The end of June marked the very first Bespoke Air Max 1 Course offered by the guys at London Sneaker School (LSS). The five-day intensive course began on Monday the 22nd of June and wrapped up on Friday when the three shoemaking students unveiled their final products to a crowd of onlookers. I was lucky enough to be invited down to the workshop over the course of the week to meet the guys, snap some photographs and get a feel for how LSS conduct their sneaker construction lessons. The experience as a whole was so much fun and I learnt a lot just from watching and listening, despite not participating myself.
Prior to the start of the course, London Sneaker School provides you with a template of an Air Max 1, as well as a list of materials which are on offer to use. This gives you an opportunity to become familiar with some of the leathers and other materials which you will use during your time at LSS. It also means you can come up with some design ideas before stepping into the workshop.
Upon arrival, I was shown through the schedule for the week to follow as well as the impressive underground workshop located in Hackney, London. The three students; Morgan, Danny and Damon each had their own ideas about the direction they were heading in with their own AM1 designs. While for some it was solely an idea in their head, others had exact mockups of what they wanted their shoes to look like.
Every component of the Air Max 1’s you create during your course at LSS is fully customisable meaning you have complete creative control over your finished sneaker. Even the colour of the outsole, midsole and air bubble can be selected to fit your preferences, achieved by using Nike ID (or By You) soles as donors for your handmade pair.
Some materials available, for example, more stretchy leathers, can be harder to work with, which can prove problematic if it’s your first time using them. However, as part of the course, you first assemble a practice upper of an Air Max 1. You do this in the same fashion as you would if you were making your final piece, serving as a tester to experiment with materials and processes which you will rely on further in the week.
‘Piet Mondrain’ Nike Air Max 1’s by Damon (@Damonma1)
During the five day course, students are taught everything there is to know about how a sneaker is assembled by hand. This is perhaps the feature of the course which piqued my initial interest, as not only do you end up with your own bespoke’s, but you learn about the fundamentals of shoemaking. The guys were directed through everything from material selection, cutting and sewing, stitching and clicking panels, lasting and sole bonding by Thomas and Jase.
‘Horween Beast’ Nike Air Max 1’s by Morgan (@Morprime)
While previous experience may play a factor in the outcome of your shoe, it is not necessarily important. The three shoemaking students each had a varying experience when it came to shoemaking, yet each of them left the course with a sublime pair of Air Max 1’s assembled from scratch. While there may be some glue marks or imperfections, this is to be expected. Any handmade product is more than likely to have a few flaws here and there, especially if you haven’t done anything like it before. But these ‘imperfections’ only add to the character of one’s shoe and, in my opinion, serve as a reminder of the experience as a whole.
‘Kickin’ Off’ Nike Air Max 1’s by Danny (@Dannychillman)
Both Thomas and Jase are excellent teachers and their knowledge of shoemaking is clear from the moment you meet them. After witnessing the course first hand and seeing the final products come off the last I am even more keen to jump onto the course myself. If you share the same excitement as I do and would like to learn how to construct classic sneakers yourself, head over to the London Sneaker School website. At the time of writing this there are three upcoming sessions in the near future which are as follows:
Furthermore, the guys at LSS are currently running a giveaway in collaboration with @Morprime giving you the chance to win a spot on their Air Max 1 course for free! Follow the link below to London Sneaker School’s Instagram to enter:
In light of the recent collaboration between two of the pillars of modern streetwear, I wanted to take a look back at where it all began and provide you with a brief history of Stussy’s deep history with Nike.
2000 – Stüssy x Nike Air Huarache Le
Work between the brands began in 2000 with an unofficial release of a Stüssy x Nike Huarache Le. The partnership arose as a result of a special project in Europe between Michael Koppelman and Fraser Cooke. The unofficial nature of the project resulted in very limited numbers of the shoes being produced and they were hence very hard to get your hands on. With the Huaraches being sold exclusively at Stüssy’s London location, you would have to fork out nothing short of top dollar to own a pair today. This is one for the Stüssy enthusiasts and the scarcity of the shoes makes them that much more valuable.
2001 – Stüssy x Nike Dunk High
Stüssy’s next Nike collaboration came just a year later. It marked their first official collaboration with the Swoosh and in fact the first-ever official collaboration between Nike and any clothing brand. This release also saw Nike use speciality fabric on the swoosh of a shoe for the first time. Two pairs of Dunk Highs were released, the first, a black pair with a snakeskin swoosh and the second, a brown pair with an ostrich leather swoosh. The release of these sneakers was made exclusive to Stüssy Chapter stores in New York, London, Tokyo and Los Angeles and limited to 24 pairs a day (12 brown & 12 black). This was the first time a drop had happened in this manner and it created a buzz around the shoe for those how had the intel on the release. Lines outside of Chapter stores lastest for about two weeks before stocks of the Dunks were exhausted.
2002: Stüssy x Nike Blazer Mid
In 2002 Stüssy dropped a Nike Blazer Mid which propelled the model to newfound fame. The collaboration became an instant classic and the model received much more attention from Nike as a result. The Blazer was created as a basketball sneaker in the early ’70s but became popular amongst skateboarders subsequently to this release. Once again, the collaboration was produced in very limited numbers and remains one of Stüssy’s more sought after Nike models.
2003: Stüssy x Nike Air Huarache Light
Originally released in 1993, the Nike Air Huarache Light was one of the more slept on 90’s runners throughout the decade. Nonetheless, the model was reissued in 2002 and then worked on by Stüssy in 2003. The collaboration featured two colourways of the Huarache Lights both made up of mesh, nylon and leather. 2003 marked yet another first in the history of collaboration for Nike Sportswear. Alongside the GR release of the shoes, Nike also produced several promotional pairs which incorporated an embroidered Stüssy logo on the side of the shoes. This was the first time that Nike had used another brand name on one of their models which created a lot of red tape in the way of getting the duel branded sneakers to market. Due to the dramatic change and the early nature of this collaborative innovation, the pairs featuring the Stüssy logo were never cleared for resale. The co-branded pairs of Huarache Lights were given away as promotional pairs making them perhaps the most sought after Stüssy x Nike shoes ever.
