It was the 1950s and at the University of Oregon an idea willing to change the footwear industry forever was being born. The emergence of Nike has radically transformed the way we view athletic apparel, sowing the seeds of what would later become a phenomenon and a vast community led by the legendary Swoosh.
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The word ‘Air’ precedes many of the sneaker models that have been determinants in Nike’s legacy. These three letters have become a badge of innovation for the industry and a demonstration of the brand’s leadership in terms of technological experimentation. Nike Air was born from the mind of Marion ‘Frank’ Rudy, an aeronautical engineer with no connection to Nike at the time of its creation. Rudy had been experimenting with new ways to contain inert gases within rubber membranes when he had the idea of launching their latest innovations to the footwear market. He met with several sports clothing brands and was received with an almost unanimous rejection, until he finally met with those responsible for Nike. Once Phil Knight put the new cushioning technology to the test, everything changed. Phil knew it was too good of an idea to pass up. Nike quickly introduced the technology that we now know as the original Air Tailwind. Researchers from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville tested and found that runners used less energy when wearing the Air. Nike’s design team introduced the new technology into almost every footwear proposition throughout the 1980s. For a great part of its first decade on the scene, Nike Air was exclusively concerned with cushioning that could be felt, but not seen. The air bubbles came in all shapes and sizes, but they were always hidden within the midsole. It was in 1987, with the launch of the Air Max 1, that the concept of visible air was born. Inspired by the exposed design of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Tinker Hatfield opted to cut off a portion of the midsole to show the revolutionary cushioning in action. The introduction of the visible Air was almost more significant than the Nike Air. It was a drastic design decision that injected a new level of innovation in the, up until then, homogeneous sneaker design. As with the introduction of Nike Air, the Visible Air quickly began to appear in all types of footwear under the Nike umbrella. In the following years, Nike designers began to increase the number of air windows that were incorporated, as well as the size of them. In 1995, the Air Max 95 arrived, which took Nike Air to the next level thanks to the inclusion of a visible air chamber in the forefoot. Nike also introduced the Zoom Air that same year. The first decade of 2000 would bring us the Air Max 360, whose sole had thermoformed airbags covered by thermoplastic injection that significantly improved stability. But it would not be until the launch of the Air VaporMAx in the run-up to Air Max Day 207 when Nike Air would truly change the game completely once more. The VaporMax and its successors were built on the concept of full foot visible air to the highest level, eliminating the need for a secondary rubber layer and introducing a new level of flexibility. Let’s hope this bubble never bursts.
In the official Nike store at Clazzy Sneakers, you can dive among a vast ocean of limited edition products, iconic models and exclusive items from collaborations with artists, designers and brands. From the most representative silhouettes, such as Nike Air Max 1, Nike Air Force 1 or Nike Air Max 97, to essential clothing items and unique accessories, at Clazzy Sneakers you can buy Nike with the security of being aware of the latest collections and the brand’s newest launches.
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