What started as a 24-hour celebration in 2014 with a single release and a handful of pop-ups around the world has turned into a full-fledged global event. Fast forward to 2021, Air Max Day now lasts a full month honoring one of the most important and coveted sneaker lines of all time, the Nike Air Max. The beauty of Air Max and Air Max Day is that there is no single correct way, or correct silhouette, to celebrate. Communities and cultures worldwide each have a unique flavor when it comes to Air Maxes. This March, we will spotlight the most popular, unique, and affordable Air Maxes. And to kick things off, we offer some of the most beloved Air Maxes of 2020 from around the world.
The Air Maxes, and Air Max adjacent products, that have generated the most Hype throughout the world.
A favorite in the US.
The Bacon colorway is one of the most influential Air Max 90 releases of all time. Despite dropping over 16 years ago, the hype has endured. Inspired by a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich, artist David Ortiz purchased multiple packs of bacon, cooked each to different states of doneness, and took note of each strip’s color. This provided the dark red, pink, and creme color palette on the tumbled leather and suede. Today, the original pair goes for over $1,000 on StockX. But for those trying to pay retail, you only have to wait until March 26th for your shot at owning this coveted Air Max.
A favorite in China.
Originally released in 2006, The Kiss of Death was CLOT’s first collaboration with Nike. Inspired by the 12 acupuncture meridians governing the flow of your body’s vital energy, Qi, the sneaker’s design is steeped in the history of traditional Chinese medicine. The outsoles include a map of the pressure points of the feet. The corresponding organs and points of the body associated with the pressure points are noted on the special shoebox. The Nike Air Max 1 CLOT Kiss of Death faithfully details the history and profundity of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture turning the Air Max 1 into a sneaker worthy of international hype.
A favorite in the US.
Travis Scott has become one of the most hyped sneaker collaborators in recent history. From La Flame’s multiple Jordan iterations, Air Force 1s, and Dunks, each release has generated a crazy amount of hype. When news broke of Scott’s first-ever Air Max collab, the interwebs blew up. True to form, Cactus Jack delivered something completely new, built from ‘90s’ sensibilities. The Cactus Trails combine trail tans and an ACG color palette with a well-worn look designed to transcend pop-cultural eras. The Cactus Trails AM270 seized the zeitgeist and was the second most sold Air Max in the US and world in 2020. And in a touch of merchandising genius, the kid-sized Cactus Trails feature Scott’s signature backward Swoosh, making them a must-cop.
A favorite in Japan.
Released by Amsterdam-based denim company, DENHAM, the Nike Air Max 95 DENHAM was a massive favorite for Air Max aficionados in Japan. Created in gradient denim, from black to white, this Air Max 95 nodded to the AM95 Neon, one of the most beloved Air Max sneakers in Japan. In fact, 84% of all AM95 DENHAM’s sold went to Japan. This is hardly surprising since it was the release of the OG Air Max 95 that would kick-start Japan’s sneaker obsession.
In December 2020, Drake and Nike went into hype overload with the launch of Drake’s Nike sub-label NOCTA. These NOCTA Fleece Pants include branding on both legs and are made from a tech fleece material. Additionally, there’s a cinch at the bottom of the pants to show off whichever Air Max you happen to be rocking that day, nailing 80s’ nostalgia, when the Air Max line originally got its start. The hype is real and these Nike pants are just as functional as they are fashionable. Go ahead and pair them with the Cactus Trails if you want; everyone knows both artists prefer checks over stripes.
Jerry Lorenzo’s wildly popular ESSENTIALS Line offers core Fear of God styling at an affordable price, just like much of Nike’s Air Max offerings. And as popular as Lorenzo’s luxury line has been, ESSENTIALS creates the same amount of hype. The FEAR OF GOD ESSENTIALS New Era Fitted dropped at the end of December 2020 and quickly sold out. Featuring the instantly recognizable old English “F,” the cap is the perfect piece to maximize the heat on your most hype fit, from your Air Max outsoles to the top of your head.
