First released at the start of the nineties, the Air Max 90 was designed by franchise pioneer Tinker Hatfield. Originally called Air Max III, the name was later changed to Air Max 90 because of the pivotal role it played in the style and music revolution of the nineties. The debut instalment of the sneaker featured leather panelling, a duromesh upper, and a boxier shape compared to that of its predecessor. It’s fiery pink/red colourway was labelled the ‘Infrared’, and became a sought-after edition amongst the iterations to come, as well as a classic Nike colourway used across subsequent silhouettes.
The new features that were introduced on the Air Max 90 culminated to make one all-round durable sneaker. Consequently, the Air Max 90 began to attract an audience beside the runners and athletic-types that was intended with Nike’s Air Max range. The durable qualities on the sneaker equipped wearers for day to night looks making it Nike's most versatile sneaker at the time. The Air Max evolution marked the start of Nike's diversification into the casual/leisure market - and with it, the swoosh's indeliable imprint on popular culture.
As tower blocks across London blasted out grime music through pirate radio stations it was these artists who adorned the hardwearing Air Max 90. “Pretty much the street shoe, innit”, Dizzee Rascal states in his book. The sneaker became synonymous with grime thanks to the grime artist and his “Tongue and Cheek” Air Max 90 collaboration. And, while a new Jungle and Garage rave scene was brewing, the neon infused Air Max 90s also found its way onto the feet of heady ravers and misbehavers.
Taking notes from the recognisable neon sneakers, the unashamedly bold Recraft Hyper Pack returns in an updated rendition. The new sneaker takes on subtle changes, like a narrower shape and flatter toe box, to achieve an overall more streamlined look. While the heel badge, ridged eyestays, leather mudguard; features that are intrinsic to the Air Max 90’s design, stay firmly on the new model. Each sneaker comes accessorised with a Nike hangtag- the brand’s medal of honour for their sneaker icons.
As the Air Max 90 celebrates its 30th anniversary with this new release, it opens itself up to a new generation of wearers. Another generation to put their stamp of modern-day culture onto the shoe like the ravers of the nineties and the grime artists of the noughties. With Slowthai heading the new Air Max 90 model in Hyper Volt, he represents a new age for Nike and music, harking back to when Dizzee Rascal released his Air Max 90 collaboration. A young artist brimming with talent and creative ingenuity, at the helm of modern-day music. As Slowthai continues to produce culturally significant albums, the Air Max 90 will act as a milestone in his achievements and the current times.
Shop the stylish and bold Air Max 90 Hyper Pack here at Footasylum on Thursday 30th January.