Nike Air Max 90 Premium History
The Premium edition of the Nike Air Max 90 joins a rich and ever-growing lineage of the Air Max family. After several years of innovating the NASA-inspired Air Sole unit by Nike, the brand dropped the Air Max III in 1990. Its original colorway was a white/black/ cool gray with vibrant Infrared combo meant to give emphasis on its thick sole. The Nike Air Max III was renamed Air Max 90 when the retro was unveiled in 2000 and Nike decided to use the year this shoe was initially launched.
After several decades since the original drop of the Air Max 90, Nike came out with the Premium version, which had the visible air-cushioning element in the heel.
The concept of the Air Sole was conceived by aeronautic engineer Franklin “Frank” Rudy for Nike following the successful Apollo mission in 1969. After carefully examining the anatomy of the foot and by understanding the amount of impact it gets during extreme sports, Frank had a eureka moment and thought of integrating a pocket of inert gases into the midsole.
Frank’s idea was meant to lessen the degree of tension in the foot with this lightweight cushioning system as the shoe hits the ground surface.
This revolutionary technology landed in Nike’s footwear as early as 1978, but it took nine years before an improved version was unveiled, which is the first iteration of the Nike Air Max. The Air Max 1 had a window on the side of the heel that revealed its awe-inspiring technology.
The same window design on the heel was incorporated in the Air Max 90 and this prominent feature is still evident in the Premium version. The classic silhouette of the Air Max 90 was developed over the years, which gained much following among athletes, sneaker enthusiasts, and collectors. This was prior the arrival of this much-sought Premium edition.
One of the well-known profiles is the Nike Air Max 90 Hyperfuse, a fusion of three layers of materials for the upper: synthetic base, mesh, and a top layer of thermoplastic polyurethane. Another one is the Air Max 90 Infrared with hints of red on the upper, sole, and heel areas. Both versions had great appeal among fashion and fitness Air Max followers.
Perhaps, one of the variations of the original profile with close resemblance with the Air Max 90 Premium is the Air Max 90 Black Croc, dropped in the Fall of 2014. This sneaker has an embossed patent leather mimicking the crocodile hide paired with smooth Nubuck for its upper. Both the Premium and Black Croc variations were initially made for the women’s feet.
A striking men’s version of the Premium edition came later in 2017 which had the Rebel Skull insignia on the tongue, reminiscent of the 2007 duo release of the Air Max 1 with such grim-like theme. This sneaker pays tribute to the achievement of Olympic marathon athlete Steve “Pre” Prefontaine, who placed Nike in a prominent spot on the running circuit.
The skull with crossbones is a reflection of the Marshfield High School Pirates team symbol, where Pre manifested his great ability in running before he went to the University of Oregon and was trained under Nike’s co-founder Bill Bowerman. The Rebel Skull comes as a noticeable representation of an all-black Premium version of the Air Max 90 for men.