The Nike Air Max lineage runs deep and comes in several forms. Whether or not a sneaker implements either Air Max, Air Max 2, Total Air or Tuned Air, its construction and appearance is both analogous and instantly recognizable. The Nike Air Max signature is a staple in modern-day pop culture having broken the misconceived notion that runners should only be used for that – running. The Nike Air Max proved many of those inaccuracies incorrect as the shoes gained prominence as an integral accessory in fashion wear. The Nike Air Max broke many barriers in the sneaker realm and propelled Nike to elite status amongst its competitors. In celebration of Air Max Day, the folks at Sole Obsessed have chosen eight of our favorite Air Max silhouettes since the inception of Tinker Hatfield’s brainchild, the Air Max 1.
Air Max 180 ‘Ultramarine’
Sail/Ultramarine – Solar Red – Blk
Originally released in 1991, the Air Max 180 is known to be the first shoe with 180 degrees of visible air. The AM 180 displayed 180 degrees of visible cushioning beneath the midsole. Aside from such innovative technology, the shoe stood out due to it’s vibrant color way.
“Hands down, the Nike Air Max 180 Ultramarine color way is my favorite Air Max silhouette. I’m a big fan of white shoes with a pop of color, and these fit the bill. I managed to pick up the hybrid Lunar 180 variation in the Ultramarine color way a few years back before the originals retroed. Although the Air Max 180’s are less frequently seen on the streets in comparison to other Air Max models, its influence cannot be denied, as Nike has used the Ultramarine colorway on other sneakers recently.” – Skyla Pope
Air Max 90 ‘Infrared’
Sail/Cool Grey- Medium Grey – Infrared
Originally debuting in 1990, the Air Max III/Air Max 90, was released in a “Hyvent Orange” colorway. While recognized by their “Infrared” nickname, the original Air Max ’90 never actually sported a true Infrared hue. The 2003 European & Asia exclusive version of the Air Max 90 was the first ever to formally sport “Infrared.” The 2003 AM 90 tones down use of orange and sports the “Infrared” we’ve become familiar with.
“The Air Max 90 Infrared will always be a staple in my collection. I had a chance to purchase two pairs back in 2010 when Nike re released the shoe in its original form. This shoe goes great with anything you wear and can be worn throughout the year no matter what the weather is like. The Air Max 90 in the infrared will always be a classic to me no matter how many times Nike decides to rerelease them”. – Alex Fajardo
“Even though I don’t own these, I’ve always been an admirer of the Air Max 90 in the Infrared edition. I typically wear a monochromatic neutral color palette so the color way fits in with my personal style. The Infrared accents give them enough pop to turn heads without being too busy or distracting. Despite all of the updated versions releasing these days, the original Air Max 90 is still king.” – Skyla Pope
Air Max 1
Sail/University Red – Neutral Grey – Black
The beginning of the Air Max series…the Air Max 1. Designed by Tinker Hatfield, this shoe revolutionized the running shoe with the first ever visible air unit.
“I didn’t really choose this on the look, to be honest, the bottom always seemed kind of bulky to me. The reason I picked this…they started a revolution. This sneaker, for all intents and purposes, has a hole in the mid-sole. That is incredibly hard to market but after the mass consumption of pop culture in the 80’s, it was time to get running…and Air Max was on the forefront. Now that little hole in the sole is in every other running shoe.” – Stess
Air Max 95 ‘Neon’
Cool Grey/Neon Yellow
For the AM 95, designer Sergio Lozano drew inspiration from the human anatomy, specifically the spine, ribs, and tendons. Accents of Neon Yellow made these an instant classic!
“A sleeker look than its previous models made this shoe more fashion forward. By that I mean, I am a music head, and damn near every rapper wore these. In the 90’s I was rocking Red, Black and Green wrist bands because my favorite pro-black rappers were doing it. And I didn’t even know what it meant. This shoe is no exception. Rappers liked it, so it made me pay attention. Plain and simple.” – Stess
Air Max 95 3M ‘Air Attack’ Pack
A creative twist to the iconic Air Max 95 silhouette, this version features a upper constructed of 3M material.
“The 3M formula has yet to be executed to perfection and is notably seen in certain colorways in the form of accents or minor hits on a shoe. However, the idea of having a predominantly 3M upper was not as common as it is now. The Nike Air Max 95 “3M Attack” stood apart from the rest from a cosmetic standpoint. Featuring 3M detailing throughout the entire base with Red accents throughout, this Nike Air Max 95 color way would shine at the sight of light making it an instant neck-breaker. Released back in 2010 as part of the “Air Attack” Collection, the “3M Attack” is one of my most cherished kicks in my collection.” – Jose Mota
Air Max Plus ‘Orange Blaze’
Tour Yellow/Team Orange/Black
This Nike Air Max Plus was the first shoe to incorporate Nike’s Tuned Air system. This particular colorway featured a gradient mesh upper fading from Yellow to Orange with Black support structures, Black mudguard, and a clear toe cover.
“The Nike Air Max Plus is easily forgotten in Air Max history but that doesn’t stop it from it being my favorite of them all. The model was born in 1998 from a partnership between Nike and Footlocker and deviated from the traditional Air Max formula. Whereas most other Air Max models were viewed more of an accessory to a wardrobe than an actual runner, the Nike Air Max Plus looked like what a running shoe should actually look it. The Nike Air Max Plus introduced Tuned Air technology to the world of running wear by varying the Psi in the air bag to the benefit of the wearer. The Orange Blaze colorway of this shoe is just striking by all aspects. It featured a blend of Tour Yellow and Team Orange hits with Black detailing throughout. In addition, the trademark stripes on the upper surrounding the swoosh along with the color theme made the shoe seem tiger-esque in a manner that made this model and colorway an instant classic in my mind.” – Jose Mota
Air Max 360
Tour Yellow/Team Orange/Black
The AM 360 realized Nike’s initial vision of running completely on Air with a thermoformed Air unit and laser-cut upper.
“The Air Max 360 will always be a neck breaker to me especially during the summer time. I remembered when I first saw these at my local Footlocker they were calling my name. So I made sure I had to get good grades through the fall so that my parents could buy me a pair. It felt amazing when I got my pair, I wore them once a week to make sure they wouldn’t get messed up at school. If Nike were to re release these tomorrow I’d probably line up for them just to get that feeling again.” – Alex Fajardo
Air Max 95 ‘Comet’
White/Comet Red-Neutral Grey-Medium Grey
An OG colorway of the Air Max 95, the ‘Comet’ features a predominantly white base, along with black, red, and grey accents along the upper.
“One of my favorites, this rendition of the Air Max 95 differs from the gradient design of other AM 95 colorways. The shoes grey and red accents really stand out against the shoes white upper, which was not popular among AM 95 models.” – Maurice Smith