All Air Max Models (16 Types) Nike Air Max History Timeline

Since its groundbreaking debut with the Air Max 1 in 1987, the types of Air Max styles have become pivotal players in both sports and fashion. Follow along as we look into the rich Nike Air Max history of all Air Max models, tracing their evolution from humble beginnings to the cutting-edge styles of today.

In 1987, Nike revolutionized the sneaker game by introducing the Air Max 1. Designed by Tinker Hatfield, this shoe was the first to showcase Nike's innovative Air cushioning technology, making the air-filled midsole visible for the first time. This bold design enhanced comfort and performance and set a new standard for style in athletic footwear.

Since then, Nike has continued to innovate with each new Air Max model, introducing new technologies, materials, and design elements to push the boundaries of sneaker design. From the iconic Air Max 90 and Air Max 95 to the futuristic Air Max 720 and Air Max 2090, each release has brought its unique flair to the Air Max legacy.

Nike Air Max history timeline

From its groundbreaking beginnings in 1987 to its status as a cultural icon today, the Air Max line has continually pushed the boundaries of design and innovation. Below, we will look into the history of Air Max by year and the releases that have shaped the evolution of this legendary sneaker series.

  • 1987: Nike Air Max 1 released - The birth of the Air Max line, showcasing visible Air cushioning technology for the first time.

  • 1990: Air Max 90 (originally known as Air Max III) debuts - Introduced as the second chapter in the Air Max saga, featuring a larger visible Air unit.

  • 1991: Air Max 180 hits the shelves - Notable for its 180-degree visible Air unit, providing unmatched cushioning and comfort.

  • 1995: Air Max 95 makes waves - Designed by Sergio Lozano, this model features a unique layered upper and visible forefoot Air unit.

  • 1997: Air Max 97 revolutionizes design - Inspired by Japan's bullet trains, this shoe introduces full-length visible Air cushioning and sleek lines.

  • 2006: Air Max 360 introduces full-length Air cushioning - Offering 360 degrees of visible Air cushioning, this model sets a new standard for comfort.

  • 2012: Air Max 2012 focuses on lightweight performance - Incorporating innovative Hyperfuse construction, this shoe prioritizes breathability and support.

  • 2017: Air Max 97/1 by Sean Wotherspoon wins sneaker of the year - A collaboration between Nike and Round Two's Sean Wotherspoon, blending retro vibes with modern materials.

  • 2020: Air Max Day celebrates 33 years of Air Max innovation - Nike commemorates the legacy of Air Max with special releases and events worldwide.

All Air Max models (16 Air Max styles listed by year)

Discover the evolution of Nike Air Max through our detailed guide featuring 16 Air Max styles listed by year. From the latest releases to the earliest models, this section provides a comprehensive overview of the iconic sneaker line.

Explore the progression of Nike Air Max versions and aesthetics, and learn about the enduring influence of this legendary footwear collection.

Nike Air Max 1 (Year: 1987)

The Nike Air Max 1, the original Air Max, revolutionized the sneaker industry in 1987. It was the first shoe to feature visible Air cushioning, designed by Tinker Hatfield, setting a new standard for comfort and performance. Its clean design, vibrant colorways, and iconic silhouette quickly made it a favorite among sneaker enthusiasts. 

Numerous special editions and collaborations have been released for the Air Max 1, cementing its status as a timeless icon in sneaker culture. You can buy Nike Air Max 1 shoes online at Flip Supply.  

Nike Air Max Light (Year: 1989)

The Air Max Light, also known as Air Max II, is a remarkable feat of technology. Unlike its predecessor, the Air Max 1, it boasts a lighter phylon midsole instead of polyurethane. This innovation reduces weight without compromising on performance.

The Air Max Light also introduces enhancements such as a larger forefoot Air-Sole unit, a two-piece interlocking midsole, thermoplastic straps for added stability, and 420 Denier Mesh for improved breathability. While it may resemble the Air Max 1 at first glance, the Air Max Light surpasses it with its advanced features and design refinements.

Nike Air Max 90 (Year: 1990)

The Nike Air Max 90, originally known as the Air Max III, debuted in 1990, following in the footsteps of its predecessor, the Air Max 1. With its distinct design and visible Air cushioning, this model quickly became a favorite among sneaker enthusiasts. Its timeless silhouette and versatile colorways have cemented its status as a staple in the Air Max lineup

Nike Air Max 180 (Year: 1991)

How do you top the beloved Air Max 90? Nike's answer: "50% more air and twice the cush'." This slogan, used during the Nike Air Max 180 launch, set the stage for a groundbreaking release. The Air Max 180 introduced a revolutionary concept by providing 180 degrees of Air cushioning, ensuring that each step felt like walking on air. 

This innovative design was further enhanced by bonding the cushioning with a bold urethane outsole, resulting in unparalleled comfort with every stride.

Nike Air Max 95 (Year: 1995)

The Nike Air Max 95, introduced in 1995, is celebrated for its bold design and innovative features. Designed by Sergio Lozano, this iconic silhouette was inspired by human anatomy, with its layered upper representing muscle fibers. The unique gradient color scheme and visible Air units in the forefoot and heel provide exceptional cushioning and comfort.

Over the years, the Air Max 95 has seen numerous special editions and collaborations, solidifying its status as a timeless classic in the Air Max lineup. You can buy Nike Air Max 95 at Flip Supply by visiting our website. 

