8 best Nike Air Max Zero sneakers

Based on reviews from 3,828 users. Learn how our rankings work or see our guide to Nike Air Max Zero sneakers. Updated Dec 2019.

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Nike Air Max Zero Sneakers

best nike air max zero
Best Nike Air Max Zero Sneakers - May 2019

The Nike Air Max 1 certainly created a significant impact on the history of sneakers. Its then-new and out-of-ordinary technology and aesthetics changed how running shoes and eventually sneakers are made. Designed by the legendary Nike designer Tinker Hatfield and first released in 1987, the Nike AM1 brought out the concept of visible Air technology on shoes.

It was, in its own way, revolutionary. It was the shoe that pioneered the highly coveted Air Max line which includes the classics Air Max 90Air Max 95, Air Max 97, up to the contemporary versions such as the Air Max 270, Air Vapormax, Air Max Thea, and more. But unknown to most, it took several design concepts, iterations, and revisions before the iconic Air Max 1 eventually came to life. Before finally coming up with the final design concept for the Air Max 1, there was the Air Max Zero.

The Nike Air Max Zero was one of the initial ideas conceptualized by Tinker Hatfield as early as 1985 during the development process for the first Air Max shoe. It exhibited design and features that were ahead of its time that Nike couldn't execute the necessary construction and technology required.

For the second year celebration of the Air Max Day in 2015 – 30 years since Tinker Hatfield conceptualized the Air Max Zero, Nike Sportswear headed by Graeme McMillan revisited the Department of Nike Archives and reinterpreted the original design of the pre-Air Max 1 shoe. McMillan and his team, together with Tinker Hatfield himself, finally brought to life the “One Before the 1” using the brand’s contemporary materials and technological innovations.

Key Features of Nike Air Max Zero Sneakers

  • low-top, running-inspired profile
  • slip-on, bootie, form-fitting construction
  • textile seamless upper with a no-tip vamp
  • molded fuse overlays for support
  • Air Max 1 Ultra outsole with cored-out Phylon construction

Other useful information about these Nike Air Max shoes:

  • The Nike Air Max Zero took almost three decades before it finally released as an actual product.
  • It released in time for the celebration of the Nike Air Max Day on March 26, 2015.
  • The AM Zero uses an AM1 Ultra outsole, which can also be found on the Nike Air Max 1 Ultra Moire shoes – the lightest AM1 sneaker.
  • This Air Max model can be customized via NIKEiD.
  • The visible Air bubble was inspired by the architectural design of the Pompidou Center in Paris.

Popular Nike Air Max Zero Releases

Since it the One Before the One was released years ago, a number of sought-after models of the AM Zero have come and gone. Some of these have remained relevant while others have been taken off the shelf. Here are some of these releases:

Nike Air Max Zero “OG”

The Nike Air Max Zero “OG” is the first ever colorway released for the AM Zero silhouette. It flaunts a white-based upper with hints of Rift Blue and Midnight Navy, hence the other name Nike Air Max Zero “Rift Blue.” The white midsole carries a Hyper Jade Visible Air unit, while the rubber outsole comes in contrasting black color. Each pair originally retails for $150.

  • Initial release date: March 2015
  • Second release: March 26, 2016, Air Max Day

Nike Air Max Zero “Tinker Hatfield”

The Nike Air Max Zero “Tinker Hatfield” made its debut on January 21, 2016, as the second colorway of the AM0 silhouette. It released again on Air Max Day 2016 (March 26). Its iconic yellow and white color scheme took inspiration from the original sketch for the shoe, which is made by no other than the legendary sneaker designer and the man behind the highly sought after Air Max line, Tinker Hatfield. Each shoe originally retails for $150 a pair.

Other names of these Nike Air Max Zero shoes:

  • Nike Air Max Zero “White Yellow”
  • Nike Air Max Zero “Tinker Sketch”
  • Nike Air Max Zero “The One Before the 1”

Nike Air Max Zero "Be True"

Nike has a fair share of white sneakers on the market, and one of these is the Nike Air Max Zero “Be True” colorway. These women’s Nike Air Max Zero shoes first released on June 2, 2016, as part of Nike's 2016 Be True collection with a design inspired by the LGBTQ community. Each pair of these Swoosh retails for $150.

Features of these women’s Nike Air Max Zero sneakers:

  • The entire shoe dons a white and pure platinum color scheme with a gradient rainbow-accented Air sole unit.
  • The upper is made of mesh and neoprene
  • The insoles and tongue display “Be True” branding.
  • There are reflective 3M details on the laces and heel tab.

