Cart is empty

Go to SF Shop

A History of Air Max Day Sneakers and Celebrations

Nike Centre Pompidou Air Max Day 2017Nike Centre Pompidou Air Max Day 2017

It’s been five years since first in 2014. If that news doesn’t make you feel old, it’s probably because you’re not — which is perfect for the purposes of this article, because you might learn something.

Back in the day, before Apple Watches and platinum albums, Beaverton dreamt up a novel concept: a day dedicated to their most-famous line. Early celebrations were pint-sized by current standards. No sneakers were sent into space, no documentaries were filmed, no VaporMaxes were plastered over Centre Pompidou, and nothing was ‘voted forward’.

So, how did we get from 2014’s humble beginnings to today’s titanic celebrations? Good question. Let’s take it one Air Max Day at a time.

The Air Max 1 released in 2014 would have been a true, one-to-one recreation to its forefather if it weren’t for a searing ‘Volt’ sole and ‘3.26’ printed on the tongue. Reviews were mixed, but everyone could agree it outshined the OG in the packaging department. Instead of a box, Nike delivered some shoes in huge Air bubble packaging, as Jacques Slade documented in an early video.

Beyond the product, Nike held events in key cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Shanghai, with the latter hosting a huge commemorative sneaker box. As a small win to their marketing department, the new holiday gave Nike their then most-liked Instagram post.

As three releases was now a puny effort, they lifted 2017’s collection count to seven. Old favourites returned, and classic colourways were merged, but the drawcard was the Air VaporMax. Arguably the first Air tech progress in years, the sneaker brought full-length Air into the equation, changing everything for the line. Cleverly, Nike buoyed hype with a CDG colab that released and sold out months before.

While some die-hards sent the VaporMax into space, Nike’s own stunts included projecting the model on the Centre Pompidou (the building that inspired visible Air), snatching up every billboard in Times Square, and a block party with Travis Scott. This was also the year Nike’s ‘Vote Forward’ competition was won by a guy called Sean Wotherspoon.

With the success of the Wotherspoons, Nike’s 2018 focus was on collaborative tinkering. ‘Nike: On Air’ brought people from around the world to a design workshop, with one of them getting the chance to see their design in stores. alumni spread crazy patterns over VaporMaxes and enlisted John Mayer for a teaser video. HQ Trivia (remember them?) released 100 AM270s, and Nike even enlisted young athletes to create an ‘Imaginairs’ collection of Air Max Zeros.

For every grand soiree ran by Beaverton, there was an equally enthusiastic event ran by local communities. Everywhere from Melbourne to Madrid, people came together to get down and geek out on design, underscoring a phenomenon that’s grown so big Nike couldn’t stop it. Even if they wanted to.

Latest Videos

Subscribe to our Newsletter