2005: Stüssy x Nike Court Force XXV
In celebration of Stüssy’s 25th year anniversary, Nike released a commemorative pack of four Court Force’s in 2005. This pack of shoes focused on Stüssy specific details as a nod to the long history of the brand. Each shoe featured crocodile textures on the swoosh, toe guard and heel and had the Stüssy cities printed around the heel and on the footbed. As well as this, the tongue was dressed in Stüssy’s vintage ‘Tom Tom’ print. Originally these four sneakers were meant to have song lyrics printed on the heel however this was never cleared for production. The XXV pack was released alongside other commemorative collaborations with other brands such as New Era, Alpha Industries and Levis for the anniversary.
2005: Stüssy x Nike Dunk SB Low
The Stüssy ‘Cherry’ Dunks, as they are commonly known are one of the more recognised Stüssy x Nike collaborations. Designed by team member Robbie Jeffers, the Dunk SB’s take their inspiration from Neapolitan Ice-cream, in particular, the flavours of strawberry, chocolate and vanilla. The pair features an image of a cherry on the tongue tab with the Nike SB branding found below. The Cherry Dunks are given the status of grail by SB Collectors and sneakerheads alike and will cost you a fortune to get your hands on 15 years later.
2006: Stüssy x Nike ‘World Tour Collection’
The World Tour project in 2006 involved 40 artists from around the world coming together to do their own rendition of Stüssy’s famous World Tour T-shirt. To accompany the project, Nike released a nine pack shoes dubbed the ‘World Tour Collection’. The nine shoes were made up of three different Nike models; the Nike Dunk High, Nike Free Trail 5.0 and the Nike Trainer Dunk Low.
2008: Stüssy x Neighbourhood x Nike ‘Boneyard’ Collection
In 2008 Stüssy joined forces with Japanese streetwear heavyweight, Neighbourhood, to unveil their ‘Boneyard’ collection. Alongside an extensive collection of apparel and accessories, the brands teamed up with Nike on the Nike Blazer and Nike Terminator. The pack consisted of three Blazers and three Terminators. The Blazers featured a custom Boneyeards print on the side of each, delivered in three colours; blue, red and white. The second shoe from the collection, the Terminator, shares a similar history to that of the Blazer, traditionally designed for Basketball performance. The pack also comprised of three colourways, each with a perforated swoosh and a crossed anchors Boneyards logo.
2010: Stüssy x Nike All Court Mid ‘XXX’
The ‘XXX’ pack marked Stüssy’s 30th Anniversary and was made up of two Nike All Court Mid’s. With a premium leather upper and snakeskin accents on the swoosh, this was a luxurious release. A third pair dubbed the ‘Mysto’ edition was also created for Friends and Family made out of a royal blue canvas. All three pairs feature the Stüssy SS logo on the tongue.
Stüssy x Nike All Court Mid ‘XXX’ Pack by @sneakerish
2011: Stüssy x Nike Sky Force 88 Mid
A bit of a sleeper amongst the Stüssy x Nike lineup, the Sky Force 88’s were released in four very wearable colourways in 2011. The standout feature on these sneakers is the embossed logo on the tongue. The logo is Stüssy’s take on the classic Sky Force 88 logo, which encorporats their SS stamp.
2012: Stüssy x Nike ‘SNS Off Mountain Series’
The S&S Collection aimed at bringing together elements from sand, snow and street influences to create a pack of three models built for resiliance. The first of the series was an updated Nike Dunk High, dubbed the Dunk High OMS, which combined the silhoutte of a classic basketball sneaker with Nike Free technology for a winterised interpretation. The second, a piece of footwear designed for beach-wear, was named the Lunar Braata OMS and made use of Nike’s Lunarlon technology making them a lightweight, durable shoe. The final silhouette used was the Morgan II OMS, a shoe with a wafflle outsole for added traction during everyday urban life. Each model was available in two colourways.
2013: Stüssy x Nike Trainerendor Low
Nike unvieled their first Crosstrainer in 1987, a shoe designed to be a multidisciplinary, rugged sneaker for a variety of sports and activties. In 2013, Stüssy took a similar approach to the design of their latest collaboration with the Swoosh, producing the Stüssy x Nike Trainerendor Low. This sneaker took influences from skateboarding and snowboarding subcultures and were engineered to withstand harsh conditions whereever you are. The Trainerendor Low is an updated, lightweight version of the original Crosstrainer, which pays homage to the classic in terms of aestheics and performance.
2015: Stüssy x Nike Air Max 95
2015 marked yet another anniversary but this time, not just for Stüssy. While Stüssy were celebrating their 35th Anniversary, one of Nike’s most innovative sneakers from their Air Max linage was turning 20 years old. This was of course the Air Max 95, a robust sneaker designed by Sergio Lozano who designed the shoe with the human anatomy as his main inpiration. The model was the first in the line to have two Air bubbles, the second at the forefoot of the shoe. To commemorate their joint anniversaries, Stüssy and Nike joined up again this time releasing three minimalistic colourways of their collaborative Air Max 95’s. The pack consisted of a green pair, navy blue pair and black pair, each with a white midsole and outsole, and the classic SS logo on the tongue. Its crazy to think that this release was five years ago now, it seems so much more recent!
2018: Stüssy x Nike SB Blazer Mid and Low
The Nike Blazer was added to Nike’s SB programme in 2005 under pro-skateboarder, Lances Mountain’s guidence. Despite working on two Nike Blazers before, 2018 was the first time Stüssy created an SB Blazer desgined specifically for skateboarding. They unvieled two SB Blazers, one lowtop dubbed the ‘KT’ for team rider Kevin Terpening, and a midtop which celebrated Lance Mountain’s longevity within skateboarding.
2020: Stüssy x Nike Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2
This year we were treated to an absolute gem of a collaboration from the streetwear giants. The Nike Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2 was originally released in 2003 and hasn’t seen too much sun since then. Despite having been very popular with runners and Japanese fashion enthusiasts, the Spiridon Cage 2 never really caught on in the mainstream sneaker scenes. In fact the shoe has been greatly overshadowed in recnet years, especially with the name ‘Spiridon’ being associated with the more popular ‘Air Zoom Spiridon’ originally released in 1997. Nonetheless, Nike pulled the underappreciated model out of the vault this year for a refreshing collaboration. Stüssy produced two colourways of the Spiridon Cage 2’s both of which dropped in April this year. Both colourways were knockouts but one certainly stole the limelight. Available in a ‘Pure Platinum’ rendition as well as a ‘Fossil’ colourway, the later proved to be the more popular pair, and its easy to see why. The pair has an upper consisting of mesh and woven textile overlays, sporting a bold black swoosh. Stüssy branding can be found on the tongue, heel and outsole of the sneaker. This pair is perfect for the warmer months to come and is somewhat of an understated heater! Aethetics aside, the technology used in the Air Zoom Spiridon Cage 2 was well ahead of its time when it deuted in 2003. The model has a caged Zoom Air Unit in the heel and a full-length foam midsole, making this technical runner a good everyday runnaround. Since the Stüssy collaboration, Nike have began to push out more Spiridon Cage 2’s in a variety of colours, a few of which I have my eye on. This collaboration was the perfect way to reintroduce one of Nike’s more obscure models back into sneaker culture.
