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Go behind the scenes with SI.com's Arash Markazi who’s ‘On The Scene,’ writing a regular journal from anywhere and everywhere about anything and everything.
7/07/2006 01:46:00 PM

Air to the Max

Nike Air Max 360 finally makes walking on air a possibility.
I’ll skip the engaging prose and just come out and say it: I love Nike Air Max. I left out the "the" before Nike because to me it’s more than just a shoe; it’s a name I’ll always remember. It’s like that first girlfriend you never forget, the one whose first, middle and last name will forever be engrained into your memory and whom you’ll always be hopelessly in search of no matter how many times you look her up on MySpace and Facebook.

I remember the first time I saw Air Max. I was about eight years old and she was sitting in my cousin’s room, neatly perched atop his shoe rack and fresh out of the box. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was like something out of Back to the Future. The transparent air bubble in the rear of the shoe, the crazy red- cream-and-white colorway and the way my feet felt when I put them on while my cousin was in the restroom. I was hooked.

Since then Air Max has gotten quite a few makeovers. I mean, who hasn’t since the '80s? It came back in five different forms over the next decade. While the 270-degree exposed Nike Air Unit on Air Max 93 caused me to react like Macaulay Culkin when he put his dad’s aftershave on in Home Alone, it’s Air Max 95 that has stood the test of time for me. Forget for a moment that it’s quite possibly the most comfortable shoe ever made, it's also a veritable canvas for heads who like to play Picasso on their kicks. The number of colorways you can rock on the graduated side panels, loopholes and straps are enough to cause the mind to detonate.

It was understandable, then, that when Nike released Air Max 360 earlier this year, I was like an anxious family member at an airport terminal as I waited to get my pair and try them on. No shoe in recent memory has been hyped as much as the 360 has, but it lived up to everything that was said and written in the weeks leading up to its January release when I slipped on the first foamless, fully air-soled Air Max. It really was like walking on air. Even the laziest guy (guilty as charged) feels the need to do a few laps around the block when he puts these shoes on. I still have to say my favorite Air Max is 95, followed by the OG and then the 360. What’s yours?

posted by sidotcom | View comments |  


Posted: 2:42 PM, July 07, 2006   by Anonymous
Were you eating Doritos, while drinking a Pepsi while driving your Honda on the way to Foot Locker to buy your shoes?

I normally like your stuff, but I read SI not for Nike commercials but for sports. If I wanted a shoe review I'd try it on and see for myself. I am not interested in SI disguising product placement as a column.
Oh c'mon Anonymous (if that's your real name), take it easy. I was just telling you about my undying love for Air Max, nothing more, nothing less. In an earlier post I explained that I was a "sneaker head" with a closet full of shoes. Maybe it's just me, but that's what I like about this blog. We can have an open dialogue about anything and everything, from sports to shoes to cars to movies. Now maybe you only like reading about sports. If so, that's cool, just skip the other posts on this blog. I won't hold it against you.
I don't have an issue with an open discussion. Your post just comes off as a Nike pitch. You want to talk about sneaker culture, that's cool. I am all for something that relates to how sneakers have evolved into "must have's" how kids can describe the last dozen Jordan's. I just want more meat in my articles than "Great shoe".
A few things here: First, it would be cool if you put your name with your comments. You seem like an intelligent person so there's no reason to be posting anonymously like some of the prank posters we get. Second, this is a blog not an essay meant for the magazine. I’ve written features on the impact of shoes in our culture in the past but I don’t think this blog is the proper place for a 2,000-word article on sneakers. Third, if you read the above post (understand it’s a post not an article) about how I became enamored with Air Max as a kid and grew up liking it even more as the shoe evolved and all you got from that was, “great shoe,” I don’t know what to say. I’d like to think it communicated a little more than that.
Posted: 4:59 PM, July 07, 2006   by Anonymous
Air Max 95 - the best shoe ever. That Nike still pushes them more than a decade after their initial release, and after numerous subsequent versions, is a testament to that. Only problem is that there are too many choices now that Nike allows you to customize the colorway.
I worked in a sporting goods store for 10 years through high school and college and was their when the first Nike Air "anything" came out in 1982 (Damn I'm old). Along with the Air Max 95 and the Air Force (a.k.a. in todays world as the Air Force 1) are my favorite shoes ever. I still have an original pair of both new and in a box(I also have my first Larry Bird Cons, the heaviest b-ball shoe ever). To date I have over 100 pairs of new Nike Air from 1982 to 1992 when I left the confine of the sporting goods world (yes, I'm a nerd). I completely understand your love afair with Air Max and enjoyed your post.
Posted: 8:47 PM, July 07, 2006   by Silent
I'm in love with my 360's as well - a recent convert from Adidas. My first pair with the swoosh on the side, and I've got to say, I'm hooked. Arash, there is also no need to reminisce about those Max of old...I read that Nike will be reissuing limited quanities of each previous model year for the Air Max's anniversary. Go get those 95's!
Posted: 11:06 PM, July 07, 2006   by Spc Vincent Stubblefield
I am loving the new Air Max 360's. I have been in the Army for three years and every year I get a new pair of Nike's for my morning runs. I started with the Bowermans. They were really great. Then I picked up some Shocks. They did the job, but were not as good as the bowermans. I purchased some 360's about a month back and they are the best shoe I have ever had. Light and comfortable, all I could ask for in a running shoe.
This is a simple question. For me its the Air Jordan I. The one from Michael's rookie season. Black swoosh with red and white...simply a classic shoe. I wore it back in elementary school, in fact i still have the originals in my room...I got the reissues back in 95 in my size 13, but I don't wear them. Growing up in Detroit, I'm a piston fan, but i always admired michael and his game...so every time i see these shoes, it brings back great memories. They werent the best looking or most comfy pair of shoes anyone could have, but at that time, it was the best thing going. I totally can relate to your fondness.

