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Nike Air Max 97

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Nike Air Max 97

Nike Air Max 97

375 articles

The shoe inspired by a droplet of falling water that sent a ripple through sneaker history.

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Nike Air Max 97 FN0321-100
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Yellow Tie-Dye"
  • $278,60
Nike Air Max 97 DH8016-100
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Triple White"
  • $278,60
Nike Air Max 97 DH8016-001
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Black & White"
  • $278,60
Nike Air Max 97 BQ4567-001
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Triple Black"
  • $278,60
Nike Air Max 97 921826-101
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "White & Wolf Grey"
  • $278,60
Nike Air Max 97 921826-018
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Black & Picante Red"
  • $278,60
Nike Air Max 97 921826-001
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Black & White"
  • $278,60
Nike Air Max 97 921522-104
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "White & Metallic Silver"
  • $212,61
Nike Air Max 97 921522-011
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Black"
  • $212,61
Nike Air Max 97 921522-001
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Black & White"
  • $212,61
Nike Air Max 97 OG QS 918890-700
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97 OG QS
  • "Metallic Gold"
  • $212,61
Nike Air Max 97 OG QS 918890-001
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97 OG QS
  • "Silver Bullet"
  • $212,61
Nike Air Max 97 FJ1883-600
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Red Satin"
Nike Air Max 97 FJ1883-001
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Wolf Grey & Teal Nebula"
Nike Air Max 97 FD0800-001
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Metallic Silver & Desert Berry"
Nike Air Max 97 DX4734-001
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Joker"
Nike Air Max 97 DR9774-400
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Gorge Green"
Nike Air Max 97 DR0157-300
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Rough Green"
Nike Air Max 97 DQ9131-700
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Gold Bullet"
Nike Air Max 97 DQ9131-400
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Atlantic Blue & Voltage Yellow"
Nike Air Max 97 DQ9131-002
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Silver Bullet"
Nike Air Max 97 DQ9131-001
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Metallic Silver & Chlorine Blue"
Nike Air Max 97 Premium DQ8996-200
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97 Premium
  • "Muslin & Pink Foam"
Nike Air Max 97 OG DM0028-700
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97 OG
  • "Gold Bullet"
Nike Air Max 97 OG DM0028-400
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97 OG
  • "Atlantic Blue & Voltage Yellow"
Nike Air Max 97 OG DM0028-002
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97 OG
  • "Silver Bullet"
Nike Air Max 97 921733-100
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "White & Pure Platinum"
Nike Air Max 97 921522-600
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Team Red & Anthracite"
Nike Air Max 97 921522-034
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Dark Team Red"
Nike Air Max 97 917646-301
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Barely Green"
Nike Air Max 97 FN3408-001
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Inter"
Nike Air Max 97 FD9760-001
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Cool Grey & Photon Dust"
Nike Air Max 97 FD8637-600
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Be True"
Nike Air Max 97 DZ2629-001
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Pure Platinum"
Nike Air Max 97 DX0137-002
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Light Bone"
Nike Air Max 97 NB DV5451-100
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97 NB
  • "Coconut Milk"
Nike Air Max 97 SE DV2621-200
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97 SE
  • "Moving Company"
Nike Air Max 97 SE DV2619-100
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97 SE
  • "M. Frank Rudy"
Nike Air Max 97 DV2180-900
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Washed Denim"
Nike Air Max 97 DR0157-001
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Smoke Grey & Metallic Silver"
Nike Air Max 97 DQ8961-100
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "M. Frank Rudy"
Nike Air Max 97 DQ8582-600
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Dark Beetroot"
Nike Air Max 97 DQ8574-001
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Off Noir"
Nike Air Max 97 DQ8237-800
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Athletic Club"
Nike Air Max 97 DQ7644-100
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Spring Floral"
Nike Air Max 97 SE DO6109-001
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97 SE
  • "Alter and Reveal"
Nike Air Max 97 SE DN1893-001
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97 SE
  • "Black & Sport Turquoise"
Nike Air Max 97 DM8943-700
  • Nike
  • Air Max 97
  • "Sisterhood"
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Air Max 97

Throughout the 90s, Nike took its popularity to another level with a string of successful releases. Many of these were in the Air Max line, which, by 1996, was fast approaching its tenth anniversary. Though initially designed for runners, many Air Max iterations had become popular outside of this community, where they could be seen on the feet of celebrities and sneaker enthusiasts alike. As a result, expectations increased with each new release, so the pressure was on for the designers who came to work on the newest addition to this storied collection – the Nike Air Max 97.