I hope you have enjoyed reading about Stüssy’s history and it’s Nike collaborations from the first to the last. Stüssy’s importance in sneaker history should not go unnoticed as they have been paramount to pushing innovation in collaborative ways since the get go in 2000. They were the first clothing brand to ever have an official collaboration with Nike and the first company to have their own logo on a Nike product. The work done by the duo has laid the foundations for sneaker collabortion today, which becomes so much more apparent when looking back at their longstanding partnership.
2019 has had a lot to offer in terms of the sneaker releases, retros and collaborations which we have been treated to by many of the big brands. In this article, I will be sharing my year in regard to which creps I copped to rock, sold and restored, including a few stories along the way. This article is not to be confused with the ‘Best Sneakers of 2019’, which is currently in the works!
I began the year with a bit of a heater, a shoe which actually released towards the end of 2018 but I didn’t get my hands on until February. Originally deemed a Shanghai exclusive the Concepts x Nike ‘Green Lobster’ Dunk SB thew SB fans into a frenzy trying to get secure a pair. The collaboration first released in Shanghai as a surprise drop on the morning of the 22nd of December and then received a slightly wider, but very limited, release on the 28th. I managed to get a pair of the converted Lobsters through an early morning campout and a bit of good fortune! I was actually camping out for a pair of the Concepts ‘Purple Lobster’ Dunk SBs with my brother, Max, at Concept’s Dubai location. We arrived just before 4am with the aim of bringing home two pairs of the Purple Lobsters! After about six hours in line, we were informed that there were hardly any big sizes available, much to the despair of sneakerheads towards the back of the line. Luckily for Max, he got his hands on a pair in his size but took the only UK10. Due to the uproar in the line, the management agreed to give those who missed out on their size first dibs on the stash of ‘Green Lobsters’ which were set to be released. So I put my name down and left empty-handed. About a month later the release date for the green pair was announced but unfortunately, I was back in the U.K. getting on with my studies. Knowing I should have a pair on hold, I sent my dad who was more than willing to wait a little while and bring home the Lobos. He found it hilarious that people in line were photographing each other’s sneakers – a very normal thing in today’s culture. After a bit of negotiation, he got my pair! Unfortunately, the only pair left was half a size big so I actually ended up selling them after failing to swap them for my true size. Out of the rainbow of Concepts Lobster SBs, I have to say the greens are certainly my favourite. Followed closely by the blue and purple colourways.
The next sneaker I picked up this year was a low key model which also released in 2018. If you read my ‘Best Sneakers of 2018’ article I wrote last year, you will know how much I love the Nike Skylon II. Last year I rocked the purple/pink/white Skylon II’s to death and was keen to get another pair. Coming in at the retail price of £84.95, the model is a no brainer if you want a casual run-around shoe or something to wear for the summer months. In March I bought my second pair in the orange/yellow/white colourway, one which I had had my eye on for some time. I managed to scoop them up off eBay for about £30, an absolute steal for a shoe which received a lot of wear in the following months.
In May, we witnessed one of the most hyped sneaker releases of the decade. Especially amongst the modern sneaker enthusiast, and in the current climate, people would put this shoe in their top ten list in recent years. We all know about Travis Scott’s relationship with Nike/Jordan Brand by now and his second Air Jordan instalment had people going nuts! The shoe responsible was Travis’ Jordan 1 which featured a colour palette never before seen on the model as well as an outlandish reserved swoosh. At first, sneakerheads were divided but those not in favour must have been swayed by the hype, as you hear nothing but praise for the collaboration today. This was one of those releases that was always going to be near impossible to cop, but somehow I managed it. This will probably irritate some of you reading but I didn’t really try! Dover Street Market came through with the W, and was the only raffle I entered just on that off chance. It’s funny because I never get wins when it comes to modern-day releases but the only two I have both came from DSM. The other pair was the original Off-White Nike Air Max 90’s from ‘The Ten’. Whilst those stayed in the collection, the Travis Air Jordan 1’s did not. The asking price at the time was pretty high so I sold them for cash plus one of the commemorative T-shirts from the drop. Looking back I wish I had held onto them for longer, as they currently go for double what I sold them for! But I was not in the financial condition to do so… student life and all of that.
Later that month, I picked up probably my most worn pair this year. If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen that I have rocked these non-stop since I grabbed a pair in the Footlocker sales. The pair is the Nike Air Max Plus ‘Grid Yellow’ a re-retro which first released alongside other Grid patterned TN’s in 1999. The pattern on the mesh upper alongside the clear cage make this shoe a showstopper in my opinion. I have also been tempted by the grey/red pair but am yet to pull the trigger. I recently travelled to Australia and my Yellow Grid TN’s were my crep of choice for the trip! The photo below was taken by Max whilst we were in Melbourne.
2019 has given birth to a revival of many models which had been long forgotten. Nike finally retroed the Tailwind IV and the Air Max Plus III. One model which is not in the same category but has seen a resurgence in popularity is the Air Max 90. Now despite all of this I actually didn’t buy any of the new 2019 Air Max 90’s despite trying to cop a few. Instead, I managed to get a pair of Dave White x Nike Air Max 90’s which were part of the ‘Wet Paint’ Pack in 2005. This is a big grail to many 90 collectors, myself included, and I copped this pair for a major steal of £50 back in June! As is usually the case with any Air Max over the age of ten years, the pair is no longer wearable, due to midsole crumbling but fear not, a restoration is currently ongoing. I had an old pair of Air Max 90’s with a very similar coloured air unit which I have used as a donor. The midsoles have been repainted and the OG outsoles have been attached. The only step outstanding is the reglue of the Dave White upper onto the doner soles, which in truth I am petrified of doing! I will get there eventually. A comprehensive tutorial article will be posted towards the beginning of next year outlining each step of the process, as well as the equipment needed and the overall costs. I have never done a sole-swap before so the article will be aimed more towards beginners, like me, who want to give it a go!