Nike Air Max 97 (Year: 1997)

In 1997, Nike unveiled the Air Max 97, a sleek symbol of modern design and revolutionary cushioning. Drawing inspiration from Japan's high-speed bullet trains, this iconic shoe boasts reflective details and a futuristic look that captured the attention of sneaker fans worldwide. With its enduring popularity and innovative features, the Air Max 97 remains a timeless classic in Nike's Air Max lineup.

Nike Air Max 1998 (Year: 1998)

The Nike Air Max 98 faced the challenge of following one of the most iconic silhouettes of all time, the AM97. However, it has since emerged as an icon in its own right. Designed by Sergio Lozano, the mastermind behind the AM95, the Air Max 98 builds on the strengths of its predecessors, featuring a layered upper and full-length visible Air cushioning.

Lozano's experience with Nike's All-Conditions Gear (ACG) program is evident in the chunky silhouette, complex lacing system, and outdoorsy colorways. Initially rejected by sneaker enthusiasts, these unique qualities are now what draw fans to the Air Max 98.

Nike Air Max 2003 (Year: 2003)

The Nike Air Max 2003 took the Air unit from the iconic Air Max 97 and elevated the innovation to new heights. With new molding and construction that brought the foot closer to the ground, this model prioritized comfort and flexibility. The upper, inspired by track spikes and football boots, contributed to a lightweight design, aggressive look, and premium feel. These features combined to deliver unmatched comfort straight out of the box.

Nike Air Max 2006 (Year: 2006)

In 2006, many believed Nike had reached the pinnacle of Air Max innovation. However, the brand surprised everyone by introducing the Nike Air Max 360. This groundbreaking model redefined comfort with its unique approach to 360 degrees of cushioning. By eliminating the standard foam midsole and placing wearers directly atop the Air sole, Nike achieved unparalleled lightness, weighing in at less than 13 ounces.

The revolutionary Air Max 360 sole transcended its origins in running shoes and found its way into other sports, including basketball, where NBA fans may recall Amar’e Stoudemire sporting a high-top edition during the 2006-07 NBA Season.

Nike Air VaporMax (Year: 2017)

After over seven years of development, the Nike Air VaporMax marked a significant evolution in Air Max technology, revolutionizing the standard Air Max model. By removing excess weight and waste, the VaporMax positioned the foot directly atop the Air unit, eliminating the traditional foam midsole.

This innovative design not only increased flexibility and responsiveness but also reduced the shoe's overall weight. The VaporMax debuted with a Nike Flyknit upper, which provides targeted support and further minimizes the shoe's weight.

Nike Air Max 270 (Year: 2018)

Breaking new ground, the Nike Air Max 270 became the inaugural model to feature an Air unit designed exclusively for lifestyle wear. Engineered to endure both athletic activity and extended daily wear, it drew inspiration from the iconic Nike Air Max 93 and Air Max 180 models.

The name "270" pays homage to the Air Max 93's internal epithet, denoting its 270-degree visibility within the air unit. At its launch, the Air Max 270 boasted the tallest-ever Air Max heel unit, standing at an impressive 32mm height.

Nike Air Max 720 Gray and Black (Year: 2019)

In a bold move towards innovation, Nike pushed boundaries with the Nike Air Max 720. Released in 2019, this model challenged conventional norms by introducing a large, bulbous sole, setting a new record for the tallest Max Air unit at 38mm. While unconventional, the Air Max 720 incorporates classic Nike elements.

According to designer Dylan Raasch, it seamlessly blends inspiration from the Air Max '97 and '95, paying homage to the past while embracing the future of Air.

Nike Air Max 2090 White and Black (Year: 2020)

Rooted in heritage yet designed for the future, the Nike Air Max 2090 draws inspiration from the iconic Air Max 90. It elevates classic elements such as the mudguard, cassette, and heel logo while infusing modern appeal through updated materials and design. With increased Air cushioning and revamped outsoles, the 2090 offers a contemporary take on a timeless silhouette.

Nike Air Max Vapormax Evo Black, White, Red (Year: 2021)

The Nike Air VaporMax Evo pays homage to Nike Air icons spanning three decades, including the Air Max 90, 93, 96, and more. This model commemorates various iconic designs through carefully curated details on both shoes. While the design may appear busy at first glance, it reflects a thoughtful blend of heritage and innovation. The Air VaporMax Evo celebrates the past while paving the way for the future of Nike Air.

Nike Air Max 2022 (Year: 2022)

Debuting in 2022, the Nike Air Max 2022 upholds the tradition of innovation and performance associated with the Air Max series. Featuring a blend of contemporary design elements and signature Air Max traits, this model offers unbeatable comfort and style for everyday use. Its responsive cushioning and breathable materials make it a versatile choice for athletes and casual wearers.

Nike Air Max 2023 (Year: 2023)

Nike Air Max 2023 represents the pinnacle of Nike's Air Max collection. Engineered with cutting-edge design and advanced cushioning technology, this model sets a new standard for comfort and style among modern sneaker enthusiasts.

With its sleek silhouette and innovative features, the Air Max 2023 is a must-have addition to any Air Max collection.

Final points on the different types of Air Maxes

Every Air Max shoe uniquely blends style, comfort, and performance. From the iconic Air Max 1 to the latest innovations, each model in the Air Max lineup represents a chapter in Nike's ongoing commitment to pushing the boundaries of athletic footwear.

Whether you're a collector, an athlete, or a fashion enthusiast, there's an Air Max for everyone, making it a timeless symbol of innovation and style in the world of sneakers.