Nike Air Max 97 Ultra 17 History
2017 marks the 20th year of the iconic Nike 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.