Underrated Air: An Ode To My Favorite Air Max Model, the Nike Air Max2


With Air Max Day quickly approaching next Monday, I thought I’d throw my two cents into the whole conversation of big bubbles with a little ode to my favorite Air Max model of all time, the Air Max2 runner from 1994.

Can you say underrated? The word is thrown around almost as “iconic” in the sneaker world, but if ever there was a sneaker that deserved to be deemed under appreciated, it’s the Air Max2. I mean, c’mon, just look at it. How beautiful is this shoe?

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The Air Max2 is actually a pretty important model from the aspect of Air Max history, but Nike seems to gloss over it, more than likely because they know they’ll never retro it due to what I presume is the fact that the brand doesn’t want to pony up funds to recreate the tooling. It’s historically important to me because it seems to be a sneaker of two big “lasts”: The last Air Max running shoe designed by Tinker Hatfield; and the last Air Max model that appears to have actually been worn by serious runners. It also has a big first: The first running shoe to debut the Air Max2 technology featuring multiple chambers with different Air pressures for more strategic cushioning and support.

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Released in 1994, the Air Max2 came one year before the behemoth that is the Sergio Lozano-designed Air Max 95, which is obviously immeasurably important to sneaker culture, but took the Air Max line in a more lifestyle driven route than its predecessors by Tinker. Of course, nobody is running in Tinker’s designs like the Air Max 1, Air Max 90, or Air Max 93 now, but at their time they were formidable performance shoes, and ones that you can pick up an old issue of Runner’s World and actually see people wearing. Other than a few examples here and there, that really ended when the Air Max 95 arrived.

Because most of us sneaker nerds know it will probably never get retroed and forever remain an unattainable holy grail, the Air Max2 becomes that much more legendary in our eyes. At this point, I’m glad is hasn’t been retroed (even though I voted for it everyday during the Air Max Day vote in 2016), and I honestly hope it never does. Let’s just keep it magical. I don’t really need it to drop on some future Air Max Day when I won’t even be able to purchase a pair because I lose another round of every raffle I enter.

Sure, it’s more than deserving of a retro, but let’s just leave it in the past. Where its true fans will always still appreciate it.

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Original two-page ad.

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Air Max2 review and “Evolution of Air” blurb in Runner’s World, Oct. 1994.

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Bob Kempainen wearing a pair in Runner’s World.

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Another sighting in a Nike apparel ad.

Air Max2 ad featuring the technology’s first three models, the Air Max2, Air Max2 CB, and Air Max2 Trainer.

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Spike Lee in the Air Max2 on the set of Clockers.

 

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