STRETCH & BOUNCE

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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.

Here’s the rest.

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2 thoughts on “STRETCH & BOUNCE

  1. I hate to be that guy but the shape has always been the issue for me. It’s one of those shoes that has to be snug to look right and its was only a snug form fitting shoe in its very first 93 iteration. They got roomier and roomier in the forefoot and tighter in the ankle. Like wearing oversized wellies with a belt around the top. I can understand shoes getting wider so they can accommodate different feet but the last that’s used on the 93 seemed to get taller in the forefoot.

  2. Good read and knowledgable stuff. I just saw the post on finish line about you, love hearing about people that share the same nostalgia and passion for shoes as I do. I have my own column on snkrbst.com based on #TBT where I talk past favorite shoes of mine to give some information to the kids that really want to know how sneakers in the 90’s was like. The latest post which for today is the Nike Muscle Max which you speak about on here. Will be looking forward to your post from hear on out. You can check me out on twitter and Instagram name is @kixrrus got a few goodies in my collection I’m sure you will appreciate.

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