Air Max 97/BW
A modern fusion, Skepta provides his take on a UK classic
- Air Max 97 + BW Fusion
- Unilateral Alternate Coloured Swoosh (Red/Blue)
- Honeycomb Underlay Pattern on Mesh
- SK Air on Outsole
- Stitch Detail Lacing
- Full Length Air Unit with Coloured Tint
Dressed in the tricolour of one of Skepta's favourite destinations, France. The Air Max 97/BW combines an Air Max 97 outsole (Air unit) with the Air Max BW's ('Big Window') body. A unilateral design, each foot of the silhouette is dressed with a different colour Swoosh. The right foot has a red Swoosh, with a red tint in the 97's Air unit; whilst, the left foot is finished with a blue Swoosh and a blue tint. The laces come with a blue and red stitched pattern design, depending on the foot of the respective shoe. The mesh portion of the upper continues utilising a honeycomb pattern underlay, which was also featured on Skepta's Air Max 97.
Air Max 97 — Silhouette Explored — History
Designed by Christian Tresser. A silhouette very much ahead of its time, the 97 is divisive with its fair share of critics, it took awhile before people caught on and could fully appreciate the qualities of the 97, but the 97 now holds a place of reverence within the sneaker community. The signature chrome waves that make up the 97 are derived from capillary waves, the ripple observed in water when movement occurs, the layers were actually similar to the gradient effect present in the Air Max 95 but are more pronounced. The lines in between each layer are 3M providing a glistening effect for the wearer. The never-seen before full-length Air cushioning unit in the midsole was an evolution of both the Air Max 180 and the Air Max 93. Whilst the concealed lacing system was up there with the Puma DISC system & the InstaPump Fury, as transformative shoe fastening systems. Tresser referenced Mountain bike construction as the inspiration behind the material construction, with the metallic hues a consistent theme in Tresser's work for Nike (Air Zoom Spiridon, R9 Mercurial). A number of people know the 97 in relation to the Silver Bullet train, a reflection of the 97's sleek curved form and projectile presence. Unlike other Nike models, the 97 features reductive branding, with a small embroidered Swoosh present on a panel on both the medial and lateral sidewall above the midsole.
The 97 entered in a period just before the new millennium, with society obsessed with the prospect of the future, particularly with visual presentation and new visual mediums, the Air Max 97 reflected this. In major Italian cities such as Milan & Rome the shoe has become somewhat of a cultural icon, with several sources providing contradictory reasoning - the 97 became a favourite of graffiti crews in Rome & Milan, whilst other accounts suggest they appeared on the '98 Giorgio Armani runway or cite their popularity as a consequence of Neapolitan nightlife. Regardless of the reasoning the silhouette is very much Italy's sneaker of choice, with it gaining the nickname 'La Silver'.
Air Max BW — Silhouette Explored — History
The Big Window, a design from the mind of Tinker Hatfield released in 1991, the Air Max BW built on the design of the Air Max 90. The Big Window name was a reference to the exaggerated Air window, that Nike looked to make bigger with each new Air Max iteration. The panelled upper of the BW was constructed of synthetic leather, mesh and lycra; the outsole was made from solid rubber whilst the midsole was made of durable polyurethane. The heel counter features 3 depressed perforated plastic panels, whilst a rubber strip with 'Air Max' branding sits on top. The majority of the front portion of the rubber outsole utilises a modified Waffle tread pattern with raised lugs providing additional support in the midfoot. The BW became a staple in the UK alongside the 95 (or the 110 as it may be referred to in the UK) and the Air Max Plus TN (or just the TN).