History of Air Max
Although Nike had incorporated Nike Air cushioning technology in their footwear dating back to 1979, the first sneaker to use a “Visible Air” unit was the Air Max 1, which released in 1987. The exposed air bag in the heel, providing a greater level of cushioning and comfort, became a groundbreaking feature in performance footwear and remains a staple in Nike footwear today.
Since the release of the Air Max 1 (also known as the Air Max ’87), Air Max technology has evolved from the heel to the entire shoe. The Air Max 90, originally released in 1990, incorporated a greater amount of air cushioning in the heel. In 1991, Nike released the Air Max 180, which extended the exposed air unit across the bottom heel and gave the wearer a lower profile of cushioning in the heel for greater impact absorption. In 1993, Nike unveiled the Air Max 93, which incorporated a sock liner bootie and the first ever, full-heel Air unit. In 1995, the Air Max 95 was released and featured compartmentalized air units of varying pressure in the heel and forefoot in order to maximize stability. In 1997, the Air Max 97 extended the forefoot Air unit and strategically placed foam padding throughout the length of the shoe, giving wearers a higher level of cushioning and stability. The Air Max 03 upgraded the design of the Air Max 97 to extend the level of Air cushioning in the shoe, but retain a higher level of flexibility in the shoe. Finally, in 2006, Nike released the Air Max 360, which not only extended Air cushioning throughout the entire outsole of the shoe, but also redesigned Visible Air to provide a level of structure and stability.
With the evolution of the Air Max shoe, Nike provides many options for runners whatever level of cushioning and stability is required.