The Evolution of Air
An Animated Cultural History of Air Max
What was “in the Air” when these Air Max icons were created? See what you can spot.
1987: Air Max 1
Inspired by the open architecture of Paris, Nike Designer Tinker Hatfield cut a small window into the Air Max 1’s midsole, making Nike Air visible for the first time.
1990: Air Max 90
With its stand-out side panel, the AM90 was a revolution of its own. Its original “Infrared” colorway still creates a sensation with every reissue.
1991: Air Max 180
Its Max Air unit wasn’t just bigger—it also wrapped all the way under the shoe. A clean, sleek design helped draw the eye straight to that 180°Air cushioning.
1995: Air Max 95
Our designers took inspiration from the earth’s layers for the 95’s sculptured look. This Air Max shoe was also the first to add a second visible NikeAir unit at the front foot.
1997: Air Max 97
The first Air Max shoe with full-length Nike Air cushioning, the 97 looks incredibly futuristic. But our designers actually took their inspiration from the natural beauty of ripples in water.
1998: Air Max Plus
Splitting the Nike Air unit into different sections allowed us to fine-tune each one—a technology we called Tuned Air. The debut colorway took its look from tropical skies and swaying palms.
2006: Air Max 360
With the Air Max 360 shoe, we achieved our first no-foam design—it’s Max Air cushioning, and nothing but. This breakthrough would kick off a new era of Air Max technology.
2015: Nike Air VaporMax
With only a thin film separating your foot from the cushion, this shoe is the closest you can get to walking on air. Nike Air VaporMax is fast, flexible and impossible to miss.
2018: Air Max 270
That mighty heel unit—visible for a full 270°—makes it one of the boldest statements in the history of Air Max. A lightweight formfitting upper makes it one of the most comfortable.
2019: Air Max 720
The newest member of the Air Max family delivers pure energy, with a show-stopping look and a powerful bounce. It also features our tallest-ever Nike Air cushion... for now.