Nike’s fun and funky line of Air Max shoes, which launched in 1987, is still as revered and relevant as ever. That’s probably why Nike has been throwing a public pop-up event annually for the past several years in cities around the world. It’s a way to honor the venerable shoe, which now boasts dozens of models.
What Is the Air Max Shoe?
The first Air Max sneaker was designed by Tinker Hatfield, a Nike veteran who is also the mastermind behind many Air Jordan models. Air Max shoes incorporate Nike’s patented air-cushioning technology, which was created by the late M. Frank Rudy, who was actually a aeronautical engineer.
The key difference between Air Max versus other lines is that Air Max exposes Nike’s Air technology rather than keeps it hidden. According to Nike, each model of Air Max shoe makes use of the Nike air technology in a different way, in order to push the boundaries of innovation.
For example, 1991’s Air Max 180 allowed the Air cushion to have direct contact with whatever surface was being stepped on. It also introduced Nike’s first Ultramarine color scheme of blue and orange, which has become somewhat iconic for the Nike brand.
Historically, Air Max has been popular within the hip-hop community and some EDM communities, as well as in Japan, where it experienced unprecedented demand in the 1990s.
What Is Air Max Day?
Nike has been holding a pop-up event annually in Los Angeles (as well as Chicago and New York) for several years now to highlight the Air Max line. But it’s not just a modest pop-up shop.
LA air max day is celebrated in ways that are almost as innovative as the shoe itself.
For example, in 2018 they created the Nike Air Gallery in downtown Los Angeles. The event featured both an immersive Nike-inspired art gallery and a gift shop selling apparel and accessories, as well design workshops, other activities, and visitor giveaways. One highlight was a graffiti/street art battle, which had two teams competing for the win.
Local artists, including Gabe Gault, Dear Giana, Bijou Karman, Brandon Land, Gianni Lee, and Meryl Pataky, created drawings, paintings, and art installations that were inspired by the then-new Air Max 270. The shoe has the tallest heel bag of any Air Max model, and Nike is proud of its super-soft bounce.
Perhaps the most unique artwork of the bunch was Meryl Pataky’s abstract arrangement of neon tubes, intended to re-frame the way a spectator looks at and processes neon signs. It’s the kind of innovation emblematic of the Nike brand.
The same year, Nike also released the shoe models VaporMax 97, VaporMax Flyknit 2.0, and Air Max 1/97 Vote Forward SW, which also became a part of the Air Max Day event.
Nike will undoubtedly celebrate Air Max Day once again in 2019 with brand-new sneaker drops and pop-up events in cities around the globe, with Los Angeles being a central hub for the celebration, most likely sometime in the Spring. However, news about 2019’s activities have yet to be announced. Keep watch.