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.
Good to know
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.
Shoes best for road, track and light gravel. See the best road shoes.
Shoes best for trail, off road, mountains and other unstable surfaces. See the best trail shoes.
Good to know
As long as you stick to the road or path, and if you want just one running shoe, buy a road running shoe.
Neutral / cushion / high arch
Shoes for runners who does not need any additional arch support (Around 50% of runners). Best for people with high or medium high arches. See the best neutral shoes.
Stability / overpronation / normal arch
Shoes for runners who needs arch support (Around 45% of runners). Best for runners with a normal arch. See the best stability shoes.
Motion control / severe overproanation / flat feet
Shoes for runners who needs a lot of arch support. Best for runners with flat feet. See the best motion control shoes.
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Cushioned shoes for your daily easy running. Great comfort. See best shoes for daily running.
Lightweight shoes good for races, interval training, tempo runs and fartlek. Here are the best competition running shoes.
Good to know
If you want just one pair of shoes, buy a shoe for daily running.
The height difference from the heel to the forefoot, also known as heel drop, toe spring, heel to toe spring or simply drop.
There are many opinions about what a good heel drop is. We do not recommend any in particular. Lean more in this video.
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Nike Air Max 97 Ultra 17 History
2017 marks the 20th year of the Air Max 97, one of the uniquely styled trainers from Nike’s heritage line with a standout metallic cover and full-length proprietary Air bubble in the sole. Creative geniuses from Nike Sportswear headed by Senior Designer Dylan Raasch came up with the low-top Air Max 97 Ultra 17, a heavily re-tweaked version of the fast-forward looking original model. This anniversary edition integrated modern technological updates, which cut down a great deal of weight from the earlier iterations of this shoe.
The original Air Max 97, dropped in the Fall of 1997, had a silhouette that was way, way advance of its time. In fact, when the design concept for this model was presented by its creator Christian Tresser to the top executives of Nike, it made them feel uneasy as the upper detailing is too futuristic for its era. However, Tresser originally intended this running shoe not to look normal. He wanted it to stand out and create an impact as it utilizes for the first time the full-length Nike Air bladder in the midsole.
The original colorway of the Air Max 97 is in metallic silver, which was branded as the Silver Bullet by Nike since its debut, in reference to the fast moving Japanese railway transit as futuristic as this shoe. And then again, Tresser had something different in mind when he conceived this model. As an avid competitive cyclist back in the day, Tresser took cues from the metal components of a mountain bike such as its titanium, silver, aluminum, and high corrosive-resistant metal finishes in coming up with the idea of having reflective accents for this runner.
In his 1986 sketch of this shoe which he called the Air Total Max, Tresser particularly indicated the use of 3M reflective material on the upper with a pearlescent effect on it. He thought that having a shiny upper would best complement the premier introduction of the maximum Air cushioning unit in the sole.
After the Silver Bullet was introduced to the market, other colorways followed suit such as the solid toned Navy/Volt and the Obsidian/Royal Blue. In 1999, this Air Max 97 received another metallic finish with the release of the gold colorway, called the Metallic Gold.
In 2016, Nike had a limited launch of the OG Silver Bullet in Milan, Italy, where this particular sneaker is considered a big celebrity. The unveiling of this Air Max figure that features the colors of the Italian flag on the tongue and heel pull tabs kicked off the campaigns for the release of the 20th anniversary sneaker. Eventually the entire European community had a glimpse of the retro Silver Bullet minus the red-white-green Italian flag detailing.
Twenty years from its original drop, with a multitude of retroes in between, Nike re-introduced the Air Max 97 integrated with bundles of innovations to its gleaming landscape. Nike puts great respect to the OG which is why this 20th anniversary remake retained the distinct look of its metallic origin.
