The hype surrounding the Nike Air Max 97 has reached a boiling point this week, following news that the Swoosh would be bringing back some of the most iconic colorways. While we wouldn’t call the Air Max 97 one of the most underrated Nikes, it’s been a minute since they were hot.

Following the Skepta, UNDEFEATED, and Sean Wotherspoon collaborations, attention shifted to the Air Jordan 1 in 2019 and, more recently, the Nike Dunk.

Hot on the heels of the “Silver Bullet” Nike Air Max 97 news, J.R. Smith was spotted wearing a pair of golf AM97s on his debut for the N.C. A&T State University golf team. Either the two-time NBA Champion got as excited as the sneaker community at the prospect of OG colorways making a return next year, or the Nike Air Max 97 is still a solid sneaker, regardless of the hype. It’s probably the latter — though we won’t count out Smith prowling the pages of Highsnobiety.

With the model’s stock at on the upswing, we thought we’d highlight some of the more underrated Nike Air Max 97s to slot into your rotation ahead of 2022. Everyone knows about the OG colorways — and we’re likely to get a lot of them during the 25th anniversary next year — but it’s always nice to have a few underrated Nikes in your collection to help you stand out from the crowd.

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