Nike Air Max 97

The Nike Air Max 97 is a running sneaker from North American sportswear behemoth, NIKE, Inc. As its name suggests, the silhouette debuted in 1997.

Designed by Christian Tresser, the low-top model has historically been marketed as inspired by Japan’s bullet trains. And while partially true, the Air Max 96‘s successor drew cues from the ripples Tresser witnessed in ponds. Furthermore, the sneaker’s original “Metallic Silver” colorway took after one of the designer’s life-long interests: mountain biking. Throughout the ’90s, most equipment and accessories for the sport were clad in titanium and silver colors, which paired well with the Air Max 97’s wavy upper.

Despite featuring a top-half that visually deviated from other running sneakers in Nike’s catalog, the shoe’s most defining detail was the full-length visible Airbag underfoot. The company’s modern-day ventures have landed on silhouettes like the Air Max 720, which up the fully-exposed cushioning ante, but Tresser’s efforts had few-to-no predecessors to consult. Early sketches have depicted the pair with tooling reminiscent of what landed on the Air Max Uptempo ’97: a pod-like sole unit would deliver stability that had been difficult to achieve with an exposed Airbag.

Although the silhouette was better-received than its direct predecessor, it’s popularity paled in comparison to the Air Max 95 designed by Sergio Lozano two years earlier. Nike’s quick turnaround with following Air Max propositions also stole some spotlight from Tresser’s design, but the pair enjoyed immense admiration in Italy early on in its lifecycle. A stark contrast to the well-established, traditional visual language promoted and perpetuated by fashion destinations like Milan, the Air Max 97 was adopted by DJ and other creative subcultures as a lifestyle sneaker. The Swoosh tasked Tresser with creating the next chapter in its revolutionary running series, but it never fathomed that the outcome would symbolize rebellion to youth in Italy. Because of its inaugural look, the pair garnered a “Le Silver” moniker that rumbled throughout Rome and Naples before spreading to smaller towns in the European nation. For the shoe’s 10th anniversary, Nike retroed the sneaker across Italy and in NikeTown locales with notable Italian foot traffic; the AM 97’s 20th anniversary in 2017 saw the global return of the “Silver Bullet” pair.

Throughout the last 26 years, the Swoosh has tapped the likes of Undefeated, Skepta and Off-White for collaborations. (The most latter included Tresser’s design in its “The Ten” collection from 2017.) Yet, the pair has enjoyed a quieter retro cycle than its Air Max 90 counterpart. Even as the model surpassed its 25th anniversary, Nike continues to draw attention to the 1997-design via collaborations, special editions and general releases.

Pricing for the sneaker arrives at $170 USD (adults) and $155 USD (big kids). Limited iterations of the Air Max 97 usually have a $5-$10 USD higher price tag.

Nike Air Max 97

A Racy “Black/Volt” Arrives On The Nike Air Max 97

The Nike Air Max 97 has taken a back seat to cuts like the Air Max Plus in recent months, but the Christian Tresser-designed shoe...

By Andrew Rizzo June 7, 2024
761

The Nike Air Max 97 Futura Honors The Past With “Silver Bullet”

With 2022 marking the 25th Anniversary of the Air Max 97, Nike looked to kicks off the next quarter-century of 97 influence by introducing a...

By Sneaker News February 28, 2024
5117

Dune Red Hues Take On The Nike Air Max 97

Desert-inspired colorways have accounted for some of the most memorable inline Air Max 97 releases, a fitting design theme given the silhouette’s dune-like wavy overlays....

By Andrew Rizzo February 26, 2024
1081

The Nike Air Max 97 Join The “Glacier Blue” Push

Updated June 4th, 2024: The Nike Air Max 97 “Glacier Blue” is available now via Nike.com. Hit the links under “Where To Buy” to pick...

By Matt Varga February 26, 2024
3201

“Court Blue” Drapes The Nike Air Max 97

Now faced with stiff competition from the Air Max Plus in the arena of Nike’s more pricey Air Max offerings, the Christian Tresser’s Air Max...

By Andrew Rizzo February 20, 2024
1527

Megan Thee Stallion And Nike Launch The Nike By You Air Max 97 “Hot Girl Systems”

Updated February 20th, 2024: The Nike By You Air Max 97 “Hot Girl Systems” is available now on Nike. First inking a partnership in 2021,...

By Matt Varga February 16, 2024
21276

Nike Keeps The Air Max 97 Classy With A “Light Olive” Colorway

In the fall, Nike graced us with an “Olive” Air Max 97 that invoked the essence of autumn. Conversely, this upcoming pair of “Light Olive”...

By Frankie Cruz Jr. January 2, 2024
1249

Women’s “Iron Grey” Nike Air Max 97 Is The Latest Addition To The SWOOSH! Pack

An upcoming Nike Air Max 97 offers neutral Black, Iron Grey, and Summit White coloring with a splash of Blue Tint. On the outside, it...

By Frankie Cruz Jr. January 1, 2024
1224

Nike Made An Air Max 97 For Eagles Fans

It’s already been a great year for Philly sports fans, and now they’re getting a fresh new green/grey colorway of the Air Max 97s to...

By Andrew Rizzo December 30, 2023
3066