Former Supreme brand director Angelo Baque’s label Awake is unmistakably New York in look, feel, and attitude, putting the city’s cutting-edge cultural heritage on full display with its logo-centric pieces. The Chenille Patch Corduroy Logo Jacket checks all the boxes to make you stand out from the crowd: a bold “Awake” patch on the front and back, and even bolder green and black corduroy stripes making up the body and sleeves of the coat. This jacket is perfect to pair with Japan’s all-time favorite Air Max 95 Neon, or current crush, the AM 95 Denham.
The Air Max silhouettes, and products to pair them with, that have transcended hype becoming timeless.
A favorite in Canada.
Whether you call it “Hyvent Orange” or “Radiant Red,” the Nike Air Max 90 Infrared is a global giant of color and design. Debuting in 1990 as the Air Max 3, the sneaker featured a larger exposed air unit than the 1987 Air Max 1. The larger unit is spectacularly spotlighted on this sneaker by the splash of Infrared on the midsole. Most importantly, the Air Max 90 would prove the Air Max line’s boldness and enduring creativity. Now considered one of the best Air Max sneakers of all time, the Infrared helped turn the Air Max into a global phenomenon and continues to be a favorite among Canadian buyers.
A favorite in Australia.
When it comes to a sneaker that best represents Australia, the Nike Air Max Tailwind 4 is that pair. Initially released in 1999, the Tailwind’s cultural cache is pure counterculture. The sneaker captivated a generation of Aussie sneakerheads raised on graffiti, street culture, and trying to become roughneck royalty. Beloved for its combination of comfort and off-putting design, the Tailwind signified a way of life outside the mainstream for its devotees. No longer redolent of the outlaw life, the Nike Air Max Tailwind remains a vital Air Max silhouette of Australia’s sneaker culture.
A favorite in France.
The Air Max 1 has many popular OG models and Nike pleased French fans by releasing the Nike Air Max 1 Anniversary Orange in 2020. The Anniversary Orange ended up ranking number eight in the 2020 top ten Air Max sneakers bought in France. It’s no surprise that the clean AM1 Anniversary Orange was such a popular Air Max for the French in 2020; what was surprising was that the historically popular Air Max Plus didn’t crack the top ten. No love for “La Requin” in 2020, it appears.
A favorite in Italy.
When first released, the Air Max 97 was a technological step forward with a full-sole Air unit, while incorporating a retrofuturistic design of shiny silver. The first colorway released, the Silver Bullet, was directly inspired by the Shinkansen, the famous train that connects the biggest cities in Japan. Nike brought back the original colorway in 2016 scoring a hit to sneakerheads’ hearts around the world, but especially in Italy where the Air Max 97 had become a youth culture staple. To pay homage to the Bel Paese, Nike released an Italy-exclusive Air Max 97 Silver Bullet replacing the Nike logo on the tongue with the Italian flag.
If you’re going to rock a timeless pair of Air Maxes, it’s best to keep the rest of your fit subdued. Thankfully, Stüssy and Nike NRG teamed up in March of 2020 dropping these simple, yet elegant gray fleece pants. With a tasteful co-branded logo on the thigh, there’s nothing prepossessing or pretentious about the Nike x Stüssy NRG BR Fleece Pant Gray. Everyone’s attention will be on your Air Max shoes, which is the way it’s supposed to be.
Everyone loves a classic, and the red and white Supreme Box Logo has been a classic since Barbara Kruger started using Futura Bold Oblique in the 1980s. For the first time in Supreme’s history, FW20 saw the release of the classic Box Logo as a long sleeve tee. This new iteration of the brand’s signature logo makes the shirt even more unique beyond the timeless appeal of the Box Logo. This is the kind of no-fuss piece to wear whenever and with whatever. And just like the AM1 or AM90, it will never go out of style.
The original Air Max resulted from the combination of technology and bold design. These Air Maxes continue on this trailblazing legacy.
A favorite in Canada.
Doubling down on the notion that the key to the Air Max’s popularity was making the Air Unit visible, the VaporMax midsole went ahead and showed off the entire thing. First released in 2017, the VaporMax has become every bit as popular as other established Air Max silhouettes. Key to its success is the fact that the VaporMax provides an excellent foundation for continual design iteration. The Nike Air VaporMax Plus Triple Black dropped in 2018, and retroed in 2020, combining the upper of the Nike Air Max Plus with the VaporMax’s sole unit. Dressed in triple, tonal black, the 2018 edition is an all-time banger and continues to be a top ten Air Max in Canada.
