In celebration of the 27th anniversary of the Nike Air Max, we trace the many milestones the owner of an Air Max goes through from start to end.
By Haikal Abu Bakar
Whether you’re a seasoned Air Max aficionado or looking to acquire your first pair, the search can be a process that’s both exhilarating and dreadful.
Christmas comes early if you’re able to acquire a pair from your local sneaker store at retail price on release day. But tough luck if what you’re eyeing is not a GR (General Release)!
Collaboration pieces are harder to obtain because of the lower allocated quantity, especially for those of us who live in Southeast Asia. This leaves you with little choice but to get embroiled in a ballot or even spend a couple of nights on cold concrete in the queue outside the sneaker store prior to release day.
If the luck of the draw has never been on your side, or queuing isn’t exactly your thing, then the hunt for the Air Max starts here.
Hunting down that Air Max is no mean feat.
Firstly, nobody wants to pay through their noses (and yet there remain many sneaker lunatics out there who continually prove this theory wrong). It would do you good to remember the lifespan of the Air Max tends to be dependent on the lifespan of its air unit.
Then there’s the size issue. Not everyone of us is blessed with size 9 or 10 feet – more common sizes with larger production – compounding the search process.
Then there’s the issue of time. Been a while since this Air Max in question was released? Good luck, buddy.
Thankfully, there’s social media and the Internet. For starters, there’s eBay. You can bet resellers from around the world will be listing their pairs as soon as the shoe drops, sometimes even prior to that.
Found it? Good. PayPal it and you’re done! Congrats, you’ve won your shoe, but have become part of the complicated love-hate triangle between buyers, retailers and resellers. By the way, if you’re a veteran worth your salt, you’d know to avoid eBay if this is an Air Max release from years ago.
Facebook forums have become quite the reliable source for acquiring recent releases. There are Air Max specific groups such as Air Max 1 Sell/Buy/Trade, but the sneaker will probably show up on generic sneaker groups as well. It helps to put out a post on the groups to inform members what you’re looking for – a good sneakerhead groupmate will tag you when a sale post for the shoe in question pops up. You’ll need to be quick and stealthy as a “Ninja” (forum lingo) because Air Maxes don’t remain on forums for too long before someone snaps them up.
Oh yes, that wonderful feeling when you finally seal the deal on that pair of Air Maxes you’ve been hunting high and low for. All the better if you managed to secure a pair from a local store/seller; your gems are ready and waiting to shine for you.
If the shoes are coming from overseas, the shipping tracking website is going to be the most visited site on your browser’s history bar for the next couple of days or weeks – only because your porn surfing is done incognito.
It’s like seeing the love of your life walk down the aisle when you spot the postman walking to your doorstep on delivery day. At that point, nothing else in the world matters. How’s this for crazy: We know sneakerheads who have the local postman’s mobile number on speed dial.
Wear (and Tear)
Deciding where and when to finally rock your Air Maxes can be a tricky one. Start by looking up to the sky; if you see the slightest hint of dark clouds looming, forget it – it’s not worth wearing them out only to have the buttery suede on your Air Max get destroyed in the rain. If, for some reason, you feel compelled to wear them out during the rainy season, you’ll need these wet weather pointers. Rock your Air Max on a special occasion like your wedding day (welcome to 2014, people have paired their wedding outfits with sneakers) or this Sunday’s Sole Superior.
Or you could do your big reveal online. These days it seems almost mandatory to share the sacred un-DS (Dead Stock) moment on Instagram and Facebook. To not just be another shoe in the shelf, change it up! Always fresh to see dope puddle shots or levitating edits of your Air Max.
The temptation to hashtag the hell out of the photo will be strong but you’ve got to rein it in – the only one hashtag that matters is #straatgram (#justsaying). But really, don’t kill yourself over that “perfect” sneaker shot.
Take good care of your Air Max if you want to prolong its lifespan. Leave your sneakers out to dry after each wear (not under direct sunlight), before storing them back into boxes. Storing them in an area of low humidity definitely helps, but hey, how many of us can afford storage units with dehumidifiers?
Like hamsters, the lifespan of the Air Max is about three to four years on average, assuming you don’t wear them every single day. The shoe’s most unique feature, the air unit, is also the feature you’d want to pay attention to for signs that its time on Earth is up. A once clear and transparent air unit which is fogged up is an indication to call the Air Max casket services.
Ignore these signs and you’ll end up like a sneakerhead we once spoke to. He was chilling in his Air Max 1 “Amsterdam” while out with a bunch of friends when suddenly it “popped”. The air unit called it a day. He bid his friends farewell, hailed a cab, and went home defeated. It can be that depressing.
Take as much time as you need to grieve over your loss. Fortunately, a bunch of crafty sneakerheads got over their depression quickly and decided they weren’t going to let their Air Maxes go. When life give you lemons, make lemonade right? Kudos to the guys from KLKIX for shooting this awesome video that shows the world exactly how a sole swap is done:
When a sole swap is done right, your Air Max, like a phoenix, can rise from ash to become whole again. Thank god for the Centre Pampidou, and thank god for Tinker. Thank god for the Air Max!