Air Max 97
Bullet. Space Age.
Virgil Abloh reimagines the Air Max 97
- Nike x Off-White™ c/o Virgil Abloh
- Bone White Ripstop Upper
- Large Black Swoosh on Lateral Sidewall
- "AIR" Branding on Midsole
- Off-White™ Branding on Medial Side
- Rep Zip Tie, Re-Issues utilise a Blue Zip Tie
The 10: Air Max 97. In Motion. The Air Max 97 was a part of the 5 "GHOSTING" silhouettes. Virgil refined the 97 by removing its signature ridges but retained the essence of the shoe by evoking a focus on its distinct and precise elliptical shape. The seamless bone white upper is finished in synthetic textile, with the seams taped to produce a flawless body. Virgil's rendition of the 97 is arguably the most transformative of THE TEN (relative to their original), with a large black Swoosh embellished on the lateral sidewall of the silhouette. The sidewall panel that usually houses the small embroidered Swoosh is still present - in mesh. "AIR" in Helvetica letraset is present towards the rear of the lateral side of the shoe, whilst the medial side is complete with Off-White™ branding. The midsole features a completely transparent full-length Air unit. Additional small details include green lace tips and the orange tab accent (which is present on a number of the other TEN silhouettes).
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'.