A favorite in Italy.
The Air Max 720 is one of the newest additions to the Air Max family. The silhouette first released in February 2019, mixing tech and cutting-edge design. The full-sole Air Max unit is huge and makes you feel as if you’re flying above the streets. The uppers feature tone-on-tone black panels that are the perfect mix of anonymity and style. The Air Max 720 has had two collabs in its short history, with Jun Takahashi’s Undercover and with the American football player Odell Beckham Jr. But the future is bright for the 720, especially after Kanye blessed the Air Max 720 ISPA. Cementing the love for future-loving Air Max design in Italy, the Air Max 720 Black Mesh was the third-most purchased Air Max in Italy in 2020.
A favorite in Mexico.
In honor of the Mexican tradition of Dia de Muertos, Nike released the Air Max 90 Dia de Los Muertos. Taking its design cues from ofrenda displayed during the celebration, this AM90 includes bright colors, dotted patterns, and an embroidered marigold representing the flower of the dead on the foxing. With such attention to detail and cultural heritage, it’s no surprise this sneaker was 2020’s most purchased Air Max in Mexico.
A favorite in Japan.
Created by Sergio Lozano who had also worked on Nike ACG products, the Air Max 95 revolutionized the Japan sneaker scene in 1995. Taking inspiration from the human body, the Nike Air Max 95 OG Neon’s colorway defines its design with the neon yellow and gray gradation helping to make the pair iconic. In Japan, the pair sparked the sneaker boom that emerged as part of Japan’s street culture explosion in the 1990s. The AM95 became a social phenomenon with each pair selling for over 200,000 Yen (approximately 2,000 USD in 1995). Even 25 years after the release, it is still a grail to many sneaker fans in Japan, and around the world.
No matter how Palace reimagines and repurposes its Tri-Ferg logo, it is instantly recognizable. Fergus Purcell’s design remains a streetwear gold standard. The Palace Hesh Mit T-Shirt adds a snake and barbed wire wrapping in and around the famed triangle. Instead of changing or limiting the visual impact of the logo, it only intensifies it. And just like the Air Max line, you can’t mess with great design.
Using Piet Mondrian’s painting Composition with Red Blue and Yellow as the design reference, Supreme dropped this gem of a jacket as a part of its FW21 collection. Mondrian’s famous color blocking complete with Supreme logo on the front and sleeve is as perfect a design as any Air Max. A must cop for your Air Max Day fit.
These Air Maxes and paired products continue the line’s penchant for boldness of style that has come to define the Air Max.
A favorite in the Netherlands.
The Air Max reigns supreme in the Netherlands. Globally, Air Max makes up 10% of all sneaker sales. Of that 10%, on average, buyers in the Netherlands purchase Air Max sneakers 270% above average compared to all other countries. That’s some real visible Air love. And the Air Max 1 is far and away the preferred silhouette. Several classic colorways make the Netherland’s top ten, but bold designs like Nike Air Max 1 N7 are the preferred style to showcase the classic Air Max 1 line. The AM1 N7 honors the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe with a multi-colored chevron and diamond-shaped pattern across its profile Swooshes as well as forefoot and heel overlays that pay tribute to the tribe’s traditional naming ceremony.
A favorite in the UK.
The UK’s love for all things Air Max runs deep, especially when it comes to the AM95. Known colloquially as the “110” due to its price point, the silhouette has been at the forefront of street culture for well over two decades. Built with comfort in mind, the AM95 was initially seen as the perfect sneaker for a long night of raving, becoming synonymous with some of the most influential movements in the past 25 years, including jungle, garage, and grime. This mixture of comfort and timeless style means the AM95 is just as relevant today as it was in the late 90s and early noughties. In fact, the Air Max 95 Gunsmoke Pink Foam was StockX’s best-selling Air Max silhouette in the UK last year.
A favorite in the US.
Before CDG boldly reinterpreted the Foamposite One during their AW21 digital runway show, the Nike Air Foamposite One Galaxy was the sneaker star back in 2012. Nike brought back the “Galaxy” theme in 2020 with one of the boldest Air Max 90s in the Milky Way and a 2020 top ten favorite in the US. Featuring galactic prints on the toe, tongue, and ankle collar, metallic Swooshes, and a field of stars enveloping the air unit, the AM90 Supernova boldly goes where no Air Max has gone before.
