words // Nick DePaula:
Though it may not be my favorite shoe to wear around, the Air Max 97 has long been one of my all-time favorite footwear designs.
Visually, they’re incredible.
Tasked with following up Sergio Lozano’s groundbreaking Air Max 95 design, and the underrated-yet-impressive Air Max 96, Nike’s Christian Tresser stepped up to the plate and completely crushed his streamlined and swift take on where the Air Max series should be headed.
In sketches dating back to April of 1996, early on Tresser laid out a few bullet points to keep in mind:
• Less Color
As you look through his early flowing concepts, you’ll notice the first shoe with full-length visible Air Max was dubbed the “Air Total Max” by Tresser. That would’ve fell in line with the launch timeline of the Total Max Uptempo in hoops, though the Running division apparently decided to keep the naming convention consistent — Air Max + Year.
Another key note to point out is that early on, there were even “PSI” designations along the midsole, much in the same way that earlier Air Max models called out the differing Air bag pressure measures. Luckily, that didn’t make it all the way to the final version.
Check out Christian Tresser’s Air Max 97 sketches below, and stay tuned each Monday for an exclusive look at our Sneaker Sketch of the Week.