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    London’s Constantly Evolving Relationship With Air Max

    How Nike’s proprietary technology helped shape culture in the English capital.


    “At my school, your shoes had to be all black,” recalls Linus Nutland, a London-based sportswear product designer who grew up in Bristol in the early 2000s. “I had a pair of Vans at the time, and my mom didn't want to spend 100 quid on Air Max 90s for me. When I got to my last year of secondary school, my mate was selling an all-black leather pair for, like, 10 pounds. I told myself I was going to get those; I needed them for school. It was the silhouette to have, and I wanted in. That’s the story of how I got my first pair of 90s.” The founder of Nike Server, a digital consignment shop that strictly curates rare Nikes, Nutland shares a common interest amongst his London peers: a love for all things Air Max.

    Designed by Tinker Hatfield nearly 40 years ago, iconic silhouettes in the Air Max series maintain their prestigious status in the city’s streets today. Building on the runaway success of the Air Max 1—seen by many as London’s equivalent to New York City’s Air Force 1— the Air Max 90 debuted at the beginning of a transformative decade for the Oregon brand. Nike as a whole was so well received in the UK that the Swoosh soon opened a flagship NikeTown in the heart of London. The physical location was Nike’s way of putting a stake in the ground and cementing a permanent relationship with the city’s vibrant sneaker community. Over time, London's particular fondness for Air Max 95s (or 110s) and the Air Max Plus (or TNs) grew and grew, becoming synonymous with some of the capital’s most pivotal artistic scenes.

    Nike and Manchester United star Eric Cantona cultivated a close relationship throughout the 1990s, introducing an upcoming generation to the Swoosh's focus on style and performance.   
    Throughout the 2010s and into the 2020s, Skepta helped cement the roadman aesthetic, often pairing tracksuits with Air Max sneakers.   
    West London rapper Central Cee made the Air Max 95 part of his uniform, resulting in an inaugural collaboration slated for the 2024 holiday season.   

    Shop Air Max Inspired by London