Can you share a memory of the first Air Max you ever owned?
I was 16 when the OG Neon Air Max 95 dropped, but it was only a year later – when I started working part-time at Far East Plaza – that I became super enamored with that model and colorway after it surfaced in various Japanese print magazines stocked at my workplace. Flipping through the pages of magazines like Boon and Non-no allowed me to be transported to Tokyo – planet of cool, where these super dope street kids were mad about the 95 and other trainers and they dressed mad fresh. I was wowed from the go and didn’t understand why these rad colorways and models weren’t available in Singapore. I never owned a pair of sneakers above S$100 till I hit my mid-twenties, so the Air Maxes were out of my league as a teen. I finally got to fill the nostalgia gap in the late 2000s, copping the Air Max 90s Infrareds when they were retro-ed – wasn’t a fan of the ostrich leather bumps, to be honest – and scoring the neon AM 95s at the Nike outlet store later on.
What do you like about the Air Max shoe?
The love – and hate – stem from the Air bubble. That clear pocket of Air is what makes the Air Max gorgeous. Of course, the bubble isn’t so gorgeous when it crumbles or cracks, but that also just serves to remind the consumer to treasure and cherish the beauty while there’s time. As the eternal adage goes: rock, don’t stock.
Which is your favourite Air Max spin-off shoe and why?
I don’t know if it counts but I’m going to say the Nike Air Nomo Max 2, which was a rare pair of Nikes I owned when I was 18. I bought them for S$89, at more than half off. I don’t watch baseball but I knew of Hideo Nomo and it was rad that Nike had an Asian endorsed athlete sneaker. More importantly that sneaker just looked super dope to me with that huge Air bubble at the back and two mini bubbles at the front. I can still remember the swagger in my step walking to Poly rocking those.
In your opinion, what has been the most interesting milestone in the history and evolution of the Air Max?
I find it very interesting how the Air Max 97 got super huge in the last two to three years, especially with the teen set (who probably weren’t born when the shoe first released) and with both boys and girls. I know fashion is always about coming back in cycles, but I was super intrigued how this one caught on, and across so many style tribes. I also think it’s interesting to see how Nike continues to focus on design, tech, and R&D for the Air Max, while balancing sensibilities with what ultimately sells and moves units. Current trends suggest that working with fashion designers like Vigil Abloh (anyone notice that “The Ten” seems to have now gone to “The Hundreds”?) and Jerry Lorenzo churns out the hits, so I think they’ve got an interesting balance to maintain in coming up with new designs, reworking old designs or simply retro-ing the greatest hits.
Any particular Sole Superior-related Air Max story to share?
I’ve seen so many Air Max grails at our event but I still get super excited. Patta x Parras, Clot Kiss of Deaths, Kaws Currents, Viotechs; you name it, I’ve seen it. Sometimes I get nervy for guys that bust out some older super rare heat, but at the same time I feel super proud that they bothered to rock them to Sole Superior. It’s probably one of the best compliments to our event, when folks bust out their grails.