The project to craft the Air Max 97 got off to a slow start as two of its early designers could not come up with anything to meet the brand’s high standards. Nevertheless, Nike persevered, soon finding the man that would eventually define the aesthetic of the AM97 – Christian Tresser. Before joining Nike, Tresser had already gained experience designing football boots at the highest level. Starting his work for the brand in the mid-90s, he set about building a good reputation during his collaboration on a football boot in the Air Zoom GX project, which would later lead to the creation of Nike’s first ever synthetic boot, the Mercurial. With this achievement and a lead design job on the Air Zoom Spiridon behind him, Tresser began work on the Air Max 97. Before he started, however, Nike gave him a simple message: this shoe will define your career. And so it did.

Designed as a running shoe, the Nike Air Max 97’s primary innovation was an extension of the visible Air that had graced previous versions. It became the world’s first trainer with an Air unit that could be seen across its entire length, a feature made possible by a technique called blow-molding, which had been pioneered four years earlier on the Air Max 93. This cushioning bed was also foam-free, distinguishing it from prior Air Max designs, all of which had included some use of foam.

Tresser was highly selective about the materials he used on the Air Max 97. Its new ventilated panels were made of a tough, reflective mesh in a mechanical style, so the shoe was even more breathable than its predecessors. It also featured 3M reflective strips on the upper that alternated with the open mesh in a unique unbroken linear style. These flowing wave-like bands were inspired by the natural effect created when a droplet of water falls into a pond, causing tiny ripples to radiate away from it. In similar fashion, the ripple lines on the AM97 emanated in the direction of the full-length Air cushioning, drawing attention to the latest evolution of Air Max technology. They also lent the upper a smooth aesthetic that was enhanced further by Nike’s innovative new lacing structure. This clever system hid the eyelets behind the outer mesh webbing – something which had never been done before – giving it a sleek look.

First released in 1997, the Nike Air Max 97, which Tresser had initially called the Air Total Max in his early sketches, launched in a Metallic Silver colourway derived from the designer’s interest in cycling. An admirer of contemporary mountain bike designs, he took the metallic tones often used on such vehicles and used them to create the color palette seen across the shoe. His aim was to produce a design with minimal colors – a bold Varsity Red being the only tone to deviate from the otherwise silvery hues – that relied on metallic, reflective surfaces to forge a sophisticated look. This color scheme also gave a nod to the super-fast bullet trains of Tokyo, whose shiny silver appearance resembled that of the Air Max 97, earning it the moniker “Silver Bullet”.

Being associated with such a revolutionary technology brought the Air Max 97 plenty of attention, but its fame was boosted further by two important events. Firstly, it was endorsed by legendary Olympic athletes Michael Johnson and Carl Lewis. Secondly, the design made its way to Italy, where it rapidly grew in popularity. The sneaker’s unique appearance appealed to a number of different subcultures and was adopted by several luxury brands, eventually ending up on the catwalks of the Milan fashion scene the year after its release, where it made its way into shows by both Armani and Dolce & Gabbana. With this approval, the 97 became admired across the whole country, where it was given the nickname “Le Silver”. In fact, its Italian legacy is so strong that, in 2017, an entire book was devoted to the subject: “Le Silver: An Italian Oral History of the Nike Air Max 97”. Nike has also chosen to recognise this special relationship over the years by creating an edition of the AM97 decorated in the colors of the Italian flag and releasing the 20th anniversary reissue of the original colourway a few months early in the country.

When it came out, the Nike Air Max 97 felt futuristic while also having a retro feeling. Even today, it still has a futuristic look, and its harmony between performance and aesthetics marks it out as a masterpiece of sneaker design. From its earliest beginnings, the Air Max 97 distinguished itself as an influential shoe, which is why it has gone on to become an iconic silhouette in Nike’s history, and one that continues to impact sneaker culture to this day.

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