We’re talking about shoes again because I’ve run out of ideas. There’s a handful of designs that bring some vivid memories flooding back and the Air Max 93 was one of the greatest installments of that series — it attempted something completely different, created a template for the direction they’d take it in, but had the Huarache-style neoprene (and in its early Nike Air Eclipse prototype stage, a Huarache heel strap) that never made it to the Air Max 94 (a letdown) but got into the Air Max2 (very, very underrated) before being ditched for padding. The Max series has a plethora of spinoffs (Air Mad Max, Air Muscle Max) that nobody talks about, but the Air Max 93 has long been a little overlooked. That didn’t stop it being one of the most promoted Max models to date. On a train on the way back from Dorset a couple of weeks ago, I wrote this tribute to the 93 for size? to coincide with the rerelease, which is basically a blog entry from here published elsewhere. Go check it out.
Here’s a bit of it:
Nike engineer Parry Auger and air bubble genius David Forland were all essential to the shoe’s genesis too. The 93 would also mark the end of Tinker’s Air Max design streak as he began to step down to let designers like Sergio Lozano take the reins. Hatfield’s presence is in the Air Max 94, but even he’d concede that he wasn’t pushing the envelope on Air Max by that point
The Max Volume unit would make an appearance in the Charles Barkley endorsed Air Force Max basketball design and the Air Trainer Max cross training shoe in 1993. Real runners seemed intrigued, yet the Air Max 93 never seems to crop up in imagery of the era from a subcultural level (though it made an unexpected appearance in a Range Rover print ad) as much as previous instalments. While price has never put off the show offs, perhaps the sheer volume of strong shoe designs on the market might explain that lack of visibility despite Nike’s emphasis on more visibility than ever before.
By early 1994, Air Max 93 would exit retailers, with the Max Volume present in the more conventional looks of the aforementioned Air Max 94 (a mild disappointment which dropped in more colourways than the 93 ever did) — followed by the similar Air Max Burst in 1995 for folks who couldn’t afford the 95. The greatest shoe beyond the Barkley or 93 to showcase a 270 unit was actually 1995’s barely-seen Air Max Racer, but that model remains an obscure experiment in turning the visible air DNA or the time into a more streamlined, lighter style.