Riccardo Tisci Discusses the Nike Air Max 97’s Impact on Street Style

Designer Riccardo Tisci’s latest NikeLab collaboration arrives this month in the form of a mid-top Air Max 97, a first for the traditionally low-top runner. Before the collab hits shelves on March 26, Tisci spoke with Nike about the sneaker’s lasting impact on Italian culture and street style.

“The Air Max 97 had a huge influence and impact on Italian culture,” Tisci said. “It’s an iconic, young shoe of the ’90s. At the time, I was involved with DJs and music, and in the clubs, the people leading the big waves were wearing Air Max. That period has a lot of history. It was the first meeting of sportswear and fashion.”

Although Tisci admits he’s “getting older,” he said he’s still inspired by youth culture. According to Nike, this attitude served as the blueprint for the designer’s take on the Air Max 97, which boasts a mature, “sportswear meets luxury” inspiration.

Riccardo Tisci x NikeLab Air Max 97 Mid R.T.
Riccardo Tisci's NikeLab Air Max 97 Mid R.T. collaboration releases March 26.
CREDIT: Nike

Tisci said he extended the sneaker’s height to a mid-top “because I think it’s much more ‘street.’ It’s typical of me.” Other influences include the designer’s love of basketball and skateboarding.

“The future is about honesty,” Tisci said. “Everything people want seems to be honest, to be real. People want honest clothes, honest shoes, honest everything. This is really what people look for, design-wise, color-wise, and in fashion and in the way people dress.”

“[The Air Max 97 Mid R.T.] is super-honest and super-classic,” he said. “When things are very honest, they are modeled forever.”

Riccardo Tisci’s Nike Air Max 97 Mid R.T. will be available exclusively from select NikeLab stores and nikelab.com.

Riccardo Tisci x NikeLab Air Max 97 Mid R.T.
A model wears Riccardo Tisci's NikeLab Air Max 97 Mid R.T. collaboration.
CREDIT: Nike

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