It was only last night, October 10, when I met a shadowy figure in an after-hours car park to cut a black market deal for a pair of box-fresh
On second thought, maybe my booze-addled mind from the weekend is playing tricks on me — it was actually 2016, and I probably bought the 20th-anniversary reissue kicks from a pockmarked teenager online, rather than some mysterious hawker. But whatever. The point is that it didn’t feel so long ago, which is why I’m disappointed to learn that Nike has already teed up another re-release for the sneaker, this time for its silver jubilee, or 25th anniversary. The shoe, if you really want it, is set to arrive in 2022.
Everybody knows the story of the silver Air Max 97 by now. It is the greatest Nike creation of all time. A conceptualist tour de force inspired by the Japanese bullet train that, in the same vein as Fabio Cannavaro and Caravaggio, fast became a thing of Italian legend. It is unhinged Y2K porn; when I look at those undulating wave panel uppers, my mind is overwhelmed by images of Tony Blair, the Trainspotting VHS piracy warning, and David Ginola on the cover of FIFA ’97.
Or, as my old mucker
Eror’s take — written in 2016 — was that a shoe like the 97 should remain “fossilized” in time as a ’90s, retrofuturist masterpiece. A harbinger that, like pager devices or an Ask Jeeves cache, stands as a humbling reminder to humanity’s naivety when it comes to predicting the future. Honestly? I can see that point, but I’m not that precious. When done right, a re-issue can be a nice educational lesson for the younger generation, while bringing shine upon the original designer (in this case Christian Tresser).
The 20th anniversary AM97 was initially released as an Italy exclusive and came with a neat little Italian tricolor on the tongue and the heel. It was wonderful storytelling that led people down rabbit holes of post-
I get it, 25 years is a landmark moment. But are we going to end up in a rinse and repeat cycle where a zombified version of the 97 comes along every so often between now and, well, forever? If that is the case, how long before its potency is reduced? When do people begin rolling their eyes and the stories become cliché? This is a shoe that is too good to be locked away in an archive, but as a personal appeal on behalf of good taste everywhere, please Nike, do not rip the piss with it.