Nike Air Max

#AirMaxDay: Our photographers in the field pick their favorite Air Max

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Happy Air Max Day, everybody! Today marks the 33rd anniversary of the release of the Air Max 1 back on March 26, 1987.

And to quote Fatboy Slim, we’ve come a long way baby. From the groundbreaking visible Air units on the Air Max 1 to the full-length cushioning on the Air Max 720 and the brand-new 2090, the evolution of the Air Max silhouette truly offers something for everyone’s personal style.

This year we’re shining a spotlight on some of Finish Line’s key photographers, all longtime participants in sneaker culture, about their fondest memories of Air Max.

(Interviews have been lightly edited for clarity.)

Oscar Castillo

Founder, Modern Notoriety

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Finish Line: What was the first Nike Air Max shoe that captured your imagination?
Oscar Castillo: My first pair was the Air Max 1.

FL: What was the first pair you owned?
OC: First pair was the Nike Air Max 1 “112.” Back in 2008, Clark Kent collaborated with Nike on a three-shoe series that also included an Air Force 1 and Trainer. I had all three!

FL: What Air features in your current rotation?
OC: I would say the first Nike iD I’ve ever made, the Nike Air Max 90 “Infrared” Supreme – It was the first Nike iD that featured Infrared alongside black cement print.

FL: Is there a pair of Air Max you consider a “grail” or one you’d love to have? What makes that pair so special?
OC: As stated above, the Nike iD Air Max 90 Supreme. Infrared wasn’t a color that was widely available as an option on Nike iD. It was under what they’d call at the time “One time only”. The only option that was available to the majority of people was “Solar” but thanks to the plug at the time, I was able to use the actual Infrared color on my ID with the addition of black cement print. The option was only available for a limited time so I’m super grateful that I was able to get my hands on it.

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Mallory Talty

Photographer

Finish Line: What was the first Nike Air Max shoe that captured your imagination?

Mallory Talty: I’m an 80’s baby so I remember being introduced to the Air Max 95s in middle school and thinking they were so dope because all the schools I had attended prior to had very strict uniform policies.  

FL: What was the first pair you owned?
MT: Sneakers were so vital to expressing yourself and making a statement about your personal style back then. It was intimidating if you didn’t have the confidence to rock a look because kids were SO committed to being fresh. When I finally got it together the first pair I owned were Air Max 97s in a metallic colorway.

FL: What Air features in your current rotation?

MT: I have a bit of an obsession with fashion and am a vintage collector so I tend to be drawn to the styles I was really first exposed to, the 95s and 97s, but I also love Air Max 90s to mix with modern styled streetwear looks. 

FL: Is there a pair of Air Max you consider a “grail” or one you’d love to have? What makes that pair so special?

MT: I love the silhouette of the Air Max 270 and love what they did with the “Box” style. The space aura colorway is really special and I would love to incorporate it into my wardrobe.

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Vince Sirico

Photographer

Finish Line: What was the first Nike Air Max shoe that captured your imagination?
Vince Sirico: For me, it will always be the Air Max 1. I still remember the first time I really learned about how Tinker came about with the inspiration for the AM1 via the Centre Pompidou in Paris. It’s just one of those iconic moments in the history of footwear, so much so that my first trip to Paris it was a must-see to stand outside the Centre Pompidou. The fact that a sneaker influenced what I wanted to see on my first trip to Paris still blows my mind!


FL: What was the first pair you owned?
VS: Before I had my own money to buy a pair I used to try and pretend I could fit into my dads white/blue Air Max 360s. There was a point where I got close to fitting them and I would just wear them anyway because I loved them so much at the time. Once I got to high school, my first pair of Air Max was the Cranberry Uptempo 97. I found them on the back shelf at the outlet in high school right next to a pair of Cough drop Foamposites and it was one of the hardest decisions of my life trying to decide which pair to buy. I went with the Uptempo and loved them, but the thought that I could have had a pair of Foamposites in that period of time for under retail always drove me a little crazy.


FL: What Air features in your current rotation?
VS: Right now the one Air Max shoe I have in my rotation is the OG black Fear of God 1. I don’t think Nike has executed a shoe that good in a long time and have yet to see anything come close to it. Even the details from the packaging blew me away and it’s the last pair of Nike I’ve purchased.

FL: Is there a pair of Air Max you consider a “grail” or one you’d love to have? What makes that pair so special?
VS: Just about anything Patta / Parra touches on an Air Max is special to me. The two absolute grails that come to mind are the Green and Purple denim Air Max 1’s. I still don’t think anyone has used the mini swoosh better than them and when you think of a specific silhouette that has had a lot of collaborations, they really dominated the Air Max 1.

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Grant Tucker

Photographer

Finish Line: What was the first Nike Air Max shoe that captured your imagination?
Grant Tucker: I would have to say the first shoe that really got my attention was the Air Max 97 growing up because of the massive air unit. I was never able to afford them as a kid which is why I honestly didn’t really get into sneakers at all until after I got my first job but the 97’s always stuck out as a crazy silhouette to me.

FL: What was the first pair you owned?
GT: First actual pair of Air Max I ever owned were the Purple Safari Air Max 1.

FL: What Air features in your current rotation?
GT: Vapormax 360 (The ones I just shot, pictured above)

FL: Is there a pair of Air Max you consider a “grail” or one you’d love to have? What makes that pair so special?
GT: The burgundy Parra Air Max 1, easy.

Follow Grant on Instagram.