Air Max Day 2023, by Edmund Mallari

by teamgoodlife.

The allure of vintage and retro sneakers lies in their timeless designs and the nostalgic memories they evoke. For many, the Nike Air Max line holds a special place in their hearts. 

I am no exception.

I first became interested in these iconic sneakers when I saw a pair on a friend in elementary school as he busted it out in our school bus, changing sneakers for our Intramural Games. It was the OG Air Max 95 Neon. These were unlike anything I had ever seen before. As kids, we were heavily into basketball shoes as the Philippines was a basketball country, so these totally caught me off-guard with their sleek design and visible air bubbles.

At the time I was in 4th grade and had no idea what these were and no way to do research. Even basketball shoes had Air Max written on them and I thought anything with these “air bubbles” were Air Max. But that Neon Volt tint and Grey colour palette stuck with me ever since. I kept drawing them over and over on paper and they became an influence towards my future sneaker purchases. From then on, every year I’d see the Air Max 96 and 97 casually pop up on the public’s feet.

Fast forward to the mid-2000s. After doing some research on the “interwebs”, I discovered that the Air Max 1 was first released in 1987 and was designed by legendary Nike designer Tinker Hatfield. The shoe’s groundbreaking design featured the famous visible air unit in the heel, which was a game-changer for the sneaker industry at the time. (See Jordan III.)

One day I visited a friend in Manila, Edong whose collection was already a few hundred deep and had a bunch of different variations from the Air Max 1, 95s and 90s from Amsterdam’s, Urawa’s, Kaws and Kid Robot. But the Air Max 1’s stood out for me and from there I purchased my first pair which was a retro of the OG Air Max 1 Blue which was the start of my Air Max phase.

Over the years, I have owned several pairs of Air Max’s, (mostly GRs really) each with its own unique colourways and designs. Some memorable ones are the Air Max 1 Patta “Chlorophyll” created in partnership with the Amsterdam-based sneaker boutique, Patta which was surprisingly easy to purchase at the time as I strolled down to the store in Manila at 9 am and got one over a leisurely line. The Air Max 1 “Phantaci” Grand Piano, which I was lucky to get from a friend in Taiwan, is also one I like.

But my love for the line doesn’t stop at the Air Max 1’s. As I’ve gone down the rabbit hole I got into several other classic models, including the Air Max TN, Air Max 95 and its other iterations. Classics like the Air Max 97 “Silver Bullet” were staples and The Nike TN Free (which is a hybrid) was one of my favourite rare finds. I find the Air Max Scorpion nice too. Each of these sneakers has its own distinct history and design, and I truly enjoy learning about the stories behind each shoe.

Image A – Air Max 1 AMS Parra “Amsterdam” (Sneaker Jaggers)

Image B – Nike TN Free (Highnnobiety)

Image C – Air Max 1 Phantaci “Grand Piano” (Sneaker News)

Image D – Air Max 1 “Urawa” (Sweet Soles)

Inevitably my love for sneakers and the Air Max line has manifested through my art and design. From customizing shoes for friends to my own Air Max Moment with having been given the chance of creating art installations for Air Max Day (which is a global celebration of Nike’s iconic Air Max line of sneakers). 

Combining my love for sneakers with my art has been a fulfilling and creative outlet. It has always allowed me to express my perspective and style, while also celebrating the history and design of these iconic sneakers. It’s not just about wearing them or collecting them but also about incorporating them into my creative pursuits. Whether it’s creating or simply appreciating the aesthetic of the shoes, there is something truly special about the Air Max line.

In the end, my relationship with sneakers and the Air Max line is not just about the sneakers themselves, but also the passionate community and culture that surrounds them.

team goodlife. would like to thank Edmund Mallari for his take on the Nike Air Max.

Shop Air Max today.