Nike's Dylan Raasch Answers Our Burning Air Max 720 Questions
Nike’s Air Max 720 has sneakerheads buzzing right now — mostly because it's a guaranteed heater we know practically nothing about. Thought to be the poster-child of Air Max Day 2019, the shoe appeared via a couple of suspect leaks before Nike weighed in with just enough titbits to leave us wondering.
We know the 720 is tall, and we know it’s Nike’s first fully fledged lifestyle Air Max. But what’s the logic behind that towering Air Bag? Why are new Air Maxes diverting from performance?
To fill in the blanks, we got in touch with the man who helmed its creation, Nike’s senior creative director, Dylan Raasch. Here are all the burning questions he’d answer, and some he wouldn’t.
Where did the idea for the 720 come from? Was it the result of a design brief or a random design that was just too good to pass up?
The AM720 was inspired by those who spend all day on their feet, which gave us the idea to create the largest expression of Air. Thus creating an all-day comfort solution, marking the future of lifestyle performance.
There is a real heritage flavour to the 720. What models did you look to when designing the Air Max 720?
The DNA shows up in new models almost subconsciously. We didn’t try to make any direct ties to heritage models, but the midsole clip has similarities to the 97 with the Swoosh placement and flowing lines. There are also elements of the Air Max Deluxe in terms of sublimation treatment and the organic nature of the shoe.
In the case of the Air Max 270 and Air Max 360, the number refers to the radius of Air bubble coverage. What’s the deal with the 720 designation?
Great question, everyone always wonders where the numbers come from! It still relates to the radius of Air bubble coverage; however, this time the AM720 name comes from it being the biggest visibility of air — 360 degrees around horizontally and 360 degrees around vertically… making 720.
Aside from the hulking Air bag, the 720’s most eye-catching feature is its upper overlays. What purpose do these serve? The upper was inspired by radiating energy, and the energy we get from nature. The overlay shapes are organic, almost radiating from the tooling and then outward around the shoe. They serve as ventilation and comfort areas and give the upper its iconic look.
The 720 Air bag is the tallest to date. Why does height matter?
Most people walk the same, meaning they have a similar heel strike and landing pattern. So, when people walk or stand, a tremendous amount of force goes through the heel. That’s why the AM720 is Nike’s tallest Air unit, coming in at 38mm, helping to provide ultimate cushioning and impact protection. The full-length Airbag ‘ring’ then provides a wide base of support that extends into the forefoot to help with transition and stability.
A nerdy question: what’s the 720’s Air bag PSI set at?
I would love to tell you but unfortunately due to the rise of copycat air platforms we can no longer share the magic PSI number.
Traditionally, aside from retro releases, Air Max has always represented peak performance. This all changed with the AM270 and now the AM720. What’s the reasoning behind the shift to leisure wear?
Nike’s design principles of performance are always at the core of Nike products — radically simple innovation that creates both visceral reaction and the future of sport. Through research and observation, we noticed there was a gap of innovation around lifestyle solutions. We’re the best at making footwear that can get an athlete from point A to point B the fastest; and now we have product that can help absorb impact indefinitely, giving a new innovation to the other end of the spectrum.
Signature colourways and the Air Max line go hand-in-hand. What is the AM720’s defining colourway?
The AM720 ‘Northern Lights’ colourway is the defining colourway. Since the colourways are all inspired from wonders of nature, we felt the Northern Lights is the wonder of the wonders and would make for a completely new expression of Air Max.