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Nike celebrates 30th anniversary of Air Max 90

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

26 Mar 2020

Air Max Day 2020, Nike’s annual dedication to its revolutionary cushioning Air sole sneaker, is this year honouring the Air Max 90, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

Nike released its first-ever Air Max 1 On March 26, 1987, a model that is regarded by most as a footwear masterpiece, and over three decades later it’s undeniable that the Nike Air Max 90 has officially stolen the limelight.

The iconic Nike Air Max 90 sneaker, designed by Tinker Hatfield was originally released as the Air Max III in 1990, is credited with showcasing the possibilities for Nike Air, as it featured a bigger Air unit than its predecessors, as well as improved flexibility and a variable, multi-port lacing system that allowed more fit options.

The new design also relayed a “boisterous aesthetic” with textured panels on the upper allowing for new colour schemes, so that sneakerheads could celebrate their style and showcase their creativity.

To mark the anniversary, Nike has recrafted the Air Max 90 for 2020, including a new panel scale, toe box height and heel panel, and the sportswear giant is releasing the sneaker in multiple colourways inspired by the shoe’s original colour blockings.

Nike to launch first sneaker with FlyEase technology

One of the key styles is the Air Max 90 FlyEase, marking Nike Sportswear’s first use of FlyEase technology. The sneaker celebrates three decades of the Air Max 90, combining the heritage of the 1990 design with FlyEase technology that offers quick, easy-on and off access through a flexible heel that collapses when wearers step into the shoe.

Nike explained that the idea behind the design is to allow wearers of the Air Max 90 FlyEase to tie and set their laces and then slip the shoe on and off for easy access on the go.

“It’s not often you get a second shot at taking another swing at trying to do something even better,” said Tinker Hatfield, designer of the original Air Max III and co-designer of the Air Max 90 FlyEase. “We wanted to respect both sides of this equation, which is to do something fresh and new and important with retro design — an older design — and not change it too much.”

The sneaker is available in multiple colourways, including a gender-neutral colourway inspired by the Hatfield brothers' Nike Zoom PV III pole vaulting shoe collaboration, their first and only other collaboration.

Nike is also bringing back the cult-favourite duck camo print from the 2013 Air Max 90 Atmos for a new Air Max Duck Camo Pack, which has been touted as one of the biggest drops of the year. The pack includes an inverted colour scheme of the original Air Max 90 Duck Camo shoe, and an Air Max 2090 with the duck camo print peeking out of a translucent-layered upper. The shoes come in unisex, youth and toddler sizing.

There is also a special return for the Air Max 90 Metallic Pack, originally only available via Nike By You. The new sneaker is available in gold, rose gold and silver colourways for women, as well as toddler sizing.

StockX reveals the most expensive and most popular Air Max 90 styles

In honour of Air Max 90’s 30th anniversary StockX, the “fashion stock market”, has shared the most popular and most expensive silhouettes to be sold on the platform to date, with Nike Air Max 90 Mars Landing ranking as the most popular Air Max of all time, while the Nike Air Max 90 Dizzee Rascal Tongue-N-Cheek is the most expensive style.

Following up Nike Air Max 90 Mars Landing, with its orange upper in the most popular ranking is the Air Max 90 Off-White Black, released in January 2019, closely followed by two other Virgil Abloh creations, the Air Max 90 Off-White Desert Ore style with a beige upper and mango orange Nike Swoosh and the Air Max 90 Off-White.

At the top of the most expensive charts sits Nike Air Max 90 Dizzee Rascal Tongue N Cheek, with its distinctive pink embroidered Tongue N’ Cheek’ tongues, which last sold for 2,937 pounds, and they are a personal favourite of StockX director of Europe, Derek Morrison, who described the design as “flawless”, and the pairing between Nike and Dizzee as “undeniably authentic”.

“Beyond the scarcity, the high price this sneaker commands on the resale market is a testament to its depth of resonance and cultural value more than 10 years later,” explained Morrison.

The second most expensive style is the Nike Air Max 90 Warhawk that features a distinctive design inspired by the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, the fighter plane used by the US Air Force in World War II, which last sold for 2,540 pounds.

This is closely followed by Nike Air Max 90 Kaws Black Volt, which last sold for 2,226 pounds, and the Air Max 90 Off-White, which last sold for 1,007.

All prices refer to the last sale of each item on StockX as of March 26.

Images: courtesy of Nike and StockX