Nike Air Max Zero "Black/Dark Grey"

Released on August 2, 2016, is the "Black/Dark Grey" colorway of Nike Air Max Zero shoes. The Tinker Hatfield-designed silhouette dons an all-black upper with tonal laces and overlays plus a dark grey midsole and brandings, which all sums up to a versatile low-top Swoosh kicks that one could strut anywhere at any time.   

Nike Air Max Zero Pigeon

The Nike Air Max Zero “Pigeon” released exclusively in the Philippines on August 26, 2016. It is a collaboration between Nike, Jeff Staple, and Philippine-based boutique Sneakpeek. Since limited quantities of 75 pairs were released for the special collaboration, a live in-store raffle was made with Jeff Staple himself. Each pair comes with a customized wooden box, a Sneakpeek x Staple shoe bag, and a signed poster of Sneaker Riot.

The Nike Air Max Zero Pigeon is also called the Staple x Sneakpeek x Nike Air Max Zero “Pigeon” shoe. Features of this Swoosh shoe include:

  • Staple Pigeon’s signature gray, white, and pink color scheme
  • breathable mesh upper with tonal fused layers
  • embroidered “NYC” text on the heel
  • embossed Pigeon logo on the forefoot area

Nike Air Max Zero “Tokyo”

For Air Max Day 2016, Nike released a women’s exclusive colorway of Nike Air Max Zero sneakers called “Tokyo.” It was part of Nike City Collection along with women’s exclusive colorways for other Nike models such as Nike Air Max 1, Nike Air Max 90, Nike Air Max BW, and Nike Air Max Thea. Other retailers call this shoe the Nike Air Max City Pack Tokyo.

These women's Nike Air Max Zero sneakers are inspired by Tokyo and the city’s unique art scene. They have the following key features:

  • soft pink-based fused upper with embroidered Japanese wave design accents in navy color on the toe box and heel
  • gold “TKO” lace dubrae
  • hit of crimson on the visible Air unit
  • partially translucent outsole

Variations of Nike Air Max Zero Shoes

Nike Air Max Zero QS

The Nike Air Max Zero QS shoes are basically similar to the original Air Max Zero model. These Nike Air Max Zero shoes flaunt identical features, including materials and technology, as the core model but are released as QS or otherwise known as “Quickstrike” versions. Nike Quickstrike sneakers are released in limited quantities and available at select retailers.

Popular colorways of these Nike Air Max Zero sneakers:

  • Nike Air Max Zero QS “Silver Bullet”The Nike Air Max 97 is one of the most popular silhouettes from the Air Max line. It released initially in an OG “Silver Bullet” colorway in 1997, with its design primarily inspired by Japanese bullet trains. On April 13, 2017, the Nike Air Max Zero sneakers received a “Silver Bullet” colorway treatment in commemoration of the AM97’s 20th The colorway released as a QS or Quickstrike version and retailed for $130 each pair. Other retailers refer to this colorway as “Metallic Silver.”
  • Nike Air Max Zero QS “Ultramarine”The famed Air Max 180 runner inspired the look of the “Ultramarine” colorway of the Nike Air Max Zero shoes. White dominates the upper, while pops of vibrant blue are seen on the inner linings, side Swoosh branding, and outsole. Completing the iconic look is an orange-colored branding on the tongue and heel.

Nike Air Max Zero Essential

The running-inspired silhouette received a much lighter and breathable rendition through the Essential variation of the AM Zero. The Swoosh model is equipped with Hyperfuse overlays on the textile upper and Ultra tooling on the outsole. Simple and minimal, these Nike Air Max Zero shoes feature color-blocking aesthetic in traditional materials.

Six colorways of these Nike Air Max Zero casual running shoes debuted during the Fall and Holiday 2016, including a favorite "Bred" colorway inspired the Air Jordan line, a “Technomarine” colorway, and more.

Highly sought-after colorways of the Nike Air Max Zero Essential sneakers:

  • Nike Air Max Zero Essential “White Obsidian”Dropped on March 17, 2017, is another addition to the long list of black and white Nike sneakers. Called officially as the “White Obsidian” colorway, this particular Nike Air Max Zero Essential shoe exhibits a combination of white and obsidian on its textile base upper with contrasting black overlays on the sidewalls, midfoot area, and heel tab. The fused collar and tongue area, on the other hand, displays a solid white color which complements well the sleek white midsole and the large white Swoosh branding on the sidewalls. Each pair retails for $130.
  • Nike Air Max Zero Essential “Grey White” – Like the "White Obsidian" colorway, this one features a black and white textile base upper. However, in this particular colorway, the synthetic reinforcements come in a contrasting white color that matches the sleek sole unit. The fused form-fitting collar area, including the entire tongue part, comes in black giving the perfect balance to the shoe’s two-toned look. The laces, Nike branding, and large side Swoosh are also in black.

