This is actually not the original name. Air Max 90s were released as the Air Max III, and it was only in 2000 when they were re-released that they became the 90s.
The original ones were introduced with a white, black and light grey upper, which really showed off how thin the sole was.
The window was just slightly larger than in the 87s and set a slight bit more forward in the sole. It wasn’t really a huge radical shift like those that came in 1990 with wrap around heel window, but there was a lot more attention drawn to the fact that the air cushion was larger than most people thought.
Introducing Some Colour
In the original version, the side section of the sole with the window was coloured in “infrared” to draw even more attention to the area. This exaggerated the appearance of the air cushion, making it look larger than it actually was.
Some people actually argue whether it was the Air Max or Jordan’s that first did this, but does it really matter? It looks pretty sick.
Designed For Performance
Also designed by Tinker Hatfield, there was a bit more focus on adding some performance. The upper materials were made of mesh and synthetic leather. This didn’t just make them very breathable to reduce sweating, but a lot lighter than the 87s were.
For runners this was very good progress, and just as a fashion statement, they were cool enough to be accepted into the hip hop world.
It’s very much a classic old-school sneaker design, and because it’s still so popular, you’ll notice that there are constantly new versions and colour schemes being released. This includes some that were inspired by the colour and terrain on Mars. Yes, I said Mars!
For me though, I like to stick with the real retro looking ones in either the original colour or the white, black and blue.
You’re now truly in the golden age of hip hop and rap music. Public Enemy released Fear of a Black Planet, Ice Cube came out with AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted, and believe it or not, Vanilla Ice was just launching his career.
I remember the early 90s and seeing more rap videos on MTV along with a dedicated show called Yo MTV Raps. Great times and great memories!
And more and more Nike sneakers became the fashion icons for hip hop artists.