With Air Max Day 2017 (March 26) just around the corner, Stadium Goods takes a trip down memory lane to give our customers the game the best way we know how: via a comprehensive guide to our Air Max grails.
The Air Max lineage began with Tinker Hatfield's 1987 creation, the Air Max 1 – a game changer, and that's putting it lightly. In the years since, we've seen the Air Max line tread through uncharted waters, shaking culture one new silhouette at a time with the Air Max 90, Air Max 95, and even present day iterations. With thousands of Air Max sneakers in existence, including hundreds of grails, Stadium Goods considers the breadth of product as we list 26 our personal selections.
Celebrate 30 years of Air Max dominance by flipping away at our list below. We encourage you all to add to your collections.
26. Nike Air Max 1 "Master"
Style: 910772 001
Link: Nike Air Max 1 "Master"
The most recent release on this list by a long shot, Nike's Air Max 1 "Master" is a tightly themed history lesson in sneaker form. Created for the 2017 Air Max Day campaign, it features a black upper comprised of both smooth and perforated leather. A terry material occupies the Swoosh, adding extra texture to the look. The black midsole maintains the uniformity, working well against a gum-colored outsole that's welcomed on an Air Max 1.
Enter the star of the show: the mudguard, a mosaic that encompasses grails released throughout the Air Max 1's long lineage. From Patta's "Chlorophyll" design to a handful of atmos groundbreaking version's to the OG "Sport Red" colorway, the Air Max 1 "Master" quickly reminds us just how far the model has come and that its future is much more promising.
25. Nike Air Max 1 "Air Max Day - Year 1"
Style: 665873 106
Nike introduced the Air Max Day campaign in 2014, commemorating the first-ever celebratory event with a special Air Max 1 release. The first of many "Air Max Day"-themed sneakers to come, the inaugural release draws inspiration from the OG "Sport Red" colorway (more on that later). To scale, the silhouette on this retro does great by the version Tinker Hatfield introduced in 1987. However, the midsole is neon-colored, with matching accents appear on the inner lining of the tongue and outsole. The tongue also features the "3.26", signifying the date of Air Max day.
24. Nike Air Max 95 "Monster"
Style: 609048 371
Though less likely to wreak havoc in a city near you, this 2002 Air Max 95 is coined the "Monster". Inspired by Godzilla, the giant monster from the iconic Japanese film series, Nike delivered a shoe that's thematically tight. It features scaly textured leather in a combination of cargo, hornet and paul brown colorways.
23. Nike Air Max 1 "Liquid Metal Gold"
Style: 635786 770
It's all in the elements for this 2014 Air Max 1, released in women's sizes only. The familiar silhouette received a shiny tonal Metallic Gold makeover, with the only deviation appearing on the Sail-colored speckled midsole and matching inner lining. "Au" is lasered onto the tongue, symbolizing the elemental inspiration to tie the look together.
22. Nike Air Max 90 "Laser Pink"
Style: 325213 105
As far as classics go, this women's edition of the Nike Air Max 90 in "Laser Pink" checks out. An original colorway from the 90s, the shoe features mesh on the toe and ankle collar and a suede upper. Pink accents on the lace placket, midsole, and outsole provides a head-turning look.
21. Patta x Parra x Nike Air Max 1 Premium "Cherrywoods"
Style: 394805 600
The biggest release of 2010 was a three-way collab from Amsterdam's Patta, Dutch artist Parra, and Nike. The shoe of choice: the Air Max 1.
Parra handled design duties, while Patta handled the retail aspect for the AM 1 coined the "Cherrywoods". The upper is drenched in a burgundy hue, with the mudguard and side panel appearing in suede, and the toe box and ankle collar featuring mesh. Fuzzy material covers the Swoosh and a light blue patch bearing Parra branding on the tongue. The outsole is sectioned off into four colors. The insole features custom artwork by Parra himself.
