London’s Love Affair with the Air Max 90

How one of Nike’s most coveted silhouettes became a staple of the city’s cultural footprint.


Designed by Tinker Hatfield over 30 years ago, the Air Max 90 still maintains its prestigious status in London’s streets. Like its sibling, the Air Max 95—dubbed 110s in London as a nod to its price tag in the earlier days—the Air Max 90 came to the scene during a transformative decade for the Beaverton brand. Sales in the UK footwear market were climbing in the ‘90s, and Nike played a big part—so much so that by 1999, Nike opened its first flagship NikeTown in the heart of London. This grand opening was Nike’s way of putting a stake in the ground and cementing a relationship with the city’s vibrant sneaker community.

Out of the dozens of Air Max models, the 90 has a special connection with London sneaker aficionados. But what is it about this specific model that tugs at the heartstrings in the city of Big Ben? GOAT takes a deep dive into that relationship for this year’s Air Max Day celebration.