26.03.23FeaturesNike Air MaxPartnership

Why Sneakerheads Keep Nike Air Max in Their Foot Locker

Foot Locker Air Max History

Foot Locker have been filling up sneaker collections in Australia with hot Air since 1994. With Nike Air Max Day finally here and some special releases on the way, it’s the perfect time to look back on key categories and moments that have kept sneakerheads dropping into FL for their Air fix.

Nike Air Max 1 Anniversary
Nike Air Tuned Max
,Nike Air Max 93

OG Bringbacks

You gotta pay respect to the architects, and that’s exactly what Foot Locker have done over the years by ensuring generations of sneakerheads, new and old, are reacquainted with legacy Air Max models and colourways.

Given all the attention the Air Max 1 has received of late, it’s no wonder FL laced up their Stripers and customers alike in the ‘Anniversary’ reissue in OG ‘Sport Red’. But it’s not just fan favourites that FL have stocked on their shelves – there have been plenty of deep cuts for collectors, too.

In 2021, the Air Tuned Max returned for the first time since its debut in 1999, filling gaps in completionist collections. And in celebration of Foot Locker’s 25th anniversary in 2018, the not-often-seen Air Max 93 landed in its OG ‘Dusty Cactus’ colourway – a model Tinker Hatfield has noted (on record, no less) as one of his favourite designs!

Nike Air Max 2015
Nike Air Max 270

Innovation Air

Of course, Air Max isn’t just about serving up stylish sneakers. Its genesis was born out of expressing game-changing innovation and continued development, for which Foot Locker has provided an important platform.

Going all the way back to 2006, Nike launched the Air Max 360, the first-ever shoe to feature a full-length visible Air sole without any foam midsole structure. This was a momentous occasion and arguably the most significant advancement for Air since 1997 – when the eponymous Air Max 97 achieved a near full-length Air sole across two cushioning units. Foot Locker was there for the occasion, unleashing the AM360 in men’s and women’s colourways with a lavish launch.

This milestone in 2006 laid the foundations for Nike’s mid-2010s updates, namely the Air Max 2015, which did away with the 360’s plastic cage structure to maximise flexibility from heel to toe. As part of FL’s performance offering – they sell sport shoes, after all – the AM2015 was the flagship runner that year.

As the 2010s decade concluded, Nike officially embraced the crossover appeal of Air Max shoes by creating the Air Max 270, the first lifestyle-oriented flagship model to join the lineup. Never not referencing their past, this design contains cues from the AM93 – the ‘Dusty Cactus’ colourway helped launch the 270 – and Air 180. Of course, the star of the shoe show is the 32mm-tall Air unit, the component that’s been instrumental to its success as one of Nike and Foot Locker’s most popular models.

Sean Wotherspoon Nike Air Max 1 97
Nike Air Max 90 Concord

The Culture of Air Max

Following Nike’s acknowledgement of Air Max’s integration in the lifestyle space, the Swoosh celebrated this further in 2017 by enlisting 12 different collaborators across various creative disciplines to rework classic AM designs. Appropriately dubbed the ‘Revolutionairs’, votes were cast to select a creation that would become a real shoe. The eventual winner was Sean Wotherspoon, who fused the Air Max 97 upper to an Air Max 1 sole – then covered it in multicoloured corduroy. The never-before-done creation slammed servers and crammed campers come late March, hundreds of whom waited eagerly in front of select Foot Locker doors and their webstore.

Foot Locker gave sneakerheads the keys to Air Max city with their ‘Tune the Tuned’ activation in 2018, which enabled carte blanche customisation of the Air Max Plus: the quintessential shoe associated with the retailer. The campaign was an extreme success – tallying 5000 different designs before FL even announced the website had launched! – totalling over 20,000 creations from fans of the TN. Foot Locker reprised the concept the following year with the Air Max Plus 3, aka the TN3, another Maxxed-out icon. The Tune the Tuned website is still active now, so customise to your heart’s content!

In 2019, Foot Locker connected with their global audience of Air Max lovers via the social media campaign known as #MySneakerStories, which shared sneakerheads’ personal tales of their favourite shoes. Of course, the Australian contingent prominently featured local staples, including the Air Max 90 and Air Max Plus – two models almost always ready to be scooped up at FL.

,Nike Frank Rudy Pack Air Max Plus
Nike Frank Rudy Pack Air Max 90
Nike Frank Rudy Pack Air Max 97
Nike Frank Rudy Pack Air Max TW
Nike Air Max Plus ‘Kiss My Airs’ 2023
Nike Air Max Pulse

Air Max Day 2023

Let’s cast our vision on this year’s new releases to cap off Air Max Day 2023 at Foot Locker. There’s a new pack streaming into stores right now, inspired by Frank Rudy – the person responsible for inventing Nike Air. Without him, there would be none of the Air-soled shoes sneakerheads love. This pack consists of classics like the Air Max Plus, Air Max 90 and Air Max 97, plus the newcomer Air Max TW, which draws upon turn-of-the-millennium designs. Each pair contains callouts to the celebrated Air man alongside clean colourways. Keep an eye out at Foot Locker doors for the pack.

This next Air Max Plus to land at Foot Locker harks back to a slogan coined for Air Max Day in 2017: ‘Kiss My Airs’. That year also happened to be the 30th anniversary of the Air Max itself, and the slogan was rolled out with the intent of ‘embodying the bold, unapologetic tone of the Air Max 1 OG.’ Since then, the indelible phrase has been stamped on a number of silhouettes before making its way to the Plus, and this release features a ton of versatile neutrals, including a slick, light-to-dark-grey fade alongside a black TPU cage, toe cap and outsole. Vibrancy comes by way of the popping-blue Swoosh and shank, while the namesake slogan ties it all together via a hangtag atop a safari print fit for the concrete jungle.

The cherry on top for Air Max Day 2023 is the Air Max Pulse, the latest addition to the Air family. It builds on the lifestyle foundations set by its Air Max 270 predecessor, leaning further on the streets’ embrace of the bubble-bottomed shoe series. Besides its physical source material, the spiritual inspiration comes from the London music scene, which is expressed via the grey shades and striking red accents. Sneakerhead hearts will be racing for these come Sunday.

Check out the Nike Air Max range at Foot Locker Australia and lace up a fresh pair of Airs for Air Max Month!

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