20. DQM x Nike Air Max 90 "Bacon"
Style: 310766 161
In 2005, Nike connected with Dave Ortiz of Dave’s Quality Meats for a fun-spirited Air Max 90 collab themed after everyone's favorite food: bacon. While the favorite part was admittedly a wild assumption, it is safe to say that the design was well-executed.
DQM is no stranger to maintaining tight knit themes, as its New York City-based boutique location is designed to appear like a butcher shop. Clearly no stranger to the carnivore lifestyle, the AM 90 was released in two versions – a limited-edition Hyperstrike version with the Dave’s Quality Meats etched into the tongue, a chicken bone inside the heel of the sock bed, and creative placement of scuff marks on the toe box to mark dry spots typically found on strips of cured pork belly; a variation with a regular Nike tongue label and box was released in wider distribution.
Of course, the shoe itself resembles a slab of bacon.
19. Kid Robot x Nike Air Max 1
Style: 311745 001
Designed by Paul Budnitz and Chad Phillips, the Kid Robot x Nike Air Max 1 released February 11, 2004, during the Golden Era of sneaker collaborations. The shoe was originally an exclusive item to Barneys on Madison and 61st St. in New York City; it was accompanied by a Kid Robot figurine and one of five different blind sockliners packaged in the brand's signature foil bag.
From a design perspective, Budnitz and Phillips found inspiration in the 1986 Maserati Quattroporte III Royale. The shoe plays on Kid Robot's youthful aesthetic as it sports a Black, Metallic Gold, and Hot Pink colorway, with proper branding appearing on the heel.
18. HUF x Nike Air Max 90 Premium "Hufquake"
Style: 312334 011
Inspired by the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the famed "Hufquake" print appears on this Nike Air Max 90 Premium. The look mimics cracked pavement, a nod to the devastation the aforementioned natural disaster caused in the Bay Area all of these years ago. The toe box appears in white mesh, while blue accents complete the design.
17. CLOT x Nike Air Max 1 Nl Premium
Style: 313227 161
CLOT includes a homage to Chinese culture on each of their Nike collabs. That includes the CLOT x Nike Air Max 1 Nl Premium from 2006, created by the Hong Kong-based creative agency and legendary regional recording artist MC Yan. The sneaker is inspired by the human foot's anatomy and the ancient Chinese art of pressure points.
A simple suede upper keeps the model grounded, though there are plenty of nuances throughout the design. Snakeskin on the Deep Red Swoosh and tongue, ostrich skin on the ankle, and a transparent toe box (first seen on the ESPO x Air Force II, famously used on the Air Force 1 Low "Invisible Woman") are head-turning details. Orange Blaze coats the midsole and heel, where CLOT branding appears. The insoles feature a gridded map of the human foot. Not to mention that the sock liners are nonexistent.
16. Patta x Nike Air Max 1 Premium Qs
Style: 366379 100
Amsterdam sneaker heavyweights Patta delivered this Quickstrike version of the Nike Air Max 1 Premium in celebration of their Fifth Anniversary. Design wise, the sneaker resembles a classic OG colorway – just in a more festive White and Chlorophyll option. The latter appears on the textured mudguard and Swoosh; it also colors the Patta logo on the tongue. Grey suede and White mesh anchor the familiar look along with a white midsole.
15. Parra x Nike Air Max 1 "Amsterdam"
Style: 313188 241
Dutch artist Parra's first project with the Nike Air Max 1 arrived in 2005 as a Tier 0 release from the Capitol Series. Nicknamed the "Amsterdam", logos representing the Kingdom of the Netherlands appear on the heel and tongue to cement the sneaker's territorial look. Parra used a dynamic color combination of burgundy, pink, and turquoise blue to decorate the AM 1.
Easily one of the rarest versions of the model (it's unclear how many were released, since no shoe was numbered), it was not produced above a size 11.5. A limited run of 24 Friends-and-Family edition featured Parra’s trademark script logo stitched on the outer toe.
