Nike Air Max collectors have been given a lot to be happy about in 2018, but the release of the 1999 Air Max Deluxe has definitely been one of the best announcements this year. Following the recent retro of the Nike Air Max Deluxe, we thought it worth while taking a brief look into the history of this archival sneaker.
The Air Max Deluxe is a semi-obscure model from the Nike archives, that all but the most dedicated collectors have either forgotten about, or never even knew existed. But with the current popularity of the big-bubbled Air Max 97 as well as the late ’90s chunky aesthetic, it would appear that brand has picked no better time to bring back this wavy runner.
Originally released in late 1999, the shoe is characterised by its bold and ‘in your face’ appearance featuring a flamboyant graphic print across the mesh upper and translucent plastic overlays for support and added durability. The upper with an overall free-flowing, liquid look sits atop the full-length visible Air tooling originally designed for the Air Max 97.
Its heel featured the same molding technique used on 1997’s Air Foamposite, while increased reflectivity and wide stitching on the upper completed the look. It was one of the first times a Nike shoe had all-over digital print on neoprene. Paired with increased reflectivity and rows of wide stitching, the shoe made a powerful statement.
“The Air Max Deluxe is representative of what Nike is and was, back when it released in 1999,” said Dominique Debnam, Nike Sportswear Product Line Manager. “It pushed the edges, it was in your face, and it was avant-garde.”
Truth be told, like many awesome 'in your face' sneakers from that era, the Deluxe didn’t fly off the shelves. With competition like the Nike Air Max Plus, the Deluxe wasn’t usually the first choice. That doesn’t take away from the fact that this release is a timeless classic that's sought after today and in need of a retro. The sneaker's futuristic design, beautiful colour blocking and comfort keep this model on any vintage shopping list. Today, prices are seriously high for new pairs in very good condition. The Deluxe's rejuvenated popularity can also be see with Skepta’s decision to use the Air Max Deluxe for his upcoming collab.
The goal for the 2018 release of the Deluxe was to make it as OG as possible. “We had to break some of our model rules and go back to Nike’s old ways of doing things,” explains Debnam. “We focused on making the 2018 release one to one, stitch per stitch, to really give the consumer a piece of what ‘99 was like.”
Shop the recently dropped Nike Air Max Deluxe OG 'Midnight Navy/Laser Orange' online here.