To celebrate the Air Max Day, Outpump has combined 4 big international sneakers experts, not only to know how they are experiencing this moment but also to know how their passion is started. Enjoy the interviews.
How was your air max love born?
I’ve always been in love with visible air, my first model was the 1993 Air Max Force (basketball shoe with 270 visible Air unit), then i got a pair of ’91 “Marina” Air Max (a.k.a BW) thanks tom family. Back in the days nice shoes were expensive, Air Max especially, so i’ve just looked at them in the stores and on people’s feet until i started to work here and there.
Speaking of OGs i remember that i was particularly happy when i was able to cop the ’99 Air Max Tuned, still a favorite of mine. I’ll give you some Air Max’s awards right now: best ever ’94 Air Max 2, worst ’99 Air Max Plus, best collab Patta Corduroy. Generally speaking i like all the pre ’99 models better to be honest.
Since you are in the game for a long time now: would you have ever expected such a huge technological evolution in the sneaker’s word? Especially for the Air Max?
I’ve started to fall in love with sneakers at the end of the 80’s, when i was just a middle school’s kid. Back then we were starting to understand that something were changing in the tennis shoes world; all the big brands invested in technology to help athletes get better performances (the Air system was introduced in 1979) booklets used to show how all those improved sneakers worked but other than that you weren’t really able to see what was going on inside your brand new shoe.
So to me the real turning point was the 1987 Air Max, even if they weren’t the first sneaker to show what was hyde inside of them. At the end of the 70s Adidas introduced the “Vario Shock Absorption” system, a technology that allowed athletes to change cushion depending on their weight (the LA Trainer is one good example). The second step was the extremely complex 1985 A.P.S.: a screw system that was able to change the sole rigidity and was visible from a small window under the heel.
Finally the ‘87 Air Max and all the visible Air model after them such as the Air Jordan III, the Air Trainer SC, the Air Stab, The Air Tech Challenge, the forgotten Air Max Light and all the of the following ones were the real game changers, tech and commercially wise.
Making the Air visible wasn’t a performance improvement but Nike communication’s approach was out of this world. This move emphasize their technology more than anything making it even more fascinating. Marketing and design was on the exact same level.
In the following years all the other brands felt the need to show off their technologies, this drove them to change their approach to designing, manufacturing and promoting all of their products. This process often developed new technologies and revolutionized performance sneakers just because of a marketing war between the brands.
A great example of this fact is the actual release of the Nike Vapormax: technology, material and aesthetics are pushed over the existing limiti and are fuse together. This is beautiful!
This 2017 Air Max Day could be remembered as one of the best ever thank to Nike Marketing strategy: What is your take on this one? and what release amazed you the most?
This is just the fourth official Air Max Day, the richest in terms of new products and retro releases for sure, but in my opinion still incomplete and poor historically wise. I’m keep seeing the old same “mistaken Air cushion” displays all over the places, wrong names like the Air “MAX” 180 and lots of great models just forgotten like the Lights and the BWs.
As usual marketing over knowledge. Having said all of this the release which has most surprised me is the OG Air Max 1, the only complain i have is the box a bit different from the real OG one. Another detail that i would have appreciate to see is the “W” associates with the Royals; in fact the first Royal was a woman exclusive colorway. By the way all the new release are really well executed and i have to say “finally” after all these dark years.
We all know that the “older” sneaker head are always scared by Nike remaking OG models, especially because they don’t want to see mistaken details on the newer shoes. Nike often came out with totally unexpected hybrid models, what is your position on this?
When i was younger i used to have an harder approach, almost always against Hybrids and “creative remakes” of historical models. With the time i’ve changed my point of view just a little and some times i appreciate this type of operation if they bring something good and interesting to the game.
Speaking of brands approach on the remastered projects i think that they should take a little more care about details for the most important models. It’s just a matter of priority: if they want to use the exact same materials and give the exact same shape to a shoe they can easily do it, the just need to really want it.
Where does Nike disappoint you most in the last years?
Last year i was expecting a 25th anniversary edition of the Air Max 180, such a great and important sneaker! Maybe even with a brand new innersole, an Air bag as big as the original and the OG silver box.
For this year i would have loved to see an unicorn called “Prototype 1986”… but maybe i’m just asking way too much.
This Air Max Day is making us finding out that there are still lots of Nike enthusiast and especially Air Max lovers. What do you thing about this trending fashion waves drove by brands marketing strategy?
I don’t think that Nike needs to be rediscovered but this years’s event has captured more attention than others in the past for sure.
Answering the second part of the question i just think that trends are everywhere, it just depends on people’s attitude; some buy, wear a couple weeks and resell.. i can’t do that, when i buy something is just because i love that item, i wear it, i stock it, i accumulate tons of stuff and it will forever be like this. To be quite honest everyone can do whatever he wants to do, if i’ll ever be sick of this world i’ll just end it up selling everything maybe.
What do you expect from Nike in the next years? Is there any cool project or interesting collaboration that you would like see on the shelves?
It could take a week just to answer this question. I’ll just say that i would be truly happy to see really interesting new products. Less high fashion collaborations and stick to the origins.
How did your sneakers’ passion start and which was the first sneaker you bought?
It started back in the late 80’s and early 90’s, mainly influenced by hip hop and the neighborhood hustlers, you wanted to wear the shit that they where rocking. Cause they would get all the girls and attention.
In your opinion, how did the sneakergame change compared to ten years ago?
Like I said I started way back before the hype and such I come from a time where it was impossible to get in the club with sneakers on, so yes things changed drastically over the years. But that is a normal process I think.
Among various partnerships with Nike, what was the collaboration you enjoyed the most? Can you explain us its production process?
The collaboration between Patta, Umbro and Favela street. This because it was never about money but about helping other people. In this case we sponsored an all girl football tournament in the Favela of Brazil. For me projects like these bring me actual joy because you can see the appreciation of the people you help, and that is what it is all about. Like our slogan says, Patta got love for all.
How does the Air Max 1 is connected to your store? Can you tell us the story of the Birth of the first partnerships with Nike?
The air max 1 is connected with Amsterdam, back in the days was the number 1 hustler shoe. It had such an impact on the city and that’s the reason that this is an important shoe for us. Since we had the opportunity to do a collaboration with Nike for us it was only logic that the first collaboration would be an Air max 1.
What kind of silhouette did you vote for in the “Air Max 2016 Vote Back” contest? Why?
I didn’t vote