The story behind this much coveted Air Max Zero came about when Nike Design Director Graeme McMillan came upon an old sketch by legendary designer Tinker Hatfield that pre-dated Hatfield’s iconic Air Max 1 model. According to Hatfield, the sketch was literally ahead of its time: “Not just in regards to its appearance, but also in terms of the construction it required,”.
The key detail of this unrealized trainer is the visible Air Unit that sits on the heel, for the upper Tinker used the Sock Racer technology and added support with an external strap that wraps around the heel. That design function would later come to power in the Air Huarache in 1991. However at the time, the Nike thought the sketch to be too advanced, so Tinker was forced to reinterpret the inside-out concept that was inspired by the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France, and the result was the Air Max 1.
The Air Max Timeline
Air Max 1
The first of its kind, the Air Max 1 was originally released in this OG colourway in 1987 and some speculate that it should be called the Air Max 87 to mark the year of birth. It was the first trainer to display the Air Cushioning through a small window in the sole and marked the beginning of an iconic technology that we still love to this day.
Air Max 90
The evolution on the Air Max 1 saw the arrival of the larger than life Air Max 90, initially reffered to as the Air Max III until 2000. Originally released in the “Infrared” colourway, a colourway that is still favoured by many, the 90 had an exaggerated mid sole and thermoplastic strap technology.
Air Max 93
The most noticable feature of the Air Max 93 was the 270 degree exposed Air Sole unit, revealing more than it ever had. The sole unit contained more air and therefore greater protection and comfort. It was also the first model to have a coloured sole Air Sole unit and the upper featured a sock like fit, similar to the Air Huarache, released in 1991.
Air Max 95
Nike designer Sergio Lozano drew inspiration from the human body for the Air Max 95, with the midsole representing the spine, the panels being the muscle fibres, the loopholes the ribs and the mesh is the skin. The Air Max 95 featured minimal branding with just a small Swoosh to the side heel and added more visible Air Sole units to the toe and heel.
Air Max 97
A model that looked like it was designed by NASA, the Air Max 97 was in fact inspired by the high speed Japanese Bullet Train. The sleek design and metallic silver colourway combined with the 3M reflective panels on the upper provided a space like appearance and the shoe feattured a fully visible Air Sole unit.
Air Max 180
An undderated classic, the Air Max 180 contained 50% more air than previous models and the Air Sole unit was now visible through a protected outsole underneath the trainer.
Air Max 2003
A stripped down and minimalist style, the Air Max 2003 featured a perforated, slick upper for breath-ability and a fully visible Air Sole unit.
Air Max 360
Released in 2006, the Air Max 360 offered athletes the smoothest and most durable ride ever created, thanks to an Air component that is visible from every angle. The Air Max 360 shoe allows an even greater focus on providing the ultimate comfort and performance and has no foam, no midsole – just Air.
Air Max 2015
The Air Max 2015 maintains the full length Air Sole unit like its predecessors, adding Dynamic Flywire technology for a more supportive fit. The mesh upper provides a breathable and lightweight run and the internal sock like bootie makes for a perfect fit.
With more colourways and models coming out of the Air Max family, the heritage sneaker style keeps us guessing every month of every year.