Nike have broken down the Air Mariah to its core and re-sequenced its DNA for life in the fast lane. Originally geared for pure speed, the Mariah debuted in 1981 as a racing flat. It was only the second shoe – after the Air Tailwind – to feature Nike’s new ‘Air’ cushioning technology. Refreshed in 1988 with a much more aggressive profile, the Air Mariah’s lithe silhouette echoed the frames of the distance runners it was built for, and the shoe quickly made a name for itself as a championship winner. As Nike’s advertising slogan decreed at the time, ‘They came. They saw. They kicked butt.’
After numerous successes on the track, the Mariah took a well-earned sabbatical. In 2010, the model was unexpectedly revived in period-correct retro form, along with an updated version that featured Nike’s new Lunarlon foam. Another iteration known as the Lunarspeed Mariah arrived to critical acclaim in 2014.
Since a whole new level of butt-kicking is required these days, the OG Mariah has been reborn as the Air Zoom Mariah Flyknit Racer. Of all the revisions, the addition of Nike’s game-changing Flyknit tech is the most incisive. Consigning the Mariah’s classic microsuede ‘n mesh combo to the history books, the new form-fitting Flyknit construction makes the shoe lighter, faster and far more nimble. The traditional panelling and overlays have been lopped off in favour of a cushy one-piece upper that is strengthened and anchored with Brio cables to make sure you’re never caught slipping.
Updating the Mariah’s OG tech credentials with the addition of Zoom Air inserts, the 2017 iteration is perfect for cosmopolitan commutes and pavement pounding at marathon levels. This is comfort redefined in the most minimal package imaginable!
Seen here in a scheme that could fry eyeballs from 40 yards, the colourway is a mash-up of Nike heritage that references the Air Pegasus, Air Max 180 and the Mariah’s own lineage. The silvery white upper blazes with a streak of ‘Hyper Crimson’ that lights up like Akihabara at night, while a soothing blend of ‘Ultramarine’ blue and purp wraps the ankles. If this scheme doesn’t jive with your vibe, there’s plenty of other less intense options to choose from.
The ‘Mariah’ name has always held a certain cachet when it comes to speed, but this overhaul accelerates the tempo and then some. Every fibre of the Air Zoom Mariah Flyknit Racer has been fine-tuned for city living, creating a new-gen design that comfortably keeps pace with the blistering speed of modern life – all without breaking a sweat!