max silhouettes and had a slight change with its monochrome black outsole. After its hiatus, the AM97 returned in 2016 with Italy being host to its pre-release due to its huge popularity in the 90’s. With that being said, Nike released the AM97 Silver Bullet in Italian retailers only. The ‘La Silver’ came with special badges which the inline Silver Bullets in 2017 didn’t. In addition to the Italian market, on a separate occasion, a special edition was released with the Italian flag on the heel tab and tongue in very limited numbers.

Nike Air Max 1/97 Sean Wotherspoon – 2017/2018 (See Below) 

The most important Air Max Day to this day? The Nike Air Max 1/97 x Sean Wotherspoon for Vote Forward in 2017. Wotherspoon competed alongside our very own former Footpatrol London store employee Alexandra Hackett [a.k.a @miniswoosh]. Sean’s shoe boasted a hybrid of Air Max 1 and 97 whilst structured with contrasting corduroy materials. The campaign elevated Sean’s career as not only a lover of vintage fashion at his consignment stores Round Two but also as a new and upcoming sneaker designer – which has now seen him venture onto adidas. Check out Sean’s latest releases here.

Nike Air Max 97 x Undefeated (UNDFTD) – 2017 (See Below)

Undefeated never seem to miss when it comes to an Air Max collaboration. In 2017 we saw black, white and green versions of the shoe. Not easy to spot nowadays, a rare commodity and a sneaker many people wish they had bought. Undefeated branding ran through the waves as well as their iconic logo on the tongue of the sneaker. 

Nike Air Max 97 x Skepta 2017 (See Below)

A key player in Nikes locker – another 2017 release saw our very own UK resident MC and Grime artist Skepta collaborate with Nike on a jaw dropping colour scheme on a Ultra variation of the 97 which boosted his recognition not only in music but in fashion, design and all round pop-culture status. Skepta has since gone on to make several key Nike models including a Nike Air Max Deluxe as well as a Air Max Tailwind V.

Around that time, Nike were heavily pushing hybrid models – constructing 2 silhouettes into one. Nike’s GS sizing were hybrids at a time where Air Max 95’s would come with an Air Max 93 midsole, so these releases weren’t anything new. With the Skepta collaboration, Nike took the Air Max BW and the Air Max 97 to create a Paris inspired project. From the contrasting Swooshes taken from the French Flag to the mesh material, the AM97/BW paid homage to the love Paris and Skepta have for each other.

Nike Air Max 97 Gold (See Below)

If silver does not take your fancy, don’t worry Nike has you covered with a gold version of the Air Max 97 Silver Bullet. The metallic hints make this shoe very noticeable on the streets. The dark red swoosh Nike branding reinforces the style’s strong status. The shoe also comes in a strong patterned Italian version. 

Nike Air Max 97 Baroque Brown

A stand out colourway pasted in earthy tones with a speckled midsole, contrasted with the full length Air Max bubble, the Baroque Brown 97’s are a must-have pair. From the bottom of the outsole to the top of the upper, the waves fade lighter in tone giving a stand-out finish. Once more, a premium suede has been used rather than the favoured metallic prowess recognised to many AM 97 fanatics. 

Nike Air Max 97 Puerto Rico – 2021

In more recent times we have seen the Air Max 97 Puerto Rico hit the shelves. Similar to the Italian version, the design features Puerto Rican flags as well as a subtle change in the swoosh embroidery.

Nike Air Max 97 Rio Jacquard Brazil – 2016 

A wild pair but one which will now set you back a fair few pennies since its release in 2016. Carnival vibes throughout are just what Brazilian people are known for – this shoe is meant to be worn on the streets, joined by good people, music and dance. The digital speckle highlights this shoe, uplifting its presence whilst the pine green reminds you of its South American heritage.

Nike Air Max 97 Hyperfuse Hasta – 2012 (See Below)

In 2010, Nike introduced its latest innovation of Hyperfuse technology used in its footwear.

