This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the Nike Air Max BW, the shoes Moniker ‘Big Window’ is due to the enlarged visible air window. The OG colourway “Persian Violet” was released earlier this year, and the ‘City Pack’, a collection dedicated to European subcultures that were intrinsic with the BW, is dropping this month.
The Air Max BW may not have been as popular across the Atlantic as other Air Max silhouettes, however, the pair imagined by Tinker Hatfield had a resounding impact on underground culture across Europe.
Gabber started as a Dutch youth subculture, originating in Rotterdam in the early ‘90s. The subculture is recognisable through their music style, a hardcore, hard and fast music variant of within electronic dance music. As well as their aesthetic style, bald, blockhead or shaved hairstyles, tracksuits – L’Alpina was a favourite, and the Nike Air Max BW came to define the Gabber culture more deeply than any other sneaker of the time. So, it’s no surprise that Nike has decided to include a Rotterdam sneaker as part of their ‘City Pack’.
The BW was also a cornerstone of hip-hop culture in France, nicknamed the Air Max Classic, and has long taken up residence in the city of Lyon – renowned for its classicism, making it the city where hip-hop, funk and streetwear are the triptych of a whole generation in the ‘90s. To pay homage to this era, Nike have dedicated a variation of its BW to Lyon as part of its City Pack.
The silhouette continued to pop up across European subculture even after the ‘90’s. In the early 2000’s grime music came out of East London, gaining traction through pirate radio stations. Air Max was the preferred footwear, often silhouettes were renamed after their price point by London youth, the Air Max 95 became 110 due to costing £110. Dizzee Rascal’s 2003 debut album Boy In Da Corner is arguably the perfect representation of Air Max and grime, it was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2003, a huge milestone for grime music. The issues, situations, and reality of growing up in London were documented on the album, even down to what Dizzee Rascal was wearing: an all-black Nike tracksuit, black gloves, white socks and a pair of black leather Nike Air Max BWs.
The Air Max BW ‘City Pack’ releases online and in-store on Friday 12th November.
In the meantime you can shop Nike here.