In August, I picked up my only non-Nike sneaker of the year, the Hypebeast (HBX) x Asics Gel Kayano 5’s. Honestly, Asics have killed it this year with collaborations from Ronnie Fieg, SneakerFreaker, Awake and numerous other high profile brands. Not to mention a variety of incredible GR colourways on some of their more desirable models. The Hypebeast Gel Kayano 5’s were certainly the standout pair for me and after eyeing them up for a while I finally got my hands on them during summer. The bulky 1990’s aesthetic of the model is perfect for today’s streetwear and high fashion inclination, and the materials used on this particular pair are second to none.
Nike’s Air Max line is my personal favourite thing in creps and over the years I have been collecting each OG colourway of each given model. One of these which I had not yet added to the collection was the OG Air (Max) 180’s in the Ultramarine colourway which originally released in 1991. The Air 180 was the first Air Max to advance past the standard air unit with its air bubble being visible at 180 degrees around the shoe. In October I was blessed by my boy Omar (shoutout to Omarni) with the 2011 retros of the 180’s for my birthday. What a hero! They have got plenty of wear since then, despite the wet conditions at the moment and could certainly do with a cleanup. A few OG colourways still elude me, in particular, the Air Max 360’s… but hey we’ll probably get a retro shortly!
One month later I copped my next pair and it was a bit of an impromptu one. This was the Gortex x Nike Air Force 1’s in the black colourway. I acquired these on a day out in London with my girlfriend where we spent far too much money and each returned home with a new pair of creps. While I copped the Gortex AF1’s, Lydia got a pair of the Nike Air Max 95 SP ‘Multicolours’ (rainbow slices) which released earlier in the year. I have hardly taken off the Air Forces since I got them! The Gortex and rugged leather upper make this shoe a very durable option for the weather to come in the next few months. I was drawn to this shoe mainly by the orange detailing which is present on the tongue and the heel, and the benefit of using them as a Timberland alternative!
My final sneaker pick up of the year was probably my favourite of the year. I secured a pair of the new re-crafted Nike Air Max 90’s in the ‘Hyper Purple’ colourway whilst in Dubai for Christmas. When I wandered into Nike DXB I was shocked to see both the purple and the volt colourways of the new Air Max 90’s sitting on the shelves. The purple pair, in particular, has been on my radar since we saw the first images online a few months back so these were a must cop! Whilst I was also tempted by the Volts in the OG colour blocking I am planning on waiting it out for the green pair dubbed the ‘Chlorophylls’. It’s fair to say I left the best till last. The new recrafted 90’s are honestly so much better in hand than they look in photos. The updated shape is beautifully done and makes the shoe feel much sleeker compared to the bulkier 90’s we’re all used to. The box size has been narrowed to match its original 1990 size and the pair comes complete with a Nike hangtag and arch supports. The box, hangtag and arch supports are all purple to match the theme of the sneaker which I think is a great touch from Nike. I can only imagine that the Volt, Blue and Green pairs, as well as the OG Infrared, will all release with similar packaging in their designated colours. This is such a good release, and the fact I was able to secure a pair two weeks before they drop in the U.K was pretty cool!
So that is my year in sneakers!
What did you pick up this year? Let me know what your personal favourite pickups were of the year by commenting below, or through Instagram @crepcultureblog
Prior to 2019, the Nike Air Max 90 was going through a rough patch. While the model has remained somewhat popular amongst enthusiasts, the Air Max 90 has been cast out of the limelight in recent years. The popularity of the shoe has been at a low, and other Air Max models such as the 97 and 98’s have soared in demand in comparison. This is mainly due to the fact that the 90 has almost been neglected by Nike. The general release colourways were poor, and there had not been any collaborations on the model for a very long time. This lack of buzz surrounding the model had knock-on effects in the secondary markets, and as a result, the market for Nike’s Air Max 90 was almost dead. I remember seeing people struggling to sell some proper grail status 90’s during this time for hundreds of pounds less than what they were worth. We’re talking about some of the best; Tounge & Cheeks, Kaws, Warhawks… it was crazy. While sellers struggled to move their pairs, people looking to buy the model could find amazing steals. I took advantage of this and was able to find my personal grail, the Nike Air Max 90 x DQM ‘Bacon’ (2004) in my size and in amazing condition. I bought this pair in 2017 and paid no more than £140… I still can’t believe it. You’ll have to excuse me because I feel like I bring up my pair of Bacon’s every time I mention an Air Max 90, but they are number one in my opinion. Anyway moving on!
I also want to add that even though I’ve said the last few years have not been exciting for the 90’s, there have been a few one-off standout releases. There have been a few decent GR’s and QS’s, for example, the Halloween Air Max 90’s which released in 2014 along with a few nice colourways of the ‘Ice’ quick strikes.
Nike Air Max 90 ‘Halloween’ worn by @william_nikelondon, shot by @amieejerrard
Obviously, Nike’s Air Max 90 debuted in 1990, meaning next year, 2020, is the models 30th Anniversary. If you think back to 2017 when Nike celebrated the Air Max 1’s 30th Anniversary, it’s hard not to get excited about what is to come next year. Air Max month in 2017 had it all; retros of OG colourways, new Air Max models, the ‘Vote Forward’ campaign, the Atmos elephant retro! I honestly cannot wait to see what Nike will give us for the anniversary of one of their most iconic models. This year, Nike has already started pushing the Air Max 90 in preparation for 2020, and the buzz around the model has already begun.
The Air Max 90 madness began in March when Nike dropped the ‘Mars Landing’ Air Max 90’s. This was a follow-up release from the famous ‘Moon Landing’ 90’s which are one of the most eye-catching Air Max’s you will see, constructed of a fully reflective 3M upper. Given the popularity of the Moon Landing’s, sneakerheads went crazy for this release and we saw an AM90 sell out for the first time in years (with the exception of the Off-White collaborations, which I have discounted due to the hyped nature of all Off-White x Nike drops). The release of the Mars Landing 90’s proved just to be a taster of the hype we would witness surround the model to come.
