The divisive Air Max style is speeding back into your sneaker rotation.
The Air Max 97 was a space ship when it first debuted 20 years ago. Back then, the sneaker’s design was a radical combination of curved lines and reflective colors, anchored by one massive Air bubble sole. Like many of Nike’s designs, the shoe was inspired by industrial design, specifically that of the Japanese bullet trains Nike designer Christian Tresser loved so much (which is why this model quickly became known as Nike’s “Silver Bullet”). Since it’s release in 1997, the style has become one of the most beloved and despised Nike shoes. Some people love their unique look. Others felt the shoe’s inherent dad vibes didn’t help. But love it or hate it, on April 13, the Air Max 97 “Silver Bullet” is back.
It’s not the first time the sneaker has been brought back by Nike. The Silver Bullets were re-issued in the U.K. last year and found a receptive audience among the country’s Grime rap-loving and track-suit-wearing set. It’s not surprising when you consider that London-based brands like Palace or Cottweiler—street-leaning labels that serve up a coveted mix of technical outerwear, dad hats, and graphic tees—have been instrumental in ushering in a throwback menswear silhouette that pushes baggier pants, particularly sweatpants. And you know what looks pretty damn good at the bottom of a roomier pant’s elastic ankle? An Air Max sneaker.
The Air Max 97s need a more substantial pant to stand up to their chunkier silhouette. (Your best bet is probably a looser-fitting sweatpants silhouette from a brand like Champion.) With a slim jean or pair of sweatpants you’ll look like you’re walking with a couple of silver buckets on your feet, not bullets. But at the end of the day, where you’ll really need speed is on buying these retro kicks when they hit sites like villa.com and nike.com tomorrow. Set a reminder, ’cause this train is leaving the station at 10 AM EST.
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