Nike Air Max Zero Breathe

Designed for the warmer months is another addition to the AM Zero line, the Nike Air Max Zero Breathe or otherwise referred to as the Nike Air Max Zero BR. This rendition utilizes textile upper in lieu of typical synthetic materials for a much lighter and breathable feel and fit suited for the summer. Worry not about the discomfort caused by elevated temperature as these Nike Air Max Zero sneakers allow ample airflow while providing foot support and protection. Other features include no-sew overlays for increased durability, and a signature Air Max Zero cushioned sole unit. Each pair is affordable for $140.

Popular colorways of these Nike Air Max Zero shoes:

  • Nike Air Max Zero Breathe “Midnight Navy”Released for $140 a pair is this colorway that exhibits a color scheme of Midnight Navy, Pure Platinum, and Black. The upper comes in navy blue color, with synthetic overlays that are in a darker shade of blue. The laces and large Swoosh match the rest of the navy upper, while the inner sock-like construction shows off a mix of blue and white color.
  • Nike Air Max Zero Breathe “Black Grey” – This colorway for the BR rendition of the Air Max Zero released on March 20, 2017. It features an all-black upper with a black and grey weave-like combination on the inner sock-like bootie construction that extends to the entire tongue. All these sit atop a clean white midsole.
  • Nike Air Max Zero Breathe “Trooper White” – For this colorway, the lightweight-than-ever mesh upper comes in beige or trooper white color including the laces, brandings, and inner linings. A white midsole underfoot that houses the signature Air Max bubble completes the clean and summer-ready look of these Nike Air Max Zero sneakers. This particular colorway also dropped on March 20, 2017.

Other released colorways of the Nike Air Max Zero BR shoes:

  • Nike Air Max Zero Breathe “Pale Grey”
  • Nike Air Max Zero Breathe “Sail White”
  • Nike Air Max Zero Breathe “Olive”

Nike Air Max Zero Premium

Fusing comfort with a sporty-meets-luxury vibe is the Premium rendition of the AM0 sneakers, the Nike Air Max Zero Premium. Built with top-of-the-line materials and craftsmanship from the Swoosh brand, these Nike Air Max Zero sneakers preserve the classic heritage of the Tinker Hatfield-designed pre-AM1 design concept while keeping their allure up-to-date and on-point.

These men’s Nike Air Max Zero Premium shoes retain the signature elements of the original Zero silhouette, but with additional modern components such as ripstop fabric and leather accent on the midfoot as an alternative to synthetic fuse overlays in other AM0 renditions.

Notable colorways of these Nike Air Max Zero casual running shoes:

  • Nike Air Max Zero Premium “Dark Loden”Released on December 21st in 2016 is a winter-ready and military-inspired colorway of the Premium edition of the Nike Air Max Zero sneakers. Dubbed officially as the “Dark Loden," the shoe displays a deep tone of green or olive-like green on the one-piece upper, including the synthetic overlays, inner linings, and laces. The midsole supplements the whole look with its black color.
  • Nike Air Max Zero Premium “Black White” - Made available for $150 a pair, the “Black White” Nike Air Max Zero Premium colorway only proves that it is worthy of its relatively higher price point. The top-notch quality textile and synthetic upper is dressed in black for a premium look, while a distinctive white color pops on the heel counter, IU midsole, tongue, lining, and collar.  This Air Max Zero rendition exemplifies the no-fail, classic look of a black and white Swoosh kick.
  • Nike Air Max Zero Premium “Tumbled Grey & Melon Tint” – Only a few colorways of the Nike Air Max Zero Premium sneakers feature a speckled midsole design, and that includes this particular pair of gray Nike sneakers. The white speckled midsole is made even more striking with a pop of melon orange at the Air heel unit. The upper, on the other hand, is dominated by shades of grey.
  • Nike Air Max Zero Premium “Pure Platinum”This colorway surprised sneakerheads not just because of its flawless color scheme, but also because it is one of the few and rare Nike Air Max Zero shoes that use leather particularly on the toe area and side panels. A combination of Pure Platinum and Wolf Grey dresses the entire upper, while hints of teal are visible on the heel counter, ankle, and tongue branding.

