The corduroy look is back on the Nike Air Max 97 with the fresh “Corduroy Pack” that brings forth two new iterations.
We know what you may be thinking and no this isn’t another Sean Wotherspoon collaboration. His days with Nike look to be long over but Nike has given the same look to the Air Max 97 again Nike Air Max 270 Damen that looks awfully reminiscent to the iconic pair that released a couple of years ago.
The two new iterations arrive with a corduroy upper that features the vintage-enthused material in a variety of different colors. It actually appears like the pairs are opposites of each other, donning the same colors, one pair is bathed in mostly blue while the other is bathed in pink. Other colors such a charcoal grey, beige and orange appear on the many overlays the 97 is most known for. Reflective detailing is added in for an extra flair while a full-length Air Max unit completes the new design.
The brainchild of designer Christian Tresser, the Air Max 97 was inspired by BMX bikes and adopted features from the Air Zoom Spiridon. It gained its nickname 'Silver Bullet' as it's sleek lines and reflective properties were akin to Japan's Nike Air Max 90 Damen lighting fast trains. Constructed of a mixed leather and synthetic mesh with reflective 3M piping, the 97 features a hidden eyelet lacing system with embroidered Swoosh branding. Underfoot, a full-length PU enclosed visible Air system of cushioning exists with 3 chambers providing comfort and support to the forefoot, arch and heel. Complete with a ribbon heel loop, this metallic speed demon personified maximum AIR Max.
Nike’s stock is currently riding high, and a roster of revamped classics and hard-to-find collaborations has kept things buoyant in terms of credibility within wider sneaker culture and off-the-shelf sales.
So, the reveal of a new silhouette, while not unexpected, raises questions as to what on Earth Nike thinks it’s doing with this giant, wearable airbag?
First up, it has been designed to tick a lot of sustainable Adidas Ultra Boost Womens boxes. For a shoe which is for the most part synthetic, its environmental impact appears to have been largely mitigated – Nike claims that the 720 comprises more than 70 per cent recycled manufactured waste, and that in production of its Air shoes some 95 per cent of waste is recycled, and that all facilities producing them in the US will be powered only by renewable energy by 2019.
All highly laudable – but more importantly, what’s with that massive rubber dinghy on the underside? Perhaps, considering the trajectory of Nike’s Air unit, this puffy shoe was inevitable.
The Air unit has its origins back in 1978 – the Nike Tailwind was a pro-focused running shoe which featured small, gas-filled polyurethane bags embedded in the sole, an innovation produced by former Nasa engineer M Frank Rudy, who was repurposing his work in blow-moulding Adidas Ultra Boost Damen astronaut helmets from hard plastic. The Air unit remained a niche, runner-only product for premium, specialist shoes, but it would become instrumental in helping Nike to dominate professional basketball – and by extension, capture its huge fan base.
NBA players had been wearing the Nike Blazer and Bruin since 1972, but the Air Force 1 – with a larger air unit than the Tailwind – was in 1982 given to six players (Moses Malone, Michael Cooper, Bobby Jones, Calvin Natt, Mychal Thompson and Jamal Wilkes), who ensured its success on- and off-court. The Air Force 1 was retired in 1984, but then reissued in 1986 as a street shoe – it went on to be the world’s best-selling sneaker. On court, meanwhile, Michael Jordan’s first shoe, the Air Jordan was introduced in 1984, and the Air unit, well, exploded.
One legend has it that the Nike Internationalist Womens NBA were constantly fining Jordan, as his gaudy kicks contravened the then-strict courtside colour regulations for footwear. Supposedly, Nike paid the fines each time, smartly calculating that the exposure far outweighed any fee imposed by the NBA.