It’s been 35 years since Nike revolutionized the sneaker world with its Air Max cushioning, leading to the birth of iconic styles like the Air Max 1 and Air Max 90. An often overlooked member of that legacy is the Air Max 95, created by Nike designer Sergio Lozano.
When they were introduced in 1995, running shoes were considered radical for several reasons. First, Lozano brought the Nike Air sole to the front of the shoes for the first time, giving athletes maximum cushioning when they hit the track. He then moved the Swoosh from his spotlight on the sides of the sneakers to a low-profile corner just below the collar, all to highlight the shoes’ distinctive gradient pattern.
Finally, the Air Max 95 featured an intriguing design inspired by human anatomy: its lacing system resembled a rib cage, its outsole borrowed from the lines of the spine, and its mesh and suede uppers were meant to represent the fibers muscle. More than two decades before Demna designed the Balenciaga Tyrex based on the muscular system, Nike was already making shoes that felt like an extension of the body.
The hype that followed sneakers in the 90s is comparable to the Air Max 1 mania we see today. The Air Max 95 has become the shoe of choice in Liverpool, where it is colloquially known as 110 (it cost £110). In Tokyo, the shoes often sold out within days, prompting Japanese sneakerheads to spend thousands of dollars for a pair on the resale market. In the United States, hip-hop stars like The Game, Eminem, Lil’ Kim and Gucci Mane cemented the shoes’ cult status by sporting them on the streets or checking them out in their songs.
The return of the Air Max 95?
Over the years, the Air Max 95 has slipped under the radar a bit, with celebrities opting for other Nike styles instead. But the silhouette could see another revival in 2022, especially after Kim Kardashian showed off a pair on Instagram.
The SKIMS founder wearing Nikes is a big deal in itself. After all, Kim has long shown her support for Kanye West by exclusively wearing his Adidas Yeezy designs. Her Air Max 95s may be a blow to her ex-husband, but they’re also truly a practical choice of shoe for hitting the gym.
If you want to match Kim’s workout look, try one of the pairs we’ve selected below.
Header photo credit: Sneaker District
The best Air Max 95 sneakers to buy now:
The nature-inspired palettes work particularly well on the Air Max 95, which isn’t surprising considering the shoes were partly inspired by the walls of the Grand Canyon. This colorway, introduced as part of Nike’s new Air Sprung collection, fully embraces Mother Earth with its recycled materials and colors like ‘Sesame’ and ‘Coconut Milk’. You’ll also find playful details all around the shoes, including a smiling butterfly, caterpillar and mushrooms.
Last year, the Air Max 95 went vegan. The Nike trainers were released in the ‘Cork’ colourway, which was made using cork, canvas, recycled materials and natural dyes. Aside from the eco-friendly stitches and lovely earthy hues, the shoes also feature an embroidered leaf design on the tongue. It’s not something you see every day.
Here is another pair with a high fashion stamp. Released in 2020, these sneakers were made in collaboration with CDG designer Rei Kawakubo. Classic kicks have been given an edgy twist with bands of distressed tulle-like fabric running the length of the shoes’ signature ridged upper, as well as their exposed foam detailing.