Good to know

These Air Max 97 shoes are amazing kicks, which are, fortunately, available for everyone to enjoy. The shoes have an adjustable fit courtesy of round laces and a hidden lacing system.

The Air sole tech keeps the shoe light while keeping the feet cushioned and comfy for any casual activity.

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 the Nike Air Max 97 Premiums in the silver bullet colorway.

Nike fans would tell you that the Air Max series is one of the most notable collections 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.

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. The brand 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 soles, Nike wanted to develop the tech further. The company 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 Nike 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 smashing success.

  Air Max 97 shoes

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 shoes take 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 the shelves, quickly superseded by the 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 97s in neutral tones and added a speckled design to the soles. 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.

  Collabs and colorways

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 97s. Other new premium colorways have followed since, including the Nike Air Max 97 Premium shoes in metallic gold and black.

  • 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 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.


How Nike Air Max 97 Premium ranks compared to all other shoes
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The current trend of Nike Air Max 97 Premium.
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Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny is a sports nut with a particular interest in football and running. He loves to watch sports as much as he loves to play. Danny was lead researcher on RunRepeat and The PFA’s report into Racial Bias in Football Commentary. His football and running research has been featured in The Guardian, BBC, New York Times and Washington Post.