Breaking Down the ‘Triple Black’ Air Max 95 Variations
While some sneakerheads detest ‘Triple Black’ sneakers, profiling the colourway as ‘boring’, others adore the ‘murdered-out’ look and make the colourway a cornerstone of their crep rotation. Still, the data don’t lie: ‘Triple Black’ posts on SF draw max page views every single time. And there’s one shoe in particular that dominates the blacked-out conversation: Nike’s Air Max 95. It’s easy to see why this edition of the legendary Air Max is a fan favourite – they’re reliable, inexpensive, and accessible.
The criteria we’re using for an AM95 to be considered ‘Triple Black’ is that it has to be 95 per cent black and incorporate only two accents of a different colour (there have been a lot of black 95s, and this feature would take a lifetime to write if we didn’t make the cut off somewhere). The earliest occurrence of a ‘Triple Black’ Air Max 95 was circa 1996 – a year after they officially touched down on shelves. Technically, the earliest pairs don’t fit that 95 per cent bill, but of course, we must pay respect to the OGs. Plus, tracking down credible imagery of the 1996 pairs is surprisingly tricky, so the earliest pair featured here is from 1998. (Note: Because most of these are simply known as Nike Air Max 95 ‘Triple Black’, we’ve separated them all via their SKU codes.)
Let’s break ’em down!
604116-001 (Circa 1998)
Now, this technically doesn’t fit our term of ‘Triple Black’, but it was a 1998 release, and we have to pay tribute to the shoes of yesteryear. Interestingly, this pair went with a full-suede upper that includes no mesh at all, retaining the blacked-out look aside from the white Swoosh, tongue logo, and yellowed Air bubbles.
The latest ‘murdered-out’ Air Max 95 throws it back to the OG, rocking a full-leather upper with subtle hits of mesh and translucent Air bubbles. Its highlight was the clear Jewel Swoosh on the rear lateral.
Nike’s newish NDSTRKT edition is a rugged new take on their iconic Air Max 95. Team Swoosh kicked off the NDSTRKT line with a ‘Neon’ colourway before dropping the ‘Black Reflective’ in early 2021. Although this pair is close to not being considered a ‘Triple Black’ due to the amount of grey along the reflective panels, we just had to include ’em because they’re low-key heaters!
That’s what we like to see – Black/Black/Black! In 2018, Team Swoosh came through with one of the cleanest ‘murdered-out’ Air Max 95s of all time. Officially named the Nike Air Max 95 Ultra Premium BR – the ‘BR’ stands for ‘breathe’ and relates to Air Max models with a breezy upper – this AM95 features touches of perforated suede atop a ton of mesh (for max protection against stinky feet).
It’s wild to think that 2016 was seven years ago, but it’s even wilder to think about the Air Max 95 Sneakerboot. Nike concocted this happy hybrid as a high-top edition of their legendary Air Max, and in 2016, they decided to drop an all-black iteration before following up with another the following year. If you still have your pair in DS condition, it may interest you to know that they’re going for a pretty penny on resell sites...
In 2016 Nike didn’t just drop another all-black Air Max 95 – they hit us with a pony-haired upper! Please bring these back in a full-size run.
Was 2016 the year of ‘Triple Black’? It seems it was because a swathe of ‘murdered-out’ AM95s touched down, including one that used the Ultra Premium SE silhouette. What makes this pair unique is the moulded-foam uppers – similar to the 2001 Lux pair – and intricate lace detailing.
So, in 2014, 2016 and 2018, there was only one type of ‘Triple Black’ Air Max 95. Differing slightly from the edition currently in production, the older version featured more suede, which appeared on the toe cap, and a darker tongue label.
The ‘Triple Black’ Air Max 95 that’s been in production since 2020 has arguably a darker-hued upper than its 2018 predecessor. This pair also features much more leather throughout the upper, but points are deducted for the dark grey tongue tag.
Dubbed the Air Max 95 Essential, this blacked-out variation was released in 2019 and hosted an interesting panel composition. Starting from the bottom, it goes leather, leather, suede and suede – with more leather wrapping the toe cap to finish things off. It also received the colourway name Black/White thanks to the white hit on the tongue label.
This was a JD Sports-exclusive colourway from 2011, and it had a suede upper panel with a hint of black patent leather running down the middle.
Dubbed the ‘Black Croc’, this Air Max 95 touched down in 2008 and hosted a mostly leather upper with only hints of mesh.
This pair was part of Nike’s ‘Lux Pack’ that included the Air Force 1 High and Trainer SC. They were as luxurious as can be – made in Italy with high-quality leather and bolstered with premium details. The AM95 was padded from tip to tail and remains sought after all these years later.
In 2019, legendary skate brand Supreme threw it back to the ’01 Lux by making their own and kitting out three colourways in premium leather and signature padded details. Of course, they had to add a lil’ ’Preme branding hit along each side.
Masters of black Comme des Garçons graced the Air Max 95 in 2020, adding their signature deconstructed details to the upper and completely reinventing the iconic silhouette.
This blacked-out women’s-exclusive Air Max 95 from 2019 was clean! It rocked a primarily leather upper but featured a panel and toe cap in patent leather – perfectly accentuating those pretty Air bubbles.
Shoutout to the 2004 ‘Triple Black’! With leather side panels alongside subtle mesh and a full-black tongue, the construction here was premium.
Keep up to date on everything Air Max 95 here.