Nike Air Max 90 ‘Mars Landing’ by @sole_obsession
A retro of the ‘Python’ Air Max 90’s, which originally released in 2003, came next at the start of June. All features of the shoe were kept true to their OG form, and the pair flew off shelves! They were released alongside a green Python colourway which proved just as popular. Each colourway has since been restocked so if these take your fancy you can still get your hands on them.
Nike Air Max 90 ‘Green Python’ by @pattajunky
Later in the same month, Nike celebrated Pride Month with a commemorative pack of shoes called the BETRUE pack. The pack consisted of an Air Max 720, Air Tailwind 79, Zoom Pegasus Turbo and an Air Max 90, which proved to be the more desirable of the bunch. The pair had a multilayered swoosh in different colours of the LGBTQ flag as well as a bold yellow heel wedge.
Nike Air Max 90 ‘BETRUE’ by @juttenutte
In June we were treated to a very special release comprised of two pairs of Air Max 90’s, the ‘Mixtape Side A/Side B’ collection. This set of sneakers was inspired by the days before streaming services and CDs. One pair, dubbed ‘Side A’ features a clean white and grey upper with yellow accents. If you’re looking for a pair with crazy details, look no further! The attention to detail on this pair is amazing. On the tongue, you will see embroidered text reading ‘Side A’ as well as ’33 1/3′ RPM, which is the speed at which a record plays.
Nike Air Max 90 ‘Mixtape Side A’ by @lowricrook
This is the same story as the ‘Side B’ pair, but instead with a contrasting colourway featuring an all-over covert black and grey makeup. On the outsole of both shoes, you will discover a ‘Tracklist’ (in keeping with the theme of the pack) which lists eight iconic Air Max 90 colourways. These are; ‘OG Infrared’, ‘King of the Mountain’, ‘Anniversary Cork’, ‘Moon Landing’, ‘Lemon Frost’, ‘Untold Truth’, ‘OG Ostrich’ and ‘BRS Powerwall’. In my opinion, these are the heavy hitters from this year’s surge of Air Max 90 releases, in particular, the ‘Side B’s’. I was gutted not to get a pair for retail when they released! That being said, the resale price has dipped a little bit in the last month or so. The only pair for me which competes with these will come a little further down the list!
Nike Air Max 90 ‘Mixtape Side B’ by @emilyhol_x
‘Viotech’ is a term for a colourway which is used from time to time by Nike on various different models. In 2002 the Swoosh brought us the Viotech Nike Dunk low featuring an array of primary and secondary colours in a mismatched colour block scheme. In 2003, an Air Max 1 dubbed ‘Viotech’ was released in collaboration with Tokyo based sneaker boutique, Atmos. This different type of Viotech incorporated a variety of neutral tones and a bold purple swoosh. This year, Nike dropped two Air Max 90’s using the original 2002 Viotech Dunk colour scheme with an upper composed of vibrant suede. Enthusiasts went crazy for the distinctive pairs and both 90’s dropped in August, making them one of the better summer releases of the year. The second colourway (2.0) is still available at some stores so be sure to have a look if you like the look of these.
Nike Air Max 90 ‘Viotech 2.0’ by @shoezen.one
Nike spiced up the return of the Air Max 90 further with the implementation of the model to their ‘Nike By You’ program, the modern-day Nike ID. Not only was the 90 available for customisation, but there was a limited run of Levis options allowing sneaker enthusiasts to use premium materials and colours on their own unique pairs. The response to this design opportunity was enormous, and the Levis/Nike by You options expired after about 5 minutes! People who were quick enough conjured up some pretty remarkable pairs, making those who failed to secure a pair that much saltier! In years gone by, the Air Max 90 probably would not have been the model of choice by Nike to use for a design collaboration this huge. This is one of the reasons perhaps that the popularity of the model has diminished. The drive by Nike this year to propel the Air Max 90 back into popular demand amongst old and new sneakerheads has been amazing. The releases and collaborations thus far have been some of the best of the year, and the boom in adoration for the model has come perfectly in time for its 30th Anniversary next year.
Levis x Nike By You by @mikeknowsbest
The final set of Air Max 90’s which I want to touch on are hands down some of the best from the year. This pack is, of course, the Basement x Nike Air Max 90’s which consists of three colourways, each representing a different city in the United Kingdom. Nike and the Basement have linked up only once before back in 2017 on pair of Nike Dunk Lows. While the limited Dunk was exclusive to a pop-up put on by members of the Basement collective, the 90’s were widely available at various retailers around the country. The overall theme revolving around this pack of sneakers was ‘Real People Doing Real Things’ and the Basement portrayed this message incredibly well through the construction of each pair.
The first of the three to drop was the ‘Glasgow’ pair on the 5th of October. Arguably the best of the bunch, the shoe featured a fully water-resistant tonal grey upper, with a leather orange tongue and reflective swooshes. The materials on this particular pair were selectively chosen to embody a street-ready shoe for everyday wear. The Basement/Nike logo is embossed on the tongue, another small detail which makes this shoe a scorcher!
The Basement x Nike Air Max 90 ‘Glasgow’ by @jay.zed_
Next came the ‘Manchester’ Air Max 90’s. This subtle sneaker was reasonably slept-on compared to its other city pack counterparts, but nevertheless, it packs a punch. The Manchester pair of 90’s feature an all-over black upper, made up of water-resistant Codura, which is offset by hits of neon green on the heel-tab and pull-tab. The detail which really sets this pair apart from the others is the use of the Jewel swoosh, rather than the traditional swoosh. This is the first and only time a Jewel swoosh has been used on an Air Max 90 but I doubt it will be the last.
The ‘London’ Nike Air Max 90 was the final instalment of The Basement’s City Pack trio. This pair came complete with a range of premium materials in different tones of grey. Each grey hue on the upper had its own set material, giving the model a different yet harmonious feel across the shoe. The stand out feature on the London pair was the use of interchangeable velcro swooshes, which give the owner a degree of personalisation. This is an element which Nike has deployed on a number of models over the past two years, most notably on the Nike Air Force 1 and the Air Jordan 3. The Basement 90’s arrived with four different swoosh options which only added to the desirability of the collaboration. I mentioned earlier that only one pair competed with the ‘Side Bs’ for my Air Max 90 of the year, and this is it. The London pair from the Basement trio is my favourite from the pack and is honestly close to perfection.
