Air Max 90 Sneaker History

Almost 31 years later, the Air Max 90 is still one of the most predominant sneakers Nike has ever created. After Tinker Hatfield’s wide success and breakthrough technology in designing the Air Max 1, he was asked to design another shoe. Wanting to grow the air technology and continue Nike’s increasing popularity in running shoes, Hatfield designed another staple shoe: Air Max 90s. Today, these shoes are more popular than they were in 1990.

The Air Max line was definitive for Nike. Breaking into the running community with unique designs and new technology set these shoes apart. Not just the running community was drawn to 90s, but sneakerheads to this day will be able to tell you the importance of these sneakers.

Hatfield expanded the Air bubbles, increasing the visibility and air pocket inside. A distinguishing feature is the “Nike Air” plate on the back heel. But Air Max 90s are known for the origin of the “Infared” colorway and brighter colors. Worldwide, the Air Max 90 holds high cultural importance. From London to Tokyo to the United States, 90s have been staples for sneakerheads and are only continuing to grow in popularity. Part of this popularity is thanks to 90s’ relevance in music and street culture. But these sneakers have stood the test of time with their functionality, recognizability, and diversity.

Stadium Goods - Air Max 90 "Infared"

Similar to Air Max 1s, Nike safeguarded the original shoe for years. In 2005, Nike was ready to resurge their beloved shoe with a retro design. Since then, highly sought-after collaborations only increased this sneaker’s demand and popularity. But in recent years, Nike has tried to modify and redefine Air Max 90s. Sneakerheads are not fans, preferring their beloved OG design. However, reserving this silhouette for special collaborations birthed prominent collections and high demands. Here are some of the best:

Nike x Dave's Quality Meats Air Max 90 Bacon (2004)

House of Heat

Air Max 90 OFF-WHITE Desert Ore (2019)

Stadium Goods

Nike x Atmos Air Max 90 Duck Hunter Camo (2013)


Nike Air Max 90 Escape II (2003)