I pesonally enjoy the Air MAx 90, Jordan III, and the Air Force. I think these shoes are the best and most comfortable to relax in. I think your article was great.
Ah yes--children of the 90's unite! I was 12 when I put on my first pair of Air Max's--the 95 version, red and white, with gray around the edges.

Dynamite shoe and I still can't believe my mom bought them for me.

Those shoes made me the coolest kid in 6th grade for about a month.

Thanks mom!
Posted: 8:56 AM, July 10, 2006   by hendero67
I have to agree with anonymous that between your blog and the article about the Nike basketball camp (which mentioned the name "Nike" no less than eight times) it does come across as though si.com is another advertising forum for the brand. Why not write a review of a few different footwear models you've enjoyed over the years, maybe ranking them accordingly. Or have you only ever owned/liked Nike?
Posted: 9:32 AM, July 10, 2006   by Edmon
Air Max are my favorite shoe. I can't believe you didn't like the 93s though. Those are my favorite of the 90s. I have six different colorways of them. They are way comfortable.
Posted: 10:42 AM, July 10, 2006   by Anonymous
The Nike, Adidas and Reebok camps have become huge events/stories as far as high school and college basketball coverage goes. Unless ownership and the names of those camps change, the shoe companies involved need to be mentioned to avoid confusion with one and other and also because its the proper name of the camp. It's like getting mad at a reporter or website for calling the Chick-Fil-A Bowl the Chick-Fil-A. What are you going to do? That's the name.
Posted: 11:46 AM, July 10, 2006   by J.D. Bolick
In all seriousness, it was a bad idea to shill for a company that has such a strong relationship with sports (one that really needs to be more closely monitored). I think it was an honest mistake, but you should avoid similar comments in the future to prevent the appearance of impropriety. Blog or not, this is still on SI's website and not your own. That said, at least SI hasn't sold out to the same extent that ESPN has. Oh, and I stopped wearing Nikes when they started using sweatshops (and charging $80+ at the same time).
Posted: 12:20 PM, July 10, 2006   by Anonymous
In all seriousness, you should relax. Should we not have shoe reviews, video game reviews, car reviews, etc. because anyone who does them is "shilling" out for a company. This wasn't even a review as much a springboard to a question, i.e. "this is my favorite shoe, what's yours?" Of course Nike has a strong relationship with sports, that's why this post is on a sports site. I wonder if this would get the same backlash if it was an ode to Coppola wine or Starbucks coffee.
Posted: 1:09 PM, July 10, 2006   by Jade
The only comment I have on the Air MAx 95's is "Classic" - the mere fact that they are still sought after 10 years later is a true testament to syle and quality! I recently brought anew pair (original green and grey) after looking for the last two years for them. I have had every pair of Air Max's since the 90's and have enjoyed every pair - oh and please lighten up it's Arash's opinion/Stop being so PC all the time!
Did you happen to forget that your beloved sneakers are made with child labor for a lot less than the US minimum wage? No wonder NIKE keeps setting record profits. I will NEVER buy anything NIKE!
Posted: 4:22 PM, July 10, 2006   by Anonymous
Nike can make an awesome shoe, I just wish they would be a more socially responsible company, and not hire 6 year olds to do so.
Posted: 7:55 PM, July 10, 2006   by J.D. Bolick
Anonymous, I'm sorry that you so obviously failed to understand why this piece was inappropriate, so I'll explain it to you. Regarding reviews, they are an objective (theoretically anyway) analysis of an entity. This was not a review, it was seemingly purposeless gushing about how "great" a particular product was. I don't think the article would have had any merit anyway, but the professional thing to do (even with a blog) would have been to analyze the history of such shoes or perhaps even to pose the question: "what is your favorite shoe?" Instead this was a free (presumably) endorsement of a product, which is wholly inappropriate for what is proportedly a site for sports journalism. The whole reason you separate ads from articles is to maintain the appearance of objectivity and propriety, which I thought anyone would realize, but perhaps you needed to take a class in journalism to get that point. And as for Coppola wine, I can't tell you how irritating and unprofessional it is for Dr. Z to devote a third of his column to a product that has nothing at all to do with sports, so yes, I'm pretty consistent about my beliefs and my understanding of journalistic ethics.
Posted: 2:02 AM, July 11, 2006   by Hoss
Well, i should say that my favorite is '90 and 360. Air max '90 together with air jordan IV was the first time I fell in love with Nike Air...it was the first time that shoe design was brought to another level, a totall
revolution in shoe design industry...the design, the comfort...the look...just like a goddes from heaven. This might not make sense to a lot of people but shoe lovers know what I am talking about! Arash, I loved your story. Keep up the good work. Oh, and I still don't have 360. I think it is a little too expensive.
Posted: 1:15 PM, July 12, 2006   by cddubbs2000
Love you blog man. All of it. Keep doing your thing. I'm a sneakere afficionado myself but try to keep myself in check. I definitely feel your love for the Max '95. My son who's only 6 went to the Shoe store the other day. I tried to get him a pair of AF1 but he didn't want them and picked up the Air Max 95's and said he liked this pair better. Brought a tear to my eye(LOL). What can I say he has good taste. And like you said this is a blog. Nothing serious. If you don't like it simply click on a different link. Oh yeah, GO TEAM NIKE for all the Nike haters.
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