Air Max Day is here. Now in its seventh year, Nike has dubbed March 26 as its annual day of celebration as we look back to the release of its most iconic silhouette. Dropped in 1987, the Nike Air Max 1 was the beginning of a revolution and taking to an entire generation of popular culture, its release was also the debut of new sneaker technology.
Combined with the air cushioning technology from Marion Franklin “Frank” Rudy and the sneaker design of Tinker Hatfield, the Air Max was born. Throughout the past 32 years, Nike have reimagined the silhouette and its original technology – and every time, it proves to be a sell out. But how does a sneaker that at the time was relatively unknown, come to define a brand? Well, we can thank pop culture for that.
In an era where R&B icons were considered royalty and big name collaborations were a once-in-a-blue-moon phenomena, Nike cashed in big with the rise of popular culture. To celebrate the OG Air of our time, we’ve taken a look back at five iconic moments in Nike Air Max history. Enjoy…
the nike air max 96 makes an on-foot appearance in ‘friends’
Whether you’re a true Friends fan or not, almost everyone will remember the 1996 Thanksgiving episode, “The One with the Football”. Taking to the park for a football game, it was Rachel – aka Jennifer Aniston – who was spotted wearing a pair of fresh Air Max 96 sneakers. As a strong influencer for style even now, the sneaker rose to fame thanks to its on-foot cameo.
range rover’s new muse
Cross-brand collaborations in the ’90s were not unusual, however during those times they weren’t a day-to-day event like we see in modern marketing. Perhaps that is why this 1993 advertisement for Range Rover was so successful. Promoting the technology found in both the Air Max shoe and the Range Rover model – air suspension – it was like a match-made-in-heaven.
j-lo’s killer moves meet the nike air max plus
Looking back, its hard to believe that Jennifer Lopez’s 1999, ‘If You Had My Love’ was her musical debut. Nonetheless she became the darling of pop music at the time and with a music video to match. Busting out moves she is still now known for, at the 3:20 minute mark she can be seen wearing a fresh pair of Nike Air Max Plus kicks. If that wasn’t enough to convince you to buy a pair, we don’t know what is.
george h. w. bush had style
While politicians seem to be constantly clad in suits 24/7, sneaky paparazzi shots have often shown an off-duty side to the otherwise ‘proper’ individuals. In the case of late George H. W. Bush, it also proved he had taste when it came to sneaker style. During his presidential reign between the years of 1989 and 1993, the figure head was spotted donning a pair of Nike Air Max ’90 “Air Pres” – in a custom design nonetheless.
and the greatest nike ad featuring ‘the beatles’
And lastly, while Nike is always known for its advertisements, this will always be one of its most iconic. Promoting the fresh sneaker design in the ripe age of 1987, the visuals were backed by The Beatles’ ‘Revolution’. What made the TV commercial even more special, according to the book Careers in Sports, it was the first time the group’s music was used on television.