Eliminating its traditional cut-and-sew method, three layered composite and durable materials are fused together using heat and pressure to give off a lightweight and breathable feel. In 2012, Nike relied heavily on Hyperfuse and applied it on their classic models with the Air Max 97 being one of them. The hyperfuse material is used all over the upper with a combination of open mesh for maximum breathability.

Nike Air Max 97 Kashima Antler – 2006 (See Below)

In 2006, Nike released the ‘Kashima Antler’s Pack’ which was an ode to Japan’s most successful professional football team, the Kashima Antlers. Nike applied the inspiration on 3 icons, the AM95, AM97 as well as (at the time) newly innovated Air Max 360. The Air Max 97 combines subtle tones of black and grey. It also boasted the much-beloved elephant print on the upper with a teal-colored Max Air unit and Kashima Antler branding on the tongue and heel tab.

Download our Footpatrol launches app here for all the latest news and releases. 

Shop the latest Air Max styles here.

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Nike Air Force 1 | A Brief Look Into the AF1 and The Cultural Icon It Has Become Today

29.12.21 General

With the 40th Anniversary of the Nike Air Force 1 just around the corner, we wanted to take you back to where it all started.

Culturally accepted worldwide amongst athletes and everyday society, the Nike Air Force 1 is undoubtedly one of the Beaverton brand’s greatest sneaker silhouettes of all time. The shoe first took flight in 1982 as a court shoe, boasting Nike Air technology. Named after the President of America’s private plane, this shoe offered both protection and flight. Designed by Bruce Kilgore, the Nike Air Force 1 continues to be popular amongst sneaker purists and everyday wearers to this day. Besides Air technology the sneakers boasted new and innovative features such as a cup sole, exceeding durability within an athlete’s gameplay. A threaded outsole also helped basketballers movements so they could fulfil their sporting potential.

Similar to drop culture today, the Air Force 1 was initially released in a ‘run,’ meaning a limited time of which the shoe was available on store shelves. Once they were gone, they were gone. This meant as an owner, acquiring a pair gave you top tier status and bragging rights within an emerging sneaker culture.

The relationship between music and sport, specifically hip-hop and basketball within New York, in the 80s and 90s, had an ever-lasting effect on the connection between sneakers and consumers. Nicknamed the “Uptowns” amongst inner-city youth, especially in Harlem, New York, the AF1 continues to release head-turning colourways, with eye-catching colour blocking schemes. The sneaker is especially important to the city of Baltimore; when Nike was planning to stop producing the shoe in ’84, the residents helped it live on. The community was later rewarded in 2017 with a “For Baltimore” release that pays homage to their efforts which essentially helped it live on to become a classic. Walking down any street, in any city, you are bound to spot a pair of white on white AF1 Lows within a matter of seconds. A timeless silhouette with a cult like status. A sneaker which is essential to any footwear rotation.

Thanks to collaborations the value behind sneakers still continues to drive an ever-growing market. The Scarr’s Pizza x Nike Air Force 1 collaboration, designed in 2019 by DJ Clark Kent was another coveted pair of sneakers rumoured to have only around 48 pairs made. If you were lucky enough to make it on “the list” amongst Scarr’s Pizza friends & family, you could now own a pair of sneakers worth over $100,000. From collaborations with the likes of Supreme, atmos and Playstation, there are plenty of rare releases for serious sneaker collectors. In a recent Sotheby’s auction we saw a pair of 2009, Nike Air Force 1 ‘Entourage x Undefeated x Fukijama Gold’ sell for a staggering $88,200, proving the model’s 40 year tenure is still very much in demand amongst sneaker enthusiasts and pop-culture enthusiasts. 

An ultimate canvas. The Nike Air Force 1 is crisper than ever. 2022 is going to be a big year for the Air Force 1, with plenty of new models set to hit the shelves. With the re-emergence of the AF1 Mid, this can only be seen as the beginning of a big year for the style. The recent Air Force 1 Sculpt pays homage to the AF1s first release on the courts back in 1982, we recently visited father and daughter duo Chris Bramble and Freya Bramble-Carter, read here. 