Nike Air Max Zero SE

The Nike Air Max Zero SE model boasts a modern construction that stays true to the original design. This “Special Edition” rendition has a premium knitted mesh upper reinforced with seamless synthetic overlays with sturdy but lightweight fuse material on the midfoot area. The outsole is reconstructed as well to keep down the shoe’s overall weight.

Noteworthy colorways of these Nike Air Max Zero shoes:

  • Nike Air Max Zero SE “Bred”The ever-iconic "Bred" color scheme has reached even the pre-AM1 design concept. This particular Air Max Zero SE colorway features a striking black and red color combination throughout the upper. Evident on the paneling, lacing, and brandings is the black color, while the mesh base, Swoosh, and eyelets all showcase a contrast of red color. Adding a perfect balance to the sporty lifestyle silhouette is a black sole unit.
  • Nike Air Max Zero SE “Dark Grey”This colorway of the AM0 SE dons a dark grey knit/mesh-based upper with synthetic material overlays in a much lighter grey hue. Completing the look is a clean white sole unit that houses the iconic Air bubble.
  • Nike Air Max Zero SE “Bordeaux” – The "Bordeaux" colorway is one of the most unique colorways for this rendition of Nike Air Max Zero shoes. It features a Bordeaux-themed, wine red upper that presents a refined look to the running-inspired silhouette. Sidewall brandings and the Air unit in the midsole display hints of gold, while a speckled midsole and mixed colored laces sealed off the look. These Nike Air Max Zero shoes released on September 25, 2017, for $130.
  • Nike Air Max Zero SE “Brown Khaki”- Also dropped on September 25, 2017, is the "Brown Khaki" colorway of the AM Zero SE shoes. The seasonal colorway dons a deep drown hue waterproof neoprene upper with hints of burnt orange detailing on the laces, Air heel unit, and large Swoosh sidewall branding. Like the "Bordeaux" edition, this one also has a speckled detail throughout the midsole.

Nike Air Max LD-Zero

The Nike Air Max LD-Zero is a reinterpreted version of the AM Zero silhouette with a new design inspired by the LD-1000 upper and a full length, 360-degree Air Max cushioned sole unit. This Swoosh is designed by Japanese streetwear designer Hiroshi Fujiwara, who also happens to be one of the three creative minds behind the Nike HTM design collective along with renowned Nike designers Tinker Hatfield and Mark Parker.

Popular colorways of the Nike Air Max LD-Zero sneakers:

  • Nike Air Max LD-Zero “Pearl Pink"These pink sneakers from Nike released on Air Max Day 2017 (March 26, 2017). The women’s exclusive colorway for the Air Max LD-Zero shoe features a pastel-based aesthetic in tonal pink color throughout.
  • Nike Air Max LD-Zero “Triple White”The “Triple White” colorway for the Nike Air Max LD-Zero is an exclusive run for the ladies. As simple as its name, this particular Nike women’s shoe features an all-white monochromatic upper and a matching translucent 360-degree visible Air sole unit. This colorway also dropped on March 26, 2017, for $180.
  • Nike Air Max LD-Zero “Pure Platinum”Also a part of the Air Max Day 2017 release is the “Pure Platinum” colorway for the AM LD-Zero shoe. It dropped in men’s sizing with a light grey-based upper and a translucent 360-degree Air Max cushioned sole unit.

Other colorways of the Nike Air Max LD-Zero shoes:

  • Nike Air Max LD-Zero “Blue Moon”
  • Nike Air Max LD-Zero “Medium Olive”
  • Nike Air Max LD-Zero “Dark Team Red”

Nike Air Max LD-Zero H

The Nike Air Max LD-Zero H, otherwise known as the Nike Air Max Zero Hiroshi Fujiwara, is a collaboration between the giant sportswear brand and renowned Japanese fashion streetwear designer and owner of fragment design Hiroshi Fujiwara. It released on Air Max Day 2016 with a design based on the Nike Boston silhouette (a predecessor to the LD-1000 model) and the Air Max 2014 shoe.

