Following the immense success of Nike’s “Silver Bullet” and “Metallic Gold” colourways of the fan favourite Air Max 97 (pictured below), the swoosh brand are seemingly placing far more emphasis on their new – yet old – signature shoe as we come to the tail end of 2017.
Owing its namesake to the year it debuted, the Air Max 97 was birthed by American designer Christian Tresser. A hit from the word go, the 97 (below) was slightly pricier than its predecessors in the Air Max 95 and 96 due to its innovative new seamless design, but this did not detract from its early success. Despite high sales and commercial appeal, the 97 was replaced soon after establishing itself as a force in the footwear market, with its replacement unsurprisingly being named as the Air Max 98.
While the 98 saw a hugely hyped up regenerative appearance in a collaboration with Supreme a while back, it has not yet returned to the mainstream in the same way as its older brother. The 97 on the other hand has been a huge source of hype for Nike since they announced its return last year and, because of this, many new iterations are making their way into production.
Since the 1st of July around 11 rumoured colourways have surfaced as Nike have aggressively pushed the silhouette into the limelight. These newest iterations feature Navy, Burgundy and Grey colourways, as well as 2017s favourite, the “Triple Black” (below) – a trend that looks set to be applied to every hyped up shoe this year. An updated version of the “Silver Bullet” model that stormed sales upon release in December last year has also been announced, showing some slightly futuristic changes to give the design a more updated, sleeker look.
Nike’s intention of bringing classic designs into the present day is likely influenced – in part – by Adidas’s seemingly superior position in terms of new innovations in technology. With Adidas wielding Boost technology, as well as the soon to be unveiled Futurecraft tech that will supposedly change shoe making forever, Nike has had to search for alternative routes. High profile collaborations with Supreme, Off White, and – until recently – Vlone have been part of this, but their push towards bringing the old school into today is perhaps their most successful movement as of yet. The 97 is testament to that, with a design that does not differ hugely from its original self that we first saw twenty years ago. While the cushioning technology has understandably been updated, few other significant changes have been made as Nike have strived to maintain the essence of Tresser’s creation. Because of this, there can be no comparison between the Air Max 97 and any Adidas models currently on sale, as both powerhouse brands are pursuing different goals. While Adidas attempt to bring us into the new age, Nike are trying to bring the old age to us, and with rumours of the Air Max 98 also coming into the fold on the year of its 20th anniversary in 2018, it seems that the old school may very well be here to stay.