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    Nike Air Max 90

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    Showing Air Max was here to stay.

    Air Max 90

    Take a seat and get ready to travel back in time. Back to the start of the 90s. A decade of music video dominance in youth culture, which also saw the breakthrough of the World Wide Web. This new era was a special time for sneakers, a period of exciting innovation for performance footwear that found its way to the world of fashion and everyday life on the streets. The Nike Air Max 90, created in 1990 as running footwear, was one of those trailblazing shoes. The 90 was the successor to the Air Max 1, launched in 1987. It wasn’t an easy task to achieve the kind of success that the Air Max 1 celebrated, but with its slightly larger Air unit, the AM90 bravely accepted the challenge. Decades later, we can say that the Air Max 90 lived up to its promise. Already during the 90s this collection sold very well, in mens, womens and kids sizes. In the first years of the new century, sales got even bigger, with models varying in all kinds of junior and children sizes, such as 'baby' and ‘toddler’. Within ten years, the Air Max 90 had completely won over the UK and, with it, had turned itself into one of Nike’s most iconic trainers. Today, that popularity shows no sign of waning. People still go out to buy the 90 whether it’s cheap and on sale or not. Now, what exactly is the secret of the 90’s success? From boys and girls to adult men and ladies, what makes it such a hit with people of all ages? The answer lies within its design and technology. The design of the Nike Air Max 90 has its roots in Paris, France. Sounds weird for an American sneaker? Well, the story is remarkable. Famous Nike designer Tinker Hatfield visited the French capital in the 1980s and was drawn to the Pompidou Centre building, which is famous for its inside out design. All functional elements of the structure, the electricity and water pipes, the staircases and lifts, are displayed on the outside. This inspired Hatfield to bring the groundbreaking Nike Air technology to surface, a design just as revolutionary as the Pompidou Centre. Three years after the launch of the collection's first model, we were treated to the next, the Air Max 90. It had an even bigger Air unit for better cushioning and more comfort, and freshly designed panels and lines that were inspired by Italian racing cars. The designers wanted to give the impression of motion and speed. Air Max was given an enormous boost. It was so popular many submodels were made, like the Air Max 90 Essential, Ultra, Ultra 2.0 and Premium, which all have their unique differences.

    The submodels of the AM90 come in a variety of styles. Colours range from pretty basic colourways such as the All Black (totally black), All White (entirely white) and Wolf Grey (mostly grey with minor white details, and not to be mistaken with another, darker grey, version), to more eye-catching shades like the Hyperfuse Solar Red (a completely red shoe), the Hyperfuse Volt (a greenish yellow design) and the Sunset Glow (mainly pink). It really gets exciting with the Multicolour, where several colours are combined, and almost every panel is coloured differently. Also, don’t forget the Air Max 90 Flyknit, which allows for interesting detailed colouring. Do you prefer the Nike Air Max 90 in mostly one colour? Then there’s the Burgundy (totally dark red), or the shiny Metallic Silver, Metallic Gold and the copper-looking Rose Gold. Otherwise, the completely navy blue or the Obsidian, with different shades of blue, could be your favourite. The Tan is worth a look as well, and the sneaker also comes in beige. Just as remarkable are the prints Nike used on this trainer. There’s been a classic animal pack with zebra and cheetah print and the famous dotted Safari pattern. Camo is also a much-loved print. Green, with camouflage, and always some khaki in it as well. Two lesser known examples are the Ice, with an ice-type crystal pattern, and the Air Max 90 Jacquard, which has small squares and other tiny shapes on top. Already a lot to choose from, right? Yet, there’s even more. Over the years, the 90 also has been merged with other models and released in exclusive models. Let’s start with the Nike Air Max 90 Leather, also referred to as the Air Max 90 LTR. At one point, the leather upper was replaced with woven material, fittingly named the Woven, and ripstop nylon material. This version particularly looks cool in grey. The Air Max 90 Sneakerboot is a high-top model, ideal when the temperature drops below the freezing point. Another high model is the Air Max 90 Utility, with a zipper to cover the laces. The Air Max 90 EZ is comparable to the Utility, with a sock-like fit and no loose tongue. There’s the Air Max 90 Breathe, also known as the 90 BR, which has a full mesh upper. All these characteristics can be found in one way or another in the Air Max 90 SE, which varies in material from suede to leather to mesh.