This hybrid Nike sneaker has the following features:

  • nylon upper with a touch of suede and leather throughout
  • Nike Flywire for adaptive fit and support
  • full length 360 Max Air sole unit

For its November 19, 2016 release, the reinterpreted Nike Air Max Zero shoes come in three new colorways, namely “Black/Black/Black,” “Black/Black/Dark Grey/Black,” and “Sail/Black/Sail.” These sneakers are also called the fragment design x Nike Air Max LD-Zero H. Each pair retails for $210.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I buy a pair of Nike Air Max Zero shoes?

Most Nike Air Max Zero sneakers are readily available via Nike retail stores, online through the brand's official website, and popular sneaker retail shops. Likewise, you can shop for Nike Air Max Zero shoes via Runrepeat. Just type "Nike Air Max Zero" in the search bar, and a list of available Nike Air Max Zero sneakers in our partner retailers will automatically show up. Also included are information about the shoes’ pricing, colorways, user reviews, and other relevant information.

How do Nike Air Max Zero sneakers fit?

Nike Air Max Zero sneakers generally fit true to size. They follow a low-top, running-inspired construction with a form-fitting and sock-like upper. The collar and tongue are fused together, and some find it somehow a bit difficult to put on at first. But the shoe is well-padded around that area, which gives added comfort to the wearers.

What is the difference between the Nike Air Max Zero Essential and the Nike Air Max Zero Breathe sneakers?

Although both renditions of the Air Max Zero are lighter and more breathable than the core model, one remarkable difference between them can be spotted at the collar and tongue areas of each shoe. Both use lightweight and summer-ready textile upper, but only the Air Max Zero Breathe is fully equipped with textile all throughout the upper including the collar and tongue. In the Essential rendition, the collar and tongue shadow the original Air Max Zero – padded, but made of neoprene material.  

How much do AM Zero sneakers cost?

Like other sneakers from Nike and other sneaker brands like AdidasVansReebokSauconyOnitsuka Tiger, or Puma, the pricing of Air Max Zero sneakers varies from one model to another. But to give you an idea, these Air Max shoes are typically available for as low as $120 up to $150.

For the Air Max LD-Zero shoes, however, the prices are slightly higher since these shoes are a collaboration between Nike and renowned designer Hiroshi Fujiwara. Each pair of these Air Max shoes cost about $180 to $210.

Why is it named Zero?

These Air Max shoes are named as such because its design concept originated 30 years ago even before the inception of the iconic Nike Air Max 1. When McMillan and his team revisited Nike’s archive in 2015, he found Tinker Hatfield’s pre-Air Max 1 old sketch of the shoe. From there, he teamed up with Hatfield and finally brought to life the “One before the 1” and named it officially as the Nike Air Max Zero.

Why did it take 30 years for the Nike Air Max Zero shoes to be available in the market?

Distinguished Nike designer Tinker Hatfield came up with the design concept of the Nike Air Max Zero in 1985, but Nike never released the shoe back then for a few reasons. For one, the original sketch required necessary technology and materials that Nike didn’t have at that time. Fast forward to 2015, Nike has everything it needs to bring life to the 1985 design. So during the Air Max Day celebration that year, the Swoosh brand finally unveiled the first ever Nike Air Max Zero shoe. 

When did the Air Max Zero come out?

Although initially conceptualized in 1985, the first Nike Air Max Zero shoe officially released only on March 26, 2015, or during the Air Max Day 2015.

Who designed the Nike Air Max Zero?

The Nike Air Max Zero shoe is designed by Nike designer Graeme Mcmillan and his team. It is a reinterpretation of Tinker Hatfield’s 1985 pre-Air Max 1 design concept.

Are Nike Air Max Zero sneakers heavy or bulky?

No. Nike Air Max Zero sneakers are designed and constructed with lightweight materials to allow maximum comfort while providing all the necessary support on foot. The uppers are fused with monofilament mesh on the toe area, while the soles are similar to that on the AM1 Ultra.

Are there any Nike Air Max Zero shoes for women?

Yes. Most Air Max Zero releases come in both men's and women's sizing. There are also, in fact, some colorways of the Air Max Zero and its different versions that released exclusively in women's sizing.

2 best Nike Air Max Zero sneakers

  1. Nike Air Max Zero QS
  2. Nike Air Max LD-Zero
Danny McLoughlin

Danny is a sneakerhead turned sneaker industry expert that believes a good outfit begins from the feet up. His aunt currently isn't speaking to him for wearing a pair of kicks at his cousin's wedding. He spends most of his time trying to keep on top of the latest releases, hitting up his contacts and doing what needs to be done to secure his next pickup. Danny has been featured in prestigious publications such as The Washington Post, The Irish Times, Footwear News and the like.

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