Shop the latest styles here.

Nigel Sylvester x Nike Air Force 1 Low iD – 2018

Back in 2018, Nygel Sylvester, professional BMX rider, teamed up with Nike to create two iconic pairs of NIKEiD Air Force 1s. The recently signed Nike athlete took inspiration from his home city of New York to create two draw-dropping models, perfect for any collectors sneaker rotation. 

Nike Air Force 1 Low NYC Procell Wildcard – 2019

2019 brought the Nike Air Force 1 Procell, a sneaker which resembled New York City as a blank canvas to which you can create almost anything and fulfill true creative potential. Nike’s NYC Editions collaboration series featured this shoe which was a standout in the collection. 

Nike Air Force 1 Low ’07 Craft Dark Beetroot – 2021

A no doubt slept on Air Force 1 model for sure. The Dark Beetroot colourway was straight forward in design but expressed jaw-dropping premium materials and qualities, right down to the metallic silver finished lace dubraes.

Nike Air Force 1 Low G-Dragon Peaceminusone Para-Noise – 2019

A stand-out collaboration which will stand the test of time amongst sneaker enthusiasts. The G-Dragon x Nike Air Force 1 Para-Noise from 2019 is unique in almost every element. Over time the peel away upper reveals G-Dragon’s artwork whilst boasting the PEACEMINUSONE daisy logo embroidered on the tongue taking you back to the artist’s South Korean heritage. 

Nike Lunar Force 1 Low Acronym – 2017

In 2017, Errolson Hugh’s took his iteration on the Air Force 1 to new levels. The fashion forward design came in a triple white colourway with a lunar midsole. Features also included a zippered closure along the sides.

Nike Air Force 1 Low ’07 White Obsidian – 2019

One of the cleanest Air Force 1 colourways around. 2019 brought the Air Force 1 White Obsidian. A sneaker which can be worn with almost any outfit, the gum out-soles fitted with a crisp white upper and a eye-popping black swoosh help this shoe really stand out. 

Nike Air Force 1 Low 3M Snake – 2021

Initially released in 2001, the Nike Air Force 1 Low 3M Snake (2021) pays homage to its previous predecessor. Silver 3M fabric laces the sneaker to hint reflective features. Not one to be missed.  

Nike Air Force 1 Low CLOT Blue Silk – 2019

When it comes to Nike collaborations Edison Chen’s CLOT never seems to miss the mark. The Air Force 1 CLOT is drowned in luxurious silk embossed with a traditional chinese pattern. Inspired by the concept of Yin and Yang this sneaker was rumoured to be immensely limited. 

Nike Air Force 1 Mid QS Jewel NYC White Midnight Navy – 2021

A re-introduction to the Air Force 1 Mid, the recent Jewel Quickstrike model inspired by the streets of NYC is a favoured shoe amongst sneaker enthusiasts. The clean colourway makes it very wearable within any fashion setting. We still have some sizes remaining in this style here.

Nike Air Force 1 High Sculpt White Silver – 2021

The Air Force 1 Sculpt takes things back to its most minimal stages. With strapless ankles and an aged mid-sole this sneaker takes you back to the AF1s early beginnings. Shop the style here.

Nike Air Force 1 Low Taiwan – 2018

A retro of all retro’s. 2018 saw one of the Air Force 1s greatest color schemes of all time re-release. Finished in patent leather this sneaker was a must have amongst AF1 collectors and sneaker loyalists.

Nike Air Force 1 Low Retro Cocoa Snake – 2018

Like the 3M snake, the ‘Cocoa Snake’ was also originally released in 2001 as a Japanese exclusive. Legendary ATMOS creative director Hirofumi Kojima confirmed the sneakers re-introduction to sneaker shelves in 2018. Head-turning snakeskin panelling makes this shoe unique in every possibility. A must have when it comes to AF1s and their historical status. 

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