26 March won’t be a remarkable date in the diary for most. But trainer aficionados may have it pencilled in. Because it isn’t just any old day in late spring – it’s officially Air Max Day. Nike has declared it so. While most brands have to wait for a “big” landmark birthday for a marketing event – you know, 10 years or even 25 – this is to celebrate the Air Max 1s turning, erm, 27.
Nike’s new use of the 27th anniversary to celebrate a shoe might be spurious – and oddly recalls the so-called “27 club” – but the brand is riding the wave. The Air Max, in its various guises, has long had a cult following – and it has blipped back into the mainstream in the past year or so. Fashion editors began wearing the Air Max 90 – as opposed to their trademark stilettos – on the front row, and even Samantha Cameron was spotted in a pair of Air Max Theas last year.
For this campaign, though, Nike has gone back to basics. It hasn’t targeted these interlopers at all. Instead, a limited-edition pair with a new red-and-highlighter-yellow colourway – and the date 3.26 embroidered on the shoe’s tongue – provides exactly the kind of detail that will be lapped up by the trainer community. You know the type – they keep their shoes in boxes, and clean them with a toothbrush.
The Air Max’s cult status is deserved – it could be called a design classic, in fact. While the 1978 shoe, Air Tailwind, was the first to use Nike’s now signature air bubble, the Air Max 1 was the first time the bubble was exposed, turning it into a feature. The result of a collaboration between aerospace engineer Frank Rudy and Nike designer Tinker Hatfield, it spawned – at last official count – nine variations of the Air Max formula since its release in 1987. Let the 27th birthday celebrations commence.