Nike Air Max Guest Designers Share Why the Sneaker Franchise Is Iconic

Round Two Sean Witherspoon Air Max
Round Two co-owner Sean Wotherspoon's Air Max 97 x Air Max 1 design.
Courtesy of Nike.

Not everyone gets the chance to design an Air Max. But Nike made it possible for 12 creators — dubbed “RevolutionAirs” — to work with its design team on a look that expresses who they are and what makes them tick.

And not only did Nike give the sneaker aficionados a one-of-a-kind design opportunity, the brand is allowing fans to vote on their favorite execution, which will be produced and released in 2018.

An opportunity of this magnitude could bring the creators pressure.

“I put a lot of pressure on myself because the Air Max is iconic,” Sean Wotherspoon, co-owner of bicoastal vintage boutique Round Two, told Footwear News. “Personally, I consider myself an Air Max enthusiast so I put the pressure on myself, like, ‘Man, you better not disappoint yourself.'”

Wotherspoon designed a shoe that merges the Air Max 97 and the Air Max 1, made in corduroy.

Nike RevolutionAirs Kyle Ng Air Max 1 Nike RevolutionAir Kyle Ng’s Air Max 1. Courtesy of Nike.

The reason the shoe franchise is so special, said Kyle Ng, cofounder of streetwear brand Brain Dead, is because of the design boundaries it’s pushed since its inception.

“Air Max is always conceptually pushing what a shoe can be,” Ng told FN. “The idea of Air is so weird; it’s such a bizarre concept. Like, how do we get to the [Nike Air] VaporMax from the Air Max 1? It looks so different but has the same essence.”

The Nike Air Vapormax drops on March 26, commonly referred to by sneaker fans as Air Max Day.

For Ng’s design, inspired by political and revolutionary movement, he looked to the work of artist Sister Mary Corita Kent.

“I was interested in the idea of what this project was, the idea of voting, and was inspired by this idea of what movement meant, political or revolutionary movement,” he said. “[This is about] moving and having something that you’re trying to move toward, and not just making yourself better but also making things better around you.”

Nike Air Max fans will be able to cast their vote starting Saturday for their favorite Air Max design from the 12 RevolutionAirs. Voting will take place via nike.com, and for people in North America, only through SNKRS. The voting will close on March 25, and the winner will be announced the next day.

Venus X Def Con One Nike Air Max Venus X’s Def Con One Nike Air Max design. Courtesy of Nike.