Thursday, March 26 is National Air Max day dedicated to the Swoosh’s iconic running shoe that has transcended into so much more than a sneaker for sidewalk stompers. Since 1987, Nike’s Air Max has breached out of sport into the music, art, and fashion scene.
To celebrate my go-to Nike shoe, I have chosen my Top 10 Air Max list. Some owned, some soon to cop.
Either way, these are some of my most coveted and most desirable sneakers from those guys in Oregon that told us to ‘Just Do It.’
10. Air Max 360 (2006)
The first to use a 360 degree air cushioning unit. Not the best looking sneaker, but the introduction of more Air proved a great move by Nike. Until one of the bubbles burst. True story.
9. Nike Air Max Light (1989)
The second Air Max shows the transition/metamorphosis from Air Max I to Air Max 90. Nike tucked, trimmed, and designed this version to benefit the runners, but this very underrated sneaker never quite caught the popularity of Daddy, Air Max I.
8. Nike Air Max 2011 (2011)
I don’t know what it is about this Air Max model, but it has always been appealing. This air unit is crystal, the metallic silver material glimmers, and the ‘diamond plate’ look just works. This is a clean mixture to cop.
7. Nike Air Max Flyknit (2014)
Flyknit is everywhere and that holds true to this list. I would imagine that this Flyknit/Air Max partnership will be seen for years to come. Well, at least till Nike astonishes us with something fresher. The Flyknit technology fits snug like a sock added with the cushioning unit, and you have one of the most comfortable AMs made. This ultralight AM has been extremely popular within the kicks community.
6. Nike Air Max 95 (1995)
Definitely an icon, but not the most comfortable Air Max. A number 1 choice by many on the Air Max panels. In fact, the Air Max 95 was the #1 choice of sneaker by criminals according to a 2007 UK Forensic Science Service search. Don’t try The Game for his 95s.
5. Nike Air Max III (Air Max 90) (1990)
Originally the 3, first introduced in 1990, later became the 90 in 2000. The 90 sits a little higher than most of the AMs, but remains one of the most popular shoes in the line. The Infared colorway has stood the test of time and has been a huge hit from the initial release. If you don’t have a pair of 90s, well…
4. Nike Air Max 97 (1997)
These reflective Max’s came out in 97 and introduced the line to the full length Air pillow. This was a pivotal move by Nike, thus leading to many of the future Air Max’s. The reflective coating was created with collaboration with science guys 3M and were seen on Air Penny’s and other popular Nike kicks during the late 90s.
3. Nike Air Max TN (Air Max Plus) (1998)
Nike busted out the Tuned Air tech, which essentially was a separate air pocket for different sections of the shoe. They came in an array of gradient patterns. Nike also showed the first plastic toe shield that undoubtedly would get scuffed and ruin your day. The TN’s have been re-released and can be found at most reputable sneaker shops. The Pimento-Tiger colorway sounds like something found on Sunday at The Masters, but is anything but country club.
2. Nike Air Max I (Air Max 87) (1987)
The Original. The first Nike to have visible Air cushioning, these Tinker Hatfield-designed shoes were a catalyst for the sonic-boom that is Nike Air. Still one of the cleanest and best looking silhouettes of any sneaker, it’s easy to pair with anything and make it versatile enough to show just about anywhere. If you’re looking to start a collection, start here.
1. Nike Air Max TL 2 (2006)
My all-time favorite sneaker. Clean design with the full-length Air. There’s not a lot to describe, they’re just beautiful. I got offered ‘any pair in the sto’ by a Foot Locker employee when I was wearing these. I declined. They’ve seen better days as I wore them to death. I miss them so much.