An inside look at Nike’s Air Max Visible Air

Nike is preparing to celebrate 28 years of the Nike Air Max, a classic model that still reigns supreme in the sneaker world today.

One key piece to the shoe has helped make it so successful over the years with both comfort and design. Yes, I’m talking about the visible air that makes the Air Max so unique. Visible air on the Nike Air Max has become more than just a feature on the shoe. It’s become something that has transformed the shoe into what it is today and has given it a signature look.

Here’s some information on how it got its start:

The story of visible air didn’t begin with Hatfield’s design. Rather, it started when David Forland, Nike’s Director of Cushioning Innovation, joined the team in 1985. In many respects, Forland is the world’s foremost expert in visible air. He’s been focused on pushing the technology into unexplored new territories for the past 30 years.

He’s also the first to admit that the road to Air Max had its share of obstacles. In the ‘80s, Forland constructed encapsulated Air-Sole prototypes by hand. He stumbled upon a critical moment in visible air history when he rotated the bag, placing the seams on the top and bottom instead of on the perimeter.

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Over the years, the visible air pocket has changed in the Air Max line. Three early versions of the shoe: the Air Max I, Air Max 90 and Air Max 180 all featured the Air-Sole unit on the forefoot of the shoe. That changed over the years when the team discovered the a construction method that they dubbed “blow molding” which was featured on the Air Max 93.

Fast forward to 1997 when the first full-length Air-Sole was developed and used on the Air Max 97. The shoe featured visible air across most of the sole of the shoe. What’s next in the signature line? The Air Max 2015 which features deep flex grooves built into the Air-Soles providing the most comfortable Air Max ever.

You can get a pair of Air Max 2015 at and retail stores.


Chicago sports.

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