14. Nike Air Max Lunar90 SP "Moon Landing"
Style: 700098 007
Released on July 20, 2014, the Nike Air Max Lunar90 SP "Moon Landing" is inspired by Neil Armstrong's historic moon landing, which happened on the same day 45 years prior (1969, in case math isn't your thing). The upper sports a graphic of that resembles the surface of the moon to keep things thematic. The Lunar midsole is grey with speckles and a visible air unit. The Air Max Lunar90 SP is completes by a separate stars/stripes motif on the heel of the left and right shoes, respectively, as reference to Neil Armstrong’s small step for man. No conspiracy theories, please.
13. atmos x Nike Air Max 1 PRM "Tiger Camo"
Style: 512033 003
By 2013, Nike has all but phased out from using the Air Max 1 as the go-to silhouette for collaborations. But given its soft spot for atmos – not to mention the brand's stellar track record with the model – the world received the Air Max 1 PRM "Tiger Camo".
The Japanese brand's affinity for integrating premium materials with distinct textures/graphics onto its designs continued with this release. On the upper, you'll find a mix of tiger camouflage and a black python snakeskin in Black and Chlorophyll with Orange Blaze accents. A traditional white midsole keeps everything together.
12. KAWS x Nike Air Max 90 Current Premium
Style: 346114 001
It's not everyday that Brian Donnelly – affectionately known as KAWS in the art and streetwear communities – gets out of bed to design a Nike shoe. But in 2008, amid the Swoosh brand's infatuation with hybrid sneaker models, he seized an opportunity to design an Air Max 90 Current.
Modified with a deeply-grooved Free sole, KAWS' version (created alongside Nike Sportswear Footwear Design Director Jesse Leyva) features innovative 4-way stretch textiles, as he drew inspiration from the Nike ACG line. The murky black colorway is accented by Volt green, in which you'll see KAWS patented "X" branding. A white version released as well.
11. Stash x Nike Air Max 95
Style: 314074 401
Link: Stash x Nike Air Max 95
Released alongside an equally coveted Air Force 1, Nike's Stash Pack featured one of the greatest Air Max 95 ever. Anchored by a distinct Harbor Blue stripe on the AM 95 paneling, the vibrant hue is complemented by shades of Varsity Royal, Black, and Midnight Navy appearing in a gradient effect. The upper is constructed with a durable, waterproof material as opposed to the typical mesh. A speckled midsole completes the show, as the Stash x AM 95 is the first shoe to feature that detail.
10. Nike Air Max 97 "Silver Bullet"
Style: 884421 001
Nike is at its best when using obscure inspirations to create sneakers that become cultural phenomenon. Enter the Air Max 97, most noted for the "Silver Bullet" colorway, designed with the Japanese bullet trains in mind. Featuring a Metallic Silver look, the upper is a combination of leather and mesh with white trimming and a matching midsole. Red accents on the Swoosh branding add a nice touch to the shoe.
9. atmos x Nike Air Max 1B "Viotech"
Style: 302740 251
Way back in 2003, atmos and Nike reconnected for their second-ever collab. The result: the atmos x Nike Air Max 1B "Viotech". Featuring premium suede and leather in a balance of earth toned brown hues – khaki and dark mocha to be exact – the pop of color is provided by the Viotech purple that appears on the Swoosh. Gold stitching on the Swoosh on the mudguard and heel are additional details of note.
8. HUF x Nike Air Max 1 Premium "Hufquake"
Style: 318361 031
Extremely rare at the time of its 2007 release (and even harder to nab now), the HUF x Nike Air Max 1 Premium "Hufquake" was designed by Benny Gold. Following in the footsteps of two "Hufquake" edition Air Force 1s that released a year before, this shoe was also inspired by the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Thus explaining the how closely the design looks to cracked cement.
Gold created the shoe on behalf of HUF, a mainstay in San Francisco's streetwear. It sports a black and green bean colorway; the printed portion of the upper is comprised of premium nubuck, while perforated leather covers the toebox, ankle and tongue. The Swoosh, lace eyelets, and tongue feature a bright green look. A gum sole finishes things off.