The year as a whole has been an extremely exciting period for fans of the Air Max 90. The buzz has been brought back to the model through various releases, events and collaboration surrounding the icon, that is the Air Max 90. It is fair to say that Nike’s neglect of the shoe is well and truly over! I have seen 2019 to be a bit of a ‘resurgence’ of the Air Max 90, hence the title of this article, as even one year ago no one really cared about it! I understand that popularity and hype surrounding a model doesn’t make it a good shoe but it is nice to see the 90 getting a bit of love once again. This year, despite the madness, has only been a taster of what is to come in 2020. Already, we have been treated to some information regarding the future of the model next year.
In 2017 Nike brought back a remastered Air Max 1 much to the enjoyment of fans of the model. Similarly, next year the Swoosh intend to revisit the Air Max 90 and bring it back in its true OG form with adjustments to the shape, construction and detailing of the shoe. The cut of the toe box and mudguard have been altered to sit more at the height at which they did 30 years ago. The most obvious change to current 90’s is the stitch which runs over the swoosh, which Nike has incorporated on the remastered pairs. Nike is also meant to be recreating the ‘skinny-box’ design which was so prominent throughout the 1990’s – completing that true OG Air Max 90 feel!
So far we know that the sneakers are releasing in their OG Infrared colourway, a must cop for many Air Max nerds like myself, along with Volt, Blue, Obsidian and Teal renditions. A special 30th Anniversary pair with a White/Sail upper will also be available featuring commemorative dubrae’s.
I for one cannot wait for what is to come in 2020 surrounding Nike’s Air Max 90 and I know many of you feel the same way! I also want to say a huge thank you to everyone who sent in photos of their pairs for me to use in this article. For this one, I really wanted to get as many people involved as possible, rather than using stock photos or photos from the big blogs. The response I got back from everyone was immense, so thank you all!
2018 has been a monumental year in terms of footwear. We’ve seen a whole load of new technology and models introduced, along with extremely coveted collaborations and huge growth of an already booming sneaker industry. In this article, I want to break down my ten favourite releases of the year, along with some honourable mentions. Bearing in mind I am a Nike guy so the list may be a little biased!
Also, huge shoutout to Dan Freebairn (@kickposters) for letting me use his illustration for the featured image of this article. Follow the link below to view his website and check out some of his other work!
An unlikely contender for most people’s top ten but a certain for mine! The Skylon II originally came out in 1990 and was the first Nike model to feature heel and forefoot air in its foam midsole. This year was the first time the model has been retroed since its original debut and the timing couldn’t have been better (especially with the ‘retro runner’ trend at the moment). The vibrant colours used on the Skylon definitely make it a stand out! The two colourways featured above were my favourite from the year.
9. Adidas Yeezy 700 Wave Runner
I had to include one Adidas shoe on the list and it’s got to be this one. Probably the strongest model (IMO) in the Adidas Yeezy locker, the 700 wave runner. Despite technically dropping last year, in very limited numbers and exclusive to the US, the model saw a global release this year and made waves in the sneaker community. Kanye’s first 700 colourway has sold out instantly on every drop. I would love to get my hands on a pair but unfortunately, the retail price on this pair was pretty high – £250 I believe.
8. Air Jordan 4 ‘Cactus Jack
Travis Scott has had a huge impact on sneaker culture over the past two years or so. This is his third collaborative effort with the Swoosh, this time with Jordan Brand on the Jordan 4. The inspiration behind the colourway came from the jersey colours of Travis’ hometown basketball team, the Houston Oilers. These 4’s released just around the time Travis dropped his latest album ‘Astroworld’ and contributed to the hype of the album further. I was lucky enough to be gifted a pair for my birthday!
7. Nike Air Max Plus OG
The Air Max Plus (or TN’s) saw another retro in its OG colourways towards the end of the year. Even though this model has been re-released in its OG form a handful of times, this release was certainly an anticipated one amongst air max enthusiasts. Nike got this release spot on and the packaging was next level! The box design featured the pattern of the TN’s toe box all over it, and the shoes even came with autonomic arch supports! This addition is something we haven’t seen in Nike packaging since the early 2000s, mainly because they’re a bit outdated but it definitely helped regain that vintage feel. My favourite of the three colourways was the OG ‘Tiger’ pair.
6. Nike Air Max 98 ‘Gundam’
In 2017 we saw a variety of Air Max 97’s released in a range of OG and new colourways for the 20th Anniversary of the model. This got sneakerheads excited for this year as we hoped for the same on the Air Max 98. Nike did not disappoint. The first two colourways we saw this year were the ‘Tour Yellow’ and ‘Gundam’ 98’s, the best of the lot if you ask me. The ‘Gundam’ colourway takes the number six spot on the list. The OG colourway is the perfect combination of blue, red, white and black and is bound to turn some heads. I always love the OG’s and this one is on right at the top of my hit list.
5. Nike Air Max 1 ‘By Day’
I’ve already written about my love for this shoe in a previous article so I’ll keep this one brief! The Air Max 1 ‘By Day’ or the Pompidou Air Max 1’s released in September and was a relatively slept on drop in the grand scheme of things. The sneaker features coloured piping all around the white upper, reminiscent of that of the Centre Pompidou in Paris. I love that Nike has gone back to the routes of the Air Max and delivered a colourway in celebration of them. Click the image above to read my full article on Nike’s history with the Pompidou Centre.
4. Nike React Element 87 ‘Sail’
Nike made some serious headway in 2018 with retros, collaborations and entirely new models. This falls under the category of the latter. Nike React was a technology introduced to us through their running shoe the ‘Epic React’ and was seen as a counter to Adidas’ beloved ‘Boost’ technology. This is the first time the springy sole was utilised on a lifestyle shoe and was, and remains to be, extremely popular. The new model also features a semi-translucent upper. The ‘Sail’ colourway was the first of many to be debuted to the world, and in my opinion, the best of the bunch. The model’s popularity is reflected in its resale price, currently selling for roughly £330 (Stock X).
3. CDG x Nike Air Max 180
The Air Max 180 was seen a whole lot throughout 2018 in a variety of colours and makeups. One of the leading colourways was this 180 by Comme Des Garçons and Nike, a partnership spanning almost a decade. The sneaker was pushed into the eyes of the world at Paris Fashion Week for SS18 and made an immediate mark. Three colourways of the model were released, all with a bold pink foundation, but the black and pink version was my personal favourite.
