Water-ripple panels or Air Lines dominate the upper of the Cristiano Ronaldo x Nike Air Max 97 CR7. It’s the same head-turning design that made the original model famous when it was first released. Leather and mesh make up the upper, featuring an almost monochromatic look for a sleek appeal. Completing the shoe's smooth appearance is the patchwork design near the white midsole, with different materials and stitch detailing.
For branding, the Swoosh is embroidered on the sides and the tongue in contrasting thread. Exclusive CR7 pull tabs are also on the heel. Tonal rope laces are on the front in a hidden design. There are also two additional pairs of different-colored laces that come with the model to change up the look. Yellow and green aglets are fitted on each lace end. A pull tab on the tongue assists in sliding the foot in.
Nike Air Max 97 CR7 History
In 1997, Nike released the Air Max 97, taking inspiration from Japanese bullet trains. It was the first shoe to utilize full-length Air technology while introducing a new, hidden lace-up system. During its initial release, the eye-catching “Air Lines” was both admired and criticized, making a big wave across the running world. In 2017, Nike celebrated the shoe’s 20th anniversary, releasing new editions, colorways, and collaborative models.
A year later in April 2018, Nike released another version of the iconic sneaker in collaboration with Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. The Air Max 97 CR7 is named after the player’s initials and shirt number. Hailed as one of the sport's greatest players of all time, Ronaldo had an impoverished childhood growing up on the island of Madeira in Portugal. He shared a room with his brother and sister while his mother worked as a cook and his father worked as a kit man and gardener.
From an early age, he loved to play soccer, eventually deciding to leave school to pursue a career in the sport full-time. As a child, he only had two pairs of shoes, one reserved for school, which was in a better condition, and one for playing soccer, which was always tattered and worn due to his long hours in the field. His mother would patch the shoe up repeatedly, covering the holes and tears to make them wearable again.
This is the design inspiration for the Air Max 97 CR7, which has patches in tribute to Ronaldo’s childhood. It’s dubbed the Portugal Patchwork and comes in a University Red colorway, a reference to Ronaldo's Portuguese nationality. It also comes in a Metallic Gold option to honor Ronaldo’s stellar sports career. This new edition of the Nike Air Max 97 updates the upper with sleek paneling while retaining the wavy lines that made it famous.