KTTP: You obviously have a close relationship on the ebb and flow of sneaker culture. Can you talk about why Air Max‘s have survived and maintained relevance over the decades?
Matt Halfhill: When Nike put their Air cushioning on display with the Nike Air Max 1, they did something no one ever had before. Nike had Air cushioning for 8 years before the Nike Air Max 1 was unveiled, but most consumers live by the notion that seeing is believing. It was one thing to “say” that there was air in a shoe, but it was another to show it. From that very first model, Nike had adopted a big fan base who was a proponent and supporter of the shoes. It was also not a hard sell to consumers to stick with the line when year after year they kept getting better and better with innovation and design largely at the hands of Tinker Hatfield.
KTTP: What are your thoughts on Air Max Day and how it’s grown into this crazy month long thing?
MH: I remember when the first one came about in 2014 and it was a pretty quick and relatively quite push to honor a historic moment in the brand’s history. In 2015 Nike introduced what would have been the first Air Max shoe, the Nike Air Max Zero, and then in 2016 the brand told the story even further into a live experience with Air Max Con and the Vote Back. It is no surprise to see the celebration get bigger and bigger because the product and the history of the line is so significant to so many people within the sneaker community or as everyday footwear consumers.
KTTP: How do you feel about Nike adding Flyknit to classics?
MH: Love it! I wrote a piece after I wore the Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Flyknit last summer after wearing a pair for 10 days straight. The shoes officially released in the middle of the Olympic Games with next to no push by the brand and were kind of an underground secret among Air Max heads. The Flyknit makes the shoes lighter and more breathable and flexible than ever while the dynamic Flywire gives you all the support you could ever ask for. They upper is much nicer to wear being a one piece rather than multiple layers of mixed materials. Lastly, the shape is much more like the true shape of the originals. Getting the shape right with layers of several materials that have to stitch together is virtually impossible, but thanks to technical innovations in the manufacturing process, the Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Flyknit is the greatest update to the original Nike Air Max 1 ever.
KTTP: Thoughts on the Vapormax?
MH: It’s Nike’s best shoe ever made – ever. I have easily tried on thousands of Nike shoes since working retail at age 16 through today and the VaporMax is like nothing I have ever put on my feet. Not only is the comfort out of this world, but the usual gripes people have with “big air” shoes are gone. The shoes are flexible and super lightweight. Add in the comfort of the Flyknit upper and breathability and you have 360 degrees of the greatest innovation in footwear by Nike.
KTTP: Thoughts on the Air Max soccer cleat iterations?
MH: Soccer was the first sport I played as a kid and the only one I played all the way to college years. I think the execution is genius to tie two loves together. The colorways that were made famous on the iconic Air Max shoes happened not just because the shoes were incredible design marvels, but so too were the colorways. Think about the history and significance of each: the Nike Air Max 1 had this LOUD red and royal mudguard on a running shoe that you never saw prior. The Infrared Air Max 90 sported a hue that is so bright and vibrant and the Laser Blue was so energetic and electric. The Ultramarine Air 180 combined two bright shades together to create a beautiful combination. Air Max 95’s neon with the multiple shades of grey will always stand out to the point that virtually anytime you see that neon color you think of the shoes. Lastly, the Air Max 97 was an instant classic with its unorthodox design and full length Air Max sole.
KTTP: What are your top 5 Air Max silos and why?
MH: This is going to be a tough one. Not in any particular order:
– Nike Air Max 97
– Nike Air Max 1
– Nike Air Max Burst
– Nike Air Max² *
– Nike Air Max IV+ TL *
* never been retroed and need to happen for the culture
KTTP: Does Nice Kicks have anything planned for Air Max Day?