Your shopping region is

    Running on Air: A History of Nike Air Max

    From Tinker Hatfield's inaugural design to the 2024 Air Max DN, looking back at the Swoosh's groundbreaking sneaker series.


    Over 40 years ago, Nike revolutionized the footwear industry with the introduction of its groundbreaking cushioning technology known as Air Max. It all started with NASA aeronautical engineer Frank Rudy, who first captured high-density gasses in a urethane air bag, and later brought the idea to Nike as a footwear cushioning concept.

    Today, Air Max is one of Nike’s most iconic product franchises. Air Max sneakers even have their own holiday every March called Air Max Day, when the latest Air Max models are debuted and legendary colorways return. The breadth of the Air Max series, including innovations, collaborations and cultural moments, has given rise to legions of dedicated collectors around the world, and Air Max means something different everywhere you go.

    In the late ’90s, Italian ravers and graffiti artists became so enthralled with the original Air Max 97 that they gave the shoe its own nickname, “Le Silver.” In France, the Air Max Plus garnered its own colloquialism: “La Requin,” or “The Shark,” due to the shoe’s sleek profile, while Americans recall The Game name-dropping Air Max 95s on “Hate It Or Love It” and Redman spitting “Get you steppin’ in your Air Max” on “I’ll Bee Dat.” Likewise, fans of English grime grew up watching their favorite emcees like Skepta and Dizzee Rascal laced up in Air Max sneakers.

    Commemorating Air Max Day 2024, we’ve gone back through the years to survey the history of Nike’s flagship technology, including all the seminal models and what you need to know about them.


    When is Air Max Day 2024?

    Air Max Day 2024 takes place on March 26, 2024.

    Are Nike Air Max good for running?

    Although Air Max sneakers were initially designed for running, advancements in performance technology mean they are primarily viewed as a lifestyle shoe today. Recent releases of the Air Max are suited to light runs, but a specialist shoe such as the Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT% is a superior option worn for longer distances. 

    Are Nike Air Max good for basketball?

    Air Max technology is used in various basketball silhouettes, from the Air Jordan to the LeBron lines. The shoe is suitable for recreational games of basketball, but a dedicated model provides better support for intermediate games and above.

    Are Air Max 90 comfortable?

    Nike Air is a proprietary technology that revolutionized footwear. The Air Max 90 features Nike Air and provides a cushioned step for comfortable all-day wear.

    Do Air Maxes run small? 

    Most Air Max shoes fit true to size. It is advisable to take your normal size when buying Air Max sneakers. 

    How to clean Nike Air Max shoes?

    Most Air Max shoes respond well to premium cleaning products, including the Air Max 90, 97 and 270 silhouettes. For more information on how to clean your shoes, visit our specialist cleaning guide.

    How much height do Air Max add? 

    The Air Max line is expansive with different sizes and proportions employed throughout. Models such as the Air Max 90, 270 and 720 are ideal for adding height of around 1 to 1.5 inches.

    How to style Nike Air Max?

    The Air Max is a versatile silhouette that was originally geared toward performance. However, the series has been reborn in a lifestyle context and is now most commonly worn as a casual, everyday sneaker paired with pants, sweatpants, jeans or shorts. Additionally, the style’s minimal design can be dressed up with more formal clothing such as slacks.

    When do the new Nike Air Max come out?