When it comes to possessing a certain swagger, a certain boldness of living and working, Michael Jordan and Virgil Abloh have it. It makes perfect sense that Off-White and Jordan Brand would eventually team up for the Off-White x Jordan Sail collection. Featuring an illustration of a young boy dreaming of Jordan, the Off-White x Jordan T-Shirt is an ode to those trailblazers who inspire dreamers, and the dreamers bold enough to see themselves as future trailblazers.
Telfar Clemens has been making genderless fashion since the brand’s inception in 2005. However, 2020 marked the year that his shopping bag would move from a cult item, to an “It” bag. Dubbed the “Bushwick Birkin,” the Telfar Shopping Bag, complete with the trademark Telfar logo on the side, is a statement piece of taste, trend, and inclusivity. Like Clemens’ design, be bold and pair this bag with the Italian favorite AM720 Black Mesh for a global, luxe look.
The Air Max line has always been about keeping you feeling light as air. These Air Maxes continue to inject some much-needed fun into the sneaker universe.
A favorite in Germany.
The Nike Air Max Plus Voltage Purple was released in 2018 and was the third OG TN drop, following the Hyperblue and Sunset colorways. Designed by Sean McDowell, and inspired by Florida’s palm trees and sunsets, AM Plus first released in 1998. Over the years it gained a cult following, becoming a popular silhouette in Germany where it was also known as “HaifischNikez” (referring to its shark gills-like patterns). Its success among Germans can widely be attributed to the rappers Bonez MC, Gzuz, LX, and Maxwell from the 187 Strassenbande who dropped a special track for the sneaker in December 2018, bringing the sneaker to the masses. The electrifying design of the sneaker – the voltage Purple Upper, black TPU overlays combined with hints of orange and equipped with Tuned Air cushioning – hit the loud zeitgeist perfectly and was a welcome release by all 90s’ lovers in Germany.
A favorite in North America.
One of the best things about sneakers and sneaker culture is tracing the design references, flips, and playfulness that goes into making a dope shoe. Nike celebrated Air Max Day 2020 by releasing the Nike Air Max 90 Reverse Duck Camo. Dressed in an infrared mesh upper with a Duck Camo mudguard and black quarter panels, this sneaker is super fun. Adding to the story, the Reverse Duck Camo represents a fresh take on the classic 2013 Nike Air Max 90 Atmos Duck Hunter Camo. The playful update was such a hit that it was the most sold Air Max worldwide and the number one sold Air Max in Canada and the US in 2020.
A favorite in France.
Was Nike able to see what 2020 would have in store for everyone and decided to give good positive vibes in 2019? With the Nike Air Max 1 Have a Nike Day, the sentiment definitely helped. With the vintage-inspired 90s color blocking design, the sneaker is dressed in an array of hues including Space Purple, Bleached Coral, and Black. The AM1 included one final element that made the sneaker a must-have during 2020: a Nike Swoosh smiley face logo. This 2019 AM1 was a top ten most purchased Air Max in France in 2020. Have a Nike Day, indeed.
The most unexpected and fun merch collections of 2020 came from Travis Scott and McDonald’s. Travis Scott is no stranger to collabs, but when McDonald’s announced the #1 rager was, indeed, “Lovin’ It,” it felt like we were all living in Astroworld. The best of the best from this collection never released at all! The Crew T-Shirt was for employees only while the Travis Scott burger was on the menu. Of course, you can get it on StockX.
The Supreme Box Logo hoodie has become serious business for anyone even remotely connected with streetwear, fashion, and sneaker culture. Every fall when they drop, the hoodies are gobbled up by bots and manual buyers in a matter of seconds. This seriousness surrounding the Box Logo is what made the Cross Box logo feel so fun and transgressive. You can almost hear the designers say, “If one Box Logo is so popular, let’s see what happens with two in cruciform!”
The Nintendo Super NES Classic Edition system looks and feels just like the original 1990s home console, except it’s super small. The console includes 20 classic games plus a never-before-released Star Fox 2 game. This is fun and nostalgia wrapped up in one package for 90s’ kids of any age, which is exactly why Air Max Day is so popular.