7. atmos x Nike Air Max 1 "Elephant"
Style: 908366 001
When mentioning iconic shoe collabs, some brands have totally placed their stamp on certain silhouettes. Such is the case for atmos and their work with the Nike Air Max 1 over the years. The Japanese brand delivered one of their most memorable spins of the model in 2003 with an elephant print-clad version. Aptly titled the atmos x Nike Air Max 1 Premium "Elephant", it features crisp elephant print that appears along the mudguard paneling and ankle collar. Premium black suede covers the side panel and heel. The Swoosh and Nike branding appear in a vibrant Clear Jade hue to complete the design. This AM 1 would make its triumphant return for 2017's Air Max Day celebration.
6. atmos x Nike Air Max 1 Supreme "Animal Pack"
Style: 315763 761
History suggests that Tokyo boutique atmos has the Air Max 1's number, meaning it's all but promised that they'll knock the design out of the park each time they work on the classic runner. For proof, look not further than 2006's atmos x Nike Air Max 1 Supreme from the tightly themed "Animal Pack". Cobbled together in a way that would make Dr. Frankenstein shed a tear, both tiger and white tiger fur looks clash with cheetah print, with red accenting the Swoosh and Nike branding. A combo of white and gum coat the midsole and outsole respectively.
5. Nike Air Max 1 OG "Sport Royal"
Style: 908375 101
That damn Tinker Hatfield. To be quite honest, we understand that the renowned Nike designer knew no creative limits. However, the stride he reached in the late 1980s and early 1990s were second to none. It was during this time that he delivered the first-ever Air Max 1, including this original "Sport Royal" colorway. Accompanied by a "Sport Red" version, the shoe is complex simplicity – poetry in motion is an even better way to describe it. The upper is a stunning combination of suede and mesh, with an eye-catching blue covering the mudguard and Swoosh.
4. atmos x Nike Air Max 1 B "Safari"
Style: 302740 281
In their best attempt at genetic engineering, Japanese retailer atmos spliced together DNA from the Nike Air Max 1 and Nike Air Safari silhouettes to create the Nike Air Max 1 B "Safari" in 2002. The aforementioned sneakers released 15 years earlier, but this shoe is far from anything the sneaker community had seen before. Safari print coats the mudguard and ankle collar, earning the AM 1 its name. The remainder of the upper features a myriad of textures: a canvas twill material on the toe box, soft suede on the side panel and heel. A color combination of Flax, Tennessee Orange, Chestnut, and Light Graphite meets the construction in the middle, resulting in one of the most intricate AM 1's of all time.
3. Nike Air Max 90 "Infrared"
Style: 325018 107
If the Air Max 1 got the wheels turning, the Air Max 90 (aka the Air Max III) took the shoe line from 0 to 60 in three seconds. Nike's resident mad scientist Tinker Hatfield rose to the occasion once again, as he ushered in what many consider the Swoosh Brand's best era with the silhouette in its familiar "Infrared" colorway. The vibrant hue was originally referred to as "Hyvent Orange," before changing over time. However the model that consumers grew to know and love hasn't changed. The upper is an amalgam of grey suede, black leather, white mesh, and Infrared accents. The end result is magic.
2. Nike Air Max 95 "Neon"
Style: 609048 072
Link: Nike Air Max 95 "Neon"
The intricate paneling on the Nike Air Max 95 – designed by Sergio Lozano – is the reason it's often the canvas for the most ambitious looks on any Air Max shoe. But to be clear, it gets no better than the OG "Neon" colorway. Very rarely does suede and mesh blend so well – undoubtedly a result of the color combo of assorted greys, black and neon green. And that's without mentioning the neon coloration on the three visible air units in the midsole.
1. Nike Air Max 1 OG "Sport Red"
Style: 908375 100
Once a shoe ascends to iconic status, it's forever etched into the minds and hearts of the people. In the Air Max cannon, no release has affected culture like the original "Sport Red" version, initially released in 1987. One of Tinker Hatfield's beloved creations, it was the first sneaker in history to feature a visible air unit. Not to mention that few sneakers feature as flawless a design, with red and grey suede appearing alongside complementing mesh.