THE EVOLUTION OF VISIBLE AIR
Words by Bossman75
You may have noticed that it’s Air Max day tomorrow. As part of the anniversary Nike have a great article on The Evolution Of Visible Air with quotes from David Forland, Nike’s Director of Cushioning Innovation that’s well worth a read. The interview and archive photos are brilliant and just as captivating as they were back in the day. A great bit of footwear history especially for anyone old enough to have witnessed the phenomenon first hand. What’s less interesting however is the reveal of the Air Max Zero. This would have been much better kept as a concept and I feel is an unnecessary release. I guess the hype surrounding it on this anniversary will ensure it sells out, and then appears again via resellers to anyone who may have actually wanted a pair.
I still believe the OG Air Max 1 is the best looking shoe of the collection and to release something that was deemed not good enough some thirty-plus years ago only highlights the power of Nike’s extraordinarily influential media machine. The design appears to be geared towards the new generation of Nike wearers, not unlike the Trainerendor rather than a first draft of what would become an iconic silhouette. Until we’re given access to the entire design archive by Tinker Hatfield we won’t be able to fully understand the timeline. It will no doubt prove to be a solid business decision, I just find it strange and possibly being too cynical.
I remember not long after getting my first pair of Air Max 90s the Air Max 180 were introduced, and they literally blew my mind. I snagged the brochure with the rabbit on that came with each pair at the time and spent hours marvelling at the imagery. I don’t recall any explanation of how they achieved it at the time so this sheds some light on it. In my young and impressionable mind the 180-degree visible Air-Sole was as transcendental as man walking on the moon.
“The idea was much easier said than done. The Air Max 180 was one of the most difficult Air Max sneakers to create.” David Forland
Anything after the Air Max 97 should be erased, just re-release the OG colourways ad infinitum and we’re all good. I’d go as far as retire the Air Max from future collaborations and dead any so called advancements in the technology under the Air Max umbrella. I don’t see how the Air sole can go any further, if anything it’s already gone too far and the once fresh aesthetic is now an eyesore. Despite the dubious release of the Air Max Zero and whatever other monstrous concoctions Nike decide to create around the visible air unit in the future, the imminent OG Patch Pack is actually very well executed and the genius part is the packaging makes it a buy one to rock and one to stock decision.
I can’t think of an equivalent subject more debatable between sneakerheads than which Air Max is the best. Maybe which Air Jordan though I feel that’s more niche. It is however another example of Nike’s ability to sell water to a well, using something that was once innovative to push recent releases that damage the legacy of the original. Whatever your favourite is make sure you celebrate on Thursday by wearing a pair and just pray for sun. I wonder if #AirMaxDay will generate greater interest than #yeezyboost, we won’t have to wait long to find out.