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Air Max 97


The history of Air Max 97

The Air Max 97, as its name suggests, was first introduced in 1997. It was the brainchild of designer Christian Tresser, a year after the mixed reception of the Air Max 96. Like its predecessor, this Nike sneaker was shunned at its launch by regulars of the swoosh brand, as well as by the sneaker community. Too futuristic a pair of shoes? Perhaps.

Although it was criticized at the time of its release, it nonetheless represents a considerable advance in shoe design Nike. Packed with technological innovations, it was the first silhouette to feature a sole composed entirely of air units, thanks to an innovative new process: blow-molding to create the 180° sole we know today.

Credit for this innovation goes to Tinker Hatfield, the undisputed designer behind the Air Max 1, who initiated the movement with this pair of sneakers, the first model in the Air Max range to feature an air cushion in the sole. This range of shoes was to feature visible air bubbles in the sole, its trademark. Hence the name: "Air Max".

Design inspirations for the Nike Air Max 97 OG

The design of Nike Air Max 97 was inspired by many factors. Tresser took the structure of the Air Zoom Spiridon and rethought it with a modern twist. With this in mind, and to give the pair a more dynamic, futuristic look, the Air Max 97 men's upper imitates the look of the Japanese high-speed train: the Shinkansen.

He also imagines 3M reflective strips on both sides of the pair, recalling the movement a drop propagates with speed, like on the windshield of a fast-moving car. Yes, it's all about detail and precision in this pair of Air Maxes.

What's more, the silver-gray color of the original Air Max 97 Silver Bullet was inspired not only by the Shinkansen, but also by the materials used in mountain bikes, namely aluminum and polished titanium. Two years later, its sister color, "Gold Bullet", was released, and OG versions continue to appear.

Finally, the last futuristic detail of the AM97: its laces! Unlike the air bubbles in the sole, the lacing system has been hidden. In fact, its eyelet system has been hidden in the sneaker's upper. This novelty once again reinforces its futuristic look. The shoe is also aggressive, thanks to the bright red swooshes on the tongue and sides, contrasting with the rest of the original pair.

The Air Max 97, popular with collaborators

Like many of Nike's iconic models, the Nike Air Max 97 OG has been the subject of numerous collaborations with designers and brands. These collaborations have resulted in limited editions that are highly sought-after by collectors and sneaker-addicts alike. These include the Air Max 97 Off White, notably the "Menta" and "The Ten" versions, imbued with the imagination of the late designer Virgil Abloh.

The Air Max 97 Comme des Garçons was particularly successful, with the release of the CDG Black and CDG White colorways.

Despite more than 20 years in existence, the Air Max 97 OG remains a favorite with sneakerheads and a continuing craze among urban fashion fans. Nike has continued to reissue it over the years, offering OG versions as well as revisited and modernized versions. The Air Max 97 Air Sprung Grey Celery and the Air Max 97 Bred are the two best-sellers in our catalog.