In a further leap forward, Nike gave the Air Max 97 a fully visible Air unit along the sole’s entire length, which was accompanied by an audacious layered mesh upper inspired by Tokyo’s highly-streamlined bullet trains. Marking a high point in the series’ audacious, experimental designs, the ’97 even sported reflective piping embedded into the upper.Engineering a new sole unit for improved flexibility, Nike’s Air Max 360 used new thermo-moulding technology in place of layered foam to maximize performance, with a colorway that paid tribute to the series’ forefather, the OG Air Max 1.
Borrowing the ’97’s fully visible sole unit, the Air Max 2003 sported a (relatively, at least) minimalist upper and thanks to new improvements in construction, placed the foot closer to the ground for greater response and flexibility. The shoe’s upper sported a high-performance Teijin material, with a lightweight, spartan construction that tamed the previously wild Air Max series, in line with the decade’s design sensibilities.
The latest installment to the Air Max family sets to reinvent the wheel once again, with a virtually seamless upper utilizing Nike’s Flywire technology to wrap the foot in a breathable, lightweight mesh upper. Deeper sole grooves and a tubular construction are employed for improved transition, takeoff and landing in tandem with the series’ ever-present visible Air unit, topped off with an oversized reversed Swoosh that signifies just how far the Air Max series has come, almost 30 years after it started.