Nike eliminated the weighty overlays of its earlier models when it came up with the Air Max 97 Ultra 17. As an alternative, this shoe is built with a single-piece textured jacquard upper that makes this edition lightweight and air permeable. The pressure volume in the Air bubble unit was regulated, the forefoot grooves plus other regions of the sole were cored out to keep this version ultra lightweight as compared to its predecessors.
A parade of colors of the Air Max 97 Ultra 2017 was dropped in a series, starting off with the glittery renditions such as the Silver Bullet and Metallic Gold with hits of Varsity Red. Followed by masculine tonal varieties like the Black/Anthracite, Midnight Navy/Cool Gray, Triple Black, Platinum/White, Burgundy; and feminine tones namely the Light Orewood Brown and Rose Gold.
Nike Air Max 97 Ultra 17 Style
Nike Sportswear senior designer Dylaan Raasch and his creative team crafted a minimalist interpretation of the classic sporty shoe, which completely eliminated the suede, mesh and leather detailing of the older variations.
Keeping this 20th anniversary edition simple, the low-top Nike Air Max 97 Ultra 17 is fitted with a single-piece woven fabric in a jacquard pattern adorned with reflective detailing and a prominent wavy design on the upper. Providing a more sophisticated feel to this sneaker is the heritage heavy full-length Air bladder unit in the midsole. Its overall streamlined design adds allure to any casual, laid back outfit.
Fit & Sizing
The low-top Nike Air Max 97 Ultra 17 is a little bigger than the usual Air Max 97 iterations, which is ideal for those with wide foot measurements. Those with standard and narrow foot width are advised to obtain half a size down their usual size to get the full advantage of this sneaker. This shoe is available in men’s sizes ranging from 8 to 14 US. Nike also came up with colorways that are exclusively for women, which are available in sizes 5 to 11 US.
Putting the original Nike Air Max 97 side by side the Nike Air Max 97 Ultra 17, one can easily distinguish that though both silhouettes have a futuristic touch to them, they evidently belong to different eras. The metallic and reflective wavy accents on the upper is seen on both versions. However, the Ultra variety used synthetic materials welded to the upper to keep it clean and sleek as opposed to the heavily stitched, multi layered elements seen in the traditional edition. Lastly, among the recognizable updates made on the low-top Nike Air Max 97 Ultra 17 sneaker is the reduced volume of air in the midsole which puts the feet closer to the ground.
- The upper part of the low-top Nike Air Max 97 Ultra 17 is made with jacquard fabric. This material has a textured woven design on it which makes it more intricate than printed fabrics. The interlaced pattern is solid and hard-wearing which makes the upper of this shoe very tough.
- Like the other Air Max 97 variations, this shoe features a hidden lacing system which offers a secure, lockdown fit.
- This sneaker with a slip-on feel has pull tabs on the tongue and heel.
- The Nike Air Max 97 Ultra 17 features a removable insole which offers additional cushioning to the foot.
- The unique lacing pattern of the Air Max 97 secures the foot down.
- The visible Air bladder unit in the sole which help cushion impact is what makes this model extremely valuable.
- The Air unit is a patented cushioning technology by Nike which was conceptualized by aeronautic engineer Franklyn Rudy in the 1970s. It is made up of a shock-absorbing bag filled with compressed gasses similar to the blow rubber molding technique used by NASA in creating space helmets that time.
- Nike’s most celebrated designer Tinker Hatfield thought of displaying the Air unit embedded in the shoe by putting a window in the midsole. This led to the creation of the Air Max 1 in 1987, the first in a series of running shoes that contain the said cushioning unit. The Air Max 97 succeeded the Air Max 95 variant that had segmented pockets of air in the heel and forefoot.
- The designer of the Air Max 97 Ultra 17 Dylaan Raasch is the creative mind behind another minimalist and lightweight shoe by Nike, the Roshe Run that was later called the Roshe One.
- The Ultra tooling is a term used by Nike in streamlining the features of its silhouettes such as carving out areas in the sole in a precise manner which reduces a lot of weight from the shoe without compromising on its flexibility.