#FactsFriday: Air Max Day

#FactsFriday: Air Max Day

What is Nike Air Max? Depending on who you ask, that question could have a multitude of answers. To some, Nike Air Max is simply a style of sneaker that they wear. To others, Air Max is a way of life. There are very few shoe ranges in sneaker history that have been as impactful as Nike’s Air Max line. The Air Max lineage has sparked some of the most iconic silhouettes, many of which have become an integral part of sneaker culture.

On March 26th 1987, a revolution began. The Air Max One, a masterpiece in design and manufacturing from the godfather of sneakers, Tinker Hatfield, was released to the world as a revolution in performance technology. Inspired by the inside-out aesthetic of Paris’ Pompidou Centre, it was the first Nike sneaker with a visible airbag and the start of one of the most iconic franchises in the company’s history. 30 years on, and it’s still a staple in any respectable sneakerhead's shoe-rack. 

Blue Ribbon Sports was founded by track-and-field coach at the University of Oregon, Bill Bowerman, and his former student, Phil Knight. Their first retail store opened in 1966 and the Nike brand shoe was launched in 1972. As the brand developed, they renamed their company Nike in 1978. The growth of the company continued through the decade as it acquired more companies. It wasn’t long until the “Swoosh” brand became synonymous with quality. Before the visible Air unit arrived on the scene, Nike had been cushioning the soles of their shoes with pouches of pressurized gas. Frank Rudy was the man who had the idea of putting air in a shoe, his inspiration for this came from the work he was doing for NASA. Frank was an aeronautical engineer employed by the space program when he approached Nike with his idea.

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As the company grew, so did its styles of sneakers. The Air Max One was released and it revitalized the brand just when it was plateauing. Father of the Air Max, Tinker Hatfield, found his inspiration for the inaugural design in the architecture of the Centre Pompidou during a visit to Paris. Hatfield, who was trained as an architect, was taken by the building’s inside-out approach ­— with its structure wrapped around the building’s exterior. From this came the idea to expose the inner workings of the shoe, and the visible Air window was born. The original sneaker did well enough to call for a sequel in the form of the Air Max Light, also known as the Air Max II. It was released in 1989 and it was a lightweight version of the original. It still featured a similar design, yet over time it got overshadowed by flashier silhouettes in the Air Max catalog, like Air Max 95 “Neon” and the Air Max 97 “Silver Bullet”.  

As it happens, its underratedness made it a prized possession for hardcore sneaker collectors. Like any fine piece of art, the Air Max deserves to be respected. A talented team of people came together to create something that went beyond just looking cool. The shoe was inspired by the music scene, relied on science, and broke new ground by basing the idea off of a Parisian art gallery. It’s the Mona Lisa of shoes. Once something works, it’s expected to stick to the program, but Nike didn’t believe in that philosophy. They were constantly pushing the envelope with designs like Big Window, Forefoot Air, Full-length Air, and Tuned Air designs to give their customers quality and substance. It’s a reminder that we should never be complacent in anything that we do.

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The popularity of Air Max continued into the 21st century and it was given its own day in 2014 because of its longevity and worldwide appeal. It’s one of Nike’s most successful lines of footwear for over three decades and it’s celebrated with releases of new Air Max sneakers and limited edition styles. It’s a day when fans come together to share their love for the one-of-a-kind shoe. The Air Max isn’t just a shoe, it’s a part of history. Without this particular brick, streetwear culture and the music scene would look much different. We might be accustomed to bold looks today, but Nike took a major risk at the time by offering a shoe that was outside of the mainstream. Today, fashion is constantly breaking the rules and writing new ones, and the Air Max was on the front lines.

10 Years of Bubble Koppe

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Justin Ronné started Bubble Koppe to educate others on Air Max, as there's more to it than the Air Max 1, Air Max 90 and Air Max 95 that most of us know. Sharing his knowledge and finds on the groups he started on both Facebook and Instagram. This Saturday the 27th of March, Bubble Koppe will be celebrating their 10th birthday. Pop in at Distillers Union in Woodstock to join in on the festivities!

415 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town

R80 Door / R60 if you wear Air Max

No Under 18s / No Mask No Entry

Please note: This is a cash event