The second holiday in March is one we’ve been waiting for. For sneakerheads and Nike fans, March 26 is highly anticipated. Historically, it’s the date on which the Nike Air Max sneaker was invented, a shoe that’s spawned an entire subculture and community of collectors through its revolutionary concept that customers can “walk on air” and see it happen through a window to the sole. Little did Nike know, thanks to Marion Rudy’s technology and Tinker Hatfield’s design in 1987, that an icon would be born (more on the shoe’s history later). Since 2014, Nike dubbed this day Air Max Day, and lucky for shoppers, this year’s event is finally here.
Nike Air Max Day is a time to celebrate the iconic sneaker style by remembering its history, but it’s also when Nike releases some of its most coveted limited-edition drops, along with special deals to score. For 2022, Nike is celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Air Max One, focusing heavily on modern iterations of the design that started it all.
Nike Air Max Day release info
For the holiday, Nike has dropped a trio of Air Max 1 styles in various regions around the world to celebrate the idea of a global community.
In North America, you can get your hands on the Air Max 1 “Blueprint”, which features a grid pattern on the swoosh over a mix of blues, grays and whites. The second of the trio is “La Ville-Lumière” which translates to “City of Lights.” This style is made just for women in a tonal design that comes with dangling charms of the storied model. Lastly, exclusively for Asia-Pacific and Latin America, is the premium “Wabisabi” iteration featuring canvas and suedes in earthy tones and intentional cracks to pay homage to the traditional Japanese idea of beautifying imperfections.
Also launched for Air Max day is the “Air Max Motif.” This style feels slightly sleeker than versions past, is made from recycled materials and shows a larger window in the Air bubble of the sneaker. Inspired by Tinker Hatfield’s original Air Max, this sneaker redefines the icon in a modern way with air-assisted midsoles and translucent rubber outsoles. It comes in tripe black, yellow and sport blue. “Air Max” is embroidered at the heel and the Nike Pinwheel motif is marked on the insoles for a bigger flex.
Additionally, The Swoosh has released an emerald-tinged version of the Air Max 97 SE for men to honor the 35th (or emerald) anniversary of Air Max technology.
The fun of Nike Air Max Day is that the limited-edition styles come and go quickly (history proves that these drops don’t last more than an hour) so you’ve got to be on your shopping game and click fast. But if the limited-edition shoes sell out before you can snag them, there are always other new Air Max styles to add to your wardrobe. And while you’re at it, it’s worth checking out the best Nike Shoes of all time. With spring on the horizon, there’s no better time to upgrade your sneaker collection with a few fresh Air Max styles and colorways below.
Nike Air Max Dawn
It’s sleek, sporty and features a low-profile Air sole that brings extra foamy comfort to your favorite sneaker icon. Consider the Nike Air Max Dawn your new everyday sneaker that feels modern in comfort and retro-inspired in design. Plus, it’s made with at least 20% recycled materials for an all-around feel-good buy.
Nike Air Max 270
Using knit in the upper of sneakers was a game-changing footwear trend for sock-life comfort, fit and breathability. Matched with the extra large Air unit, the Air Max 270 propels your forward while keeping you cozy and stable.
Nike Air Max 90
A large window is emphasized in this classic low-top style that boasts comfort and flair. For durability, it’s complete with a Waffle Sole and TPU overlays.
Air Max sneakers throughout the years
The history of Air Maxes can be traced back to the late 1960s, when an aerospace engineer named Marion Franklin Rudy began placing tiny air bags in shoes. After testing prototypes, he pitched this innovation to various shoe companies that all rejected him. Nearly a decade later, Nike co-founder Phil Knight was impressed by Rudy’s presentation, leading the Swoosh to adopt and debut the world’s first shock-absorbing cushioning in its sneakers. Later in 1987, Nike designer Tinker Hatfield introduced a window into the sole, so customers could see the magic of walking on air in action. Thus, the Air Max One sneaker was born.
Nike has reimagined this style over the past 35 years, and every iteration proves to be a sellout. Long-seeded success like this is rare, and Nike owes a great deal of it to the fact that pop culture has fully embraced the collection. Air Maxes had a huge moment in the ’90s, worn by characters Ross and Rachel on “Friends,” Jennifer Lopez in the 1999 music video for her debut single “If You Had my Love” and Will Smith in “The Fresh Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” (Instagram account @trainer.spotting highlights many of these pop culture moments throughout history for a fun scroll down memory lane.) Today, countless A-listers such as Bella Hadid, Kanye West, Diplo and Emily Ratajkowski can all be seen wearing Air Max styles.
The first Air Max Day was celebrated in 2014 with the release of the original Air Max, recreated with a special “Volt” sole. It was a limited-edition colorway featuring modern elements like “3/26” emblazoned on the tongue tab — a detail that still shines through every year on new AM1 styles. And perhaps the most memorable Air Max event was in 2017, when Nike invited a dozen creatives called ‘Revolutionairs” from all over the world to design and reimagine a new Air Max style in a Vote Forward Campaign.