2. Parra x Nike Air Max 1
Piet Parra and Nike join forces once again on the Air Max 1. This is the third time the pairing has worked on an Air Max 1 together (not including the Albert Heijn Air Max 1’s which were not released to the public), the first time in 2005, the second in 2009. A slightly different approach was taken on the 2018 collaboration; the shoe featuring colours and patterns in the style of Parra’s artwork. A Nike Air Zoom Spiridon was also released beside the Air Max 1, as well as a full tracksuit. The model flew off shelves and was very difficult to get hold of. This shoe (and the surrounding release) was executed perfectly to continue Piet Parra’s legacy with Nike.
1. Sean Wotherspoon Air Max 1/97
I really did not want to put this in first spot due to the number of these I have seen this year… and the fact I wasn’t able to grab a pair… but how could I not. The whole story behind these is enough to sell the shoe alone. The fact that Sean Wotherspoon, a vintage collector, curator and co-owner of Round Two was able to take part and win the Nike ‘Vote Forward’ Campaign is something you dream about. The drive behind his Air Max 1/97 hybrid got everyone talking and as a result was probably the most hyped release of the year. This has taken the number one spot on my list because of Sean’s backstory and the process of building the shoe surrounding the Air Max day campaign. The material and colour combination is entirely unique to a Nike model and the hybrid wave is back in full effect as a result. I have written a full-length article on this sneaker and its importance in today’s crep culture. To read it, click on the photo above.
So yeah Sean’s 1/97’s rank supreme in my eyes.
It was incredibly hard to narrow the list down to just ten pairs so it wouldn’t be right to do ‘the Best Sneakers of 2018’ without a few other mentions, worthy of the top few spots. So in no particular order:
Nike Tailwind 87:
Originally released in time for the Honolulu Marathon in 1986, the Tailwind changed the course of Nike footwear forever. The shoe was the first ever to feature the brands famous ‘Air’ cushioning in its sole. The model officially hit retailers the following year in 1979 and sold out straight away! In 2018 we saw a retro of the iconic model, in a colourway as close as possible to that released to the public in 1979. The shoes also came with a pair of white and blue Nike socks incorporating the vintage logo, a nice touch!
Skepta x Nike Air Max Deluxe
Finally, this year we saw retros of the Air Max Deluxe, a model not seen since 1999. The silhouette had a big year releasing in a variety of OG colourways as well as this collaboration with U.K. rap artist, Skepta. This was Skepta’s third collaboration with Nike and went hand in hand with his tour, ‘No Sleep on Tour’.
Supreme x Nike Zoom Streak Spectrum Plus
Supreme and Nike had probably one of their weakest years in terms of collaborative footwear. Out of a bad bunch, however, came these gems. The Streak Spectrum Plus’ debuted in 2003 and were designed for Japanese runners by Steven Smith. The most eye-catching feature is, of course, the flames, which run from the toe backwards. This design was inspired by the hot rod culture in the U.S. Before this collaboration, the model was pretty much forgotten, so it’s always good to see a banger like this make a comeback.
Diamond x Nike SB Dunk
Nicky Diamond and Nike SB have an incredibly important history in the formation of the crep culture we see today. In 2005, the original Diamond Supply Dunk shook the world. It was like no skate shoe anyone had seen before, featuring the famous ‘Tiffany’ (Diamond) colour and black crocodile leather on the upper. Towards the end of 2018, we began seeing leaks of another Diamond Dunk low and we got three of them! The photos above depict my favourite of the colourways, the third being an all over yellow dunk, releasing in quantities of around 250 pairs. The dunks feature the platinum silver swoosh used on the original pair, this time removable, revealing tiffany hints. Just like the original, these are extremely sought after. Dunks are back!
Air Jordan 11 ‘Concord’
Around Christmas time every year, Jordan brand releases a Jordan 11 which used to cause havoc, with just about everyone trying to get their hands on whichever 11 was being brought out. In recent years the hype surrounding this seasonal release has not been what it once was. If there was a Jordan 11 which was going to change this, it’s this one. The Concord has been a classic since 1995 and certainly deserves a place on this list.
Air Jordan 1 x Union Los Angeles
The Jordan 1 had a huge year in 2018, with numerous colourways dropping and mass public appeal. These two pairs of Union Jordan 1’s were the best of the bunch in my opinion. Nowadays everyone is trying to get their hands on the original 1985 Jordan 1’s and this collaboration brought the OG’s to life in the present day. They are made to look old, with slight a discolouring to the midsole, laces and tongue. The yellow detailing around the panels certainly makes them a stand out amongst other Jordan 1’s and the mismatched upper is something we haven’t seen before on the model. I couldn’t make up my mind about which pair I preferred so they are both included!
Dragon Ball Z x Adidas Yung-1 ‘Frieza’
The Adidas Yung-1 has been one of Adidas’ most popular models this year and one of my personal favourites. This collaboration with Dragon Ball Z featured two models; the Yung-1 and the ZX-500, the first being the stronger of the two. The bold purple and pink detailing certainly make this sneaker stand out from the crowd. As well as this, the packaging was executed superbly, which always makes a big difference!
Daniel Arsham x Adidas 4D Futurecraft
Adidas’ 4D Future craft has got to be the most revolutionary innovations in footwear we have seen for quite some time. The technology is essentially, a 3D printed midsole on a running shoe. When we first heard of this project, people had a lot of questions. Will it even hold up? Is it comfortable? The answers are yes and yes. I have never tried on or even held a pair of these (due to their rarity and very high retail price), but have only heard good things. The reason these are included in this list is mainly due to the sheer technological advancements that have been made by Adidas and the possibilities this may lead towards in the future.
What do you think of my Top 10?
Let me know in the comments which you would or wouldn’t include! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more articles coming soon.
In 1987, Nike debuted one of the most iconic sneaker silhouettes of all time, the Air Max 1. The model was designed by Nike designer Tinker Hatfield, a man responsible for some of the greatest and most popular Nike shoes; the Air Max 90, the Air Jordan 3 and Jordan 4, just to name a few. The release of the Air Max 1 saw a revolution in athletic footwear, introducing never before seen technology. Tinker’s Air Max 1 is a shoe which is now recognised in every corner of the globe but its origins began in Paris, at the Centre George Pompidou.