    Nike is famous for merging its best-known models. On this subject, there’s the Air Max 90/1. The sneaker has the outsole from the 1 and the upper from the 90. With the Nike Air Max Lunar 90, another merge was accomplished. This one combined a Lunarlon outsole with an Air cabin. In contrast to all these exuberant models, there came the amazing Air Max 90 OG, staying very close to the collection’s original version and keeping the retro look alive. We can’t talk about the AM90 without mentioning another special model, the Air Max 90 QS. The letters at the end stand for ‘Quick Strike’, in reference to how fast you need to be to get your hands on these exclusive shoes. For example, you have the snake-skinned Python and the Mars Landing, printed with the recognisable surface of the planet coloured in orange. Quickstrike brings us to another part of the sneaker world which is all about exclusivity. Extreme exclusivity is created with collaborations between Nike and world famous brands, artists or fashion designers. Exclusive models can honour a city, a particular day, and can be created by pushing the boundaries of technology. Let’s start with technology. In 2011, Nike launched something called VT (Vac-Tech), where shoes were given a shell-like look due to the thermo-moulded upper, making it a one-piece. This is best seen in the Air Max 90 VT Midnight Fog. Another nice feature was given to the Glow in the Dark model. You guessed it, the sneaker was equipped with panels that light up when the lights are out. When there’s something to celebrate, Nike brings out more special editions. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Air Max 90, the trainer got a special cork-made upper. Independence Day was honoured with a red, white and blue pack, dedicated to the American national holiday. Numerous city packs were made from several different sneakers. The Paris edition, for example, was made for the French capital with a tasteful purple Macaron colour. Every now and then, a well-known artist is given complete freedom to redesign a shoe. Fashion designer Virgil Abloh introduced his Off White magic to the Nike Air Max 90. Sneaker store and apparel brand Undefeated also made a version of their own, using white or black as the base colour with light blue, yellow or solar red details. Above the already inspirational examples and new releases coming in the future, you can decide to custom design your own version with Nike ID, and try to match the great designs the Air Max 90 has had in the last decades.

    Air Max 90 Essential

    Lots of trends from the past are brought back into fashion. Some people want a little vintage in their lives, and brands sometimes answer to that call. Around the mid 2010s, young people started to wear old school sneakers, especially those with an 80s or 90s look. That was great news for Nike. They had already given their most iconic sneakers an Essential submodel, like the Nike Air Max 90 Essential. Those models kept their original design and technology, as well as the same materials, that made the shoe a success in the first place. Every Air Max 90 Essential has the classic rippled panels, the synthetic leather and mesh on the toes, with no difference made between sizes for men and women. 90s vintage also means bringing back bright colour combinations. There are models with classic vivid colouring, but a fully black or white model exists as well, named the Triple Black and Triple White. Similar to those are the blue and grey one. There’s also the Sepia Stone colourway, giving the shoe different shades of brown.

    Air Max 90 Ultra

    Nike has always tried to push the limits of their products and take their models even further. Sometimes this has resulted in taking weight off the shoe, slimlining the design. That’s what the American brand did for the AM90 in both the men’s and women’s models. This resulted in the launch of the Nike Air Max 90 Ultra. They managed to slim the design down by removing anything they didn’t judge essential to the design. The upper of the Air Max 90 Ultra was changed into a single piece. Through these massive changes, Nike managed to make various models of the Ultra. For example, the Air Max 90 Ultra Essential combined a lightweight version with the essentials from the 1990s. The Ultra Mid Winter turned the trainer into a winter shoe, transforming it into a high-top model almost resembling a boot. Made for completely different weather, you have the Air Max 90 Ultra Moire. The Ultra Moire has tiny ventilation holes in the upper, ideal in the summertime. Sounds pretty special, doesn’t it? It gets even better, with the Ultra SE, a special edition of the lightweight version, created by using all kinds of different materials.

    Air Max 90 Ultra 2.0

    It is quite rare for a submodel of a sneaker to get a sequel, but the Ultra got one. The follow-up to the 90 Ultra was the Nike Air Max 90 Ultra 2.0. At first the differences between these two submodels are not that obvious. The Air Max 90 Ultra 2.0 is an improved version of its predecessor, slimming down the upper just a bit more, and enabling the use of other materials like mesh and Flyknit, the spectacular stitching technique Nike introduced in 2012. The Nike Air Max 90 Ultra 2.0 Flyknit, especially fine in green, shows Nike’s design skills and sense of courage. It’s impressive how they managed to combine 21st century technology with a 90s style and still kept the identity of the AM90. Besides this, there were a few other submodels that were made for the 1990 shoe which got a sequel as well. There’s an Ultra 2.0 Essential and SE, which also come in white and black.

    Air Max 90 Premium

    Like all major Nike sneakers, the 90 also got an exclusive release, with the Nike Air Max 90 Premium. This model certainly has a state-of-the art, premium look which makes the sneakers stand out from the crowd. This premium quality is expressed in a couple of ways. First, through the materials used. These range from leather and mesh to suede and bath towel fabric, which almost makes the shoe look like a baby’s toy. Second, its quality is expressed in the prints it uses. Not only in the logos and Safari-print, which can be found on the Air Max 90 Premium, but also in 3D prints of scales and elephant skin patterns. The 90 Premium Tape is another incredible model which has pushed the limits of the minimalistic version of the 90 with a Tape upper. And all keeping the unique style and comfort of the Air Max 90 from 1990.

    Rank the Nike Air Max 90

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