Extremely popular sneakers because of their price range, versatility when it comes to style, and freedom of movement. Almost everyone is guaranteed to have low-top sneakers in their shoe rotation.
Mid-top sneakers extend toward the ankle for a little more support and hold. These lie somewhere in the middle between low-top and high-top sneakers in terms of usage and popularity.
Sneakers with collars that go above the ankles for optimal hold and support are some of the most sought-after models in lifestyle shoes. Most of these shoes take their roots from basketball and have easily or fashionably crossed to mainstream wear.
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Regardless of cut, it's always good to start with sneakers that can be worn for the daily grind, also called as "beaters" by some, as these are usually cheaper, easy to clean, and still gives that lifestyle "edge" before going for those wallet-thinning models.
Sneakers dominantly take their heritage from running, basketball, skate, tennis, training, hiking, and football. Still retaining a few of their performance-based technologies, these sneakers have transcended their respective niches and have successfully and popularly transformed themselves as staples of fashion footwear.
Sneakers designed for a laidback, "cool" vibe that is built for lifestyle wear right from the get-go.
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Brands are now blending elements of performance and casual appeal in basically every sneaker. One can hardly go wrong with a sports-inspired sneaker or a simple casual shoe.
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Shoes sharing the same inspiration, history, materials, or technologies are routinely assembled under one compilation for the convenience of those who may wish to categorize or label their own collection as such. The classic collections like the Adidas Originals, Air Max 1, Air Force 1, new balance classic sneakers, and the Classic Leather head the pack of frequently asked about collections.
Experts are sneaker fanatics, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.
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Nike Air Max 97 Premium History
Nike has always been a popular brand for sneaker lovers, but when you add the word “Air” right after the brand, it’s guaranteed to make people sit up and give the shoes at least a second glance. And so they should. The much-hyped Air cushioning has so far lived up to its promise and has been giving comfort to millions for decades.
The History of Air Cushioning
The idea for the Air units in the soles of Nike shoes came as early as 1977. Aerospace tech specialist Marion Frank Rudy patented a cushioning system that used encapsulated inert gas. He shopped this idea around, but everyone turned him down — everyone that is until he came to Nike’s doorsteps.
Nike loved the idea of Air cushioning and ran away with it. They released the Air Tailwind in 1978 which had a pocket of air that extended almost the whole length of the shoes, and they provided a lot of bounce and response to the runner. Customers couldn’t get enough.
After the Air in the sole, Nike wanted to develop the tech further. They wanted even more responsive and lighter rides. The only way to do this was to take out entire sections of the soles and replace them with nothing but Air. So they tapped architect Tinker Hatfield for the job.
Hatfield had spent some time in Paris and was struck by the Centre Georges Pompidou building, which showed every bit of internal workings of the building on the outside. He wanted to do the same with the shoes so that users could not only feel the Air, they could see it too.
Not everyone at Nike liked the idea. In fact, most of them hated it. But, Hatfield stuck to his guns and his ally, David Forland, the Director of Cushioning Innovation, backed him up. The result was the Air Max which debuted in 1987 and was a smash success.
Air Max 97
Air Max 97s come from a long line of Air Max iterations, the original (Air Max) of which was released in 1987 and intended as a running shoe. Nike Air Max 97 sneakers are the brainchild of designer, Christian Tresser. They were actually inspired by a mountain bike’s metallic finishes, contrary to the popular notion that the shoe takes from Japan’s famous bullet trains. The shoes had hidden lacing systems which were a first for Nike and was quite a new technology at the time.
When the sneakers were initially released in 1997, Nike Air Max 97 shoes had a love-hate relationship with the public, seeming to draw both admirers and critics. In fact, the shoes spent less than a year on shelves, quickly superseded by Air Max 98s. Despite the shoes’ divided audience in the US, Italian fans were quite the opposite. AM97 kicks became a phenomenon in Italy reportedly caused by the shoes being styled in the catwalk for the Armani and Dolce & Gabbana shows staged in 1998.
Although other models from Nike’s collection got far more than their share of collaborations, Nike Air Max 97s did have a few. The first was with True of San Francisco which, in 1994, remade the Air Max 97 in neutral tones and added a speckled design to the sole. In the succeeding years, Air Max 97 kicks would also be remade by Shady records and Sony PlayStation, and a tribute would be released in honor of Japan’s Kashima Antler soccer team.
By 2013, the hype was beginning to build up around Nike’s Air Max 97s again and in 2017, to celebrate the silhouette’s 20th anniversary, Nike issued a few collabs for the shoes which few designers wanted to touch before. AM97 iterations came out from collaborations with Virgil Abloh, Undefeated, Skepta, and more. They also released two OG colorways as well a few new ones.
Premium colorways also dropped on Aug 4, called the Air Max 97 Premium. The first four premium colors were: Light Bone/Summit, Wolf Grey/Summit White, Particle Beige/Summit White, and Light Pumice/Summit White. These shoes featured contemporary color palettes and soft suede panels to go with the standard mesh material of the Air Max 97. Other new premium colorways have followed since including a Nike Air Max 97 Premium in metallic gold and black.
Nike Air Max 97 Premium Style
Some people fear styling the Nike Air Max 97 Premiums, but the shoes are actually easy to match with outfits. A number of users usually pair them with sportswear such as tracksuits and joggers, but you can also wear them with everyday casual clothing.
Since Nike Air Max 97 Premium low tops are flashy enough on their own, a nice pair of rolled up selvedge denim and a T-shirt would be enough to accentuate your kicks. However, you can also wear it with a sharp jacket for a smarter look.
Women can put on a knit dress, denim jacket, and these kicks for a more styled up outfit. You can also up the notch just a bit more by putting on striped black trousers, a tee, a black blazer, and Nike Air Max “Silver Bullet” 97 Premium.
Fit & Sizing
These Air Max 97 shoes are amazing kicks which are fortunately available for everyone to enjoy. The unisex Nike Air Max 97 Premium is offered in men’s and women’s sizes. For women, the sizes offered are from 5 to 12 while men’s sizes range from 6 to 15.
According to many reviewers, the sizing runs slightly small so a half size up might be warranted for a more comfy feel. The shoes have an adjustable fit courtesy of round laces and a hidden lacing system.
Nike fans would tell you that the Air Max series is one of the most notable from the brand and that the men’s and women’s Nike Air Max 97 Premium silhouette is one that deserves a place in any serious Air Max collection. The much-vaunted full-length Air sole technology not only makes the shoe lightweight, the superior cushioning also makes any ride smooth sailing. Adding to the kick’s comfort level are the removable insoles that have anatomical arch supports for superior foot protection against jarring landings.
Air Max 97 Premiums also feature more than a dozen colorways to suit any taste, whether you like neutral, luxe, or vibrant shades.
- The shoes’ paneled uppers feature suede and mesh materials. Pull tabs can be seen on the tongues and heels while Swoosh logos are on the sidewalls and tongues.
- The full-length and visible Air Max units are prominently displayed in the midsoles.
- Nike offers adequate padding in the ankle collars and tongues for more comfort.
- The thick rubber BRS 1000 Regrind outsoles enhance the Air Max 97 Premium’s cushioning and offer excellent traction.
- Depending on the colorway, the uppers are made of either textile and synthetic leather or textile and pig leather.
- The silhouette saw the addition of new heel and pull tabs in 2018. Bold Nike branding marked the tabs plus the throats of Nike Air Max 97 Premiums. Additional Swoosh logos were also added to the mudguards of the kicks.