The Pompidou centre opened its doors in 1977. At the time it was an extremely controversial building as it is in complete contrast to the surrounding area which is built up of typical french houses and restaurants. The Pompidou centre towers over the surrounding landscape and consists of steel and glass foundations. When stood outside of the structure everything is visible, mainly the escalators and piping as well as the different levels of the museum exhibits inside. It is entirely transparent, with its piping painted in an array of primary colours on the outside of the building. It is a building like no other! When I visited Paris, going to the Pompidou centre was top of my priority list.
Much like the Air Max 1, the Pompidou centre changed architectural design and changed the way people looked at buildings. Before becoming a shoe designer, Tinker was an architect and worked with Nike on building projects for years before moving to shoes. After visiting Paris and the Pompidou, Tinker began work on his new design. Years later in an interview, he claimed that seeing this building “turned his architectural senses upside down”.
Nike ‘Air’ had been around since 1978 at this point however it had never been utilised in the way it was on the Air Max 1. The airbag had previously been encased in polyurethane, embedded within the sole of a performance running shoe. The new airbag of the Air Max 1 was widened for stability, and the midsole was cut away, revealing the air unit. This was the first time the air unit was actually visible. This inspiration behind this design was, of course, the ‘inside-out’ aesthetic which the Pompidou Centre is so widely known for. Tinker famously said; “I am fully convinced that if I had not seen the building, I might not have suggested that we actually expose this airbag and make it visible”. He wanted to let people see inside the shoe, and actually through it!
Just like the Pompidou Centre, the original Air Max 1 was very controversial. Despite its revolutionary outcome, people did not understand it at first, and it received a lot of backlash. As well as the visible air unit being out of the ordinary, the original colour scheme was unheard of. The shoe featured a bright red mudguard and swoosh, a striking colourway entirely different from any running shoe at the time. This was another influence of the Pompidou Centre in Paris. The piping and mechanics of the building are painted in bright colours, making it visible from almost anywhere! Tinker wanted to recreate this on the Nike Air Max 1 and did just that. This shoe stood out!
Since 1987 the shoe has been held in the highest regard by sneakerheads everywhere and has been the forefather of a whole host of Air Max models. It has undergone many collaborative makeups with brands such as Atmos and Patta (most famously) as well as thousands of different colourways. The OG red colourway has been retroed a handful of times since its original release, most recently in 2017 for the shoes 30th Anniversary. It’s crazy that 30 years later the shoe’s rerelease can sell out almost instantly! The Air Max one has certainly stood the test of time as it is still one of Nike’s most popular models today.
The reason I wanted to write this article was due to a pack consisting of two Air Max 1’s, which came out this year. The pack was called the ‘By Day/By Night’ pack and was inspired by Nike’s heritage with the Pompidou Centre. Pictured below, the two colourways are reminiscent of the Pompidou during the day, and at night.
The ‘By Day’ pair (on the left) is the more eye-catching of the two. The shoe features coloured piping detail all around it, which of course is inspired by the Pompidou’s colourful makeup. My favourite detail about this pair is the colour used on the swoosh and the airbag. The red air unit symbolises that used on the original 1987 red Air Max 1 and the blue swoosh recognises the second OG colourway of the model – with the same colour blocking, just in blue. This pack is certainly paying homage to the inspiration behind the shoe and the history of the Air Max lineage. I am a sucker for all that so this was a must cop for me. In hand, they’re even better!
On March 26th 2016 Nike asked us to vote in the ‘vote back’ campaign, for which Air Max model we wanted to see brought back in 2017. This was in celebration of the third annual Air Max day, with the most popular shoe seeing a retro the following year. The winner of the vote was the Air Max 1 x Atmos “Elephant”, a sneaker which originally debuted in 2007. Despite not managing to get my hands on a pair, I was happy to see Nike bringing back a ‘grail’ for most Air Max enthusiasts. However, since the re-release of the Atmos elephant’s we have seen a plethora of very rare, exclusive Nike colourway’s brought back into circulation, and I do not necessarily agree with it.
Quick disclaimer – I only disagree with the brand bring back rare, hard to find models and colourways. I have no problem with Nike retro-ing classic OG colourways and general releases. For example, Nike has recently retro-ed two of my favourite models, the Air Max 97 ‘Silver Bullet’ and the Air Jordan 3 ‘Black Cement’, and I couldn’t be more chuffed.
My reason for writing this article was due to the Air Max day 2018 releases that we are set to see in March. I’ve got to hand it to Nike, it is an incredible line-up, featuring hybrid models and coveted collaborations alike. However, included in the drop list are the Atmos x Nike Air Max 95 and Air Max 1 from the Supreme Animal Pack (dubbed the 2.0’s). To the average consumer or recent sneakerhead, these releases will probably peak their interest – hyped, hard to get popular Nike shoes. However, for the OG sneakerhead holding onto their original 2006 pair of 1’s, they may not be as pleased. The Animal Air Max 1’s are currently listed on Flight Club for $2,375 – crazy money. I feel that by Nike rereleasing some of these models it takes away from what that shoe meant back in the day and even now! It deteriorates their value.
If you’re into sneakers and pay attention to sneaker blogs and Instagram accounts, you may have noticed that more reissues, like the ones mentioned above, are coming. After 17 years, Nike is bringing back the Air Force 1 B ‘Hong Kong’, as well as the Air Force 1 Low ‘Taiwan’.
In my opinion, these shoes represent a period of time and should be left there. The brand should be looking forward, not backwards, in terms of new technologies and materials. To be fair to them, Nike has shown a lot of promise in terms of looking forward – for example, the release of the Vapormax tooling, now being used on a variety of hybrid models like the Vapormax plus and the Vapormax 97’s.
But hey, who can blame Nike for taking advantage of a booming sneaker industry, the Swoosh raking in $32.2 billion in 2017. Especially in the Air Force 1 department, with Nike pushing the resurgence of the model (despite it never going out of fashion) at the end of 2017. Furthermore, the creps of the past may have aged. Midsole crumbling and flat air bubbles are common ageing processes for a lot of Nike models, and the reissues offer an opportunity for collectors to swipe up a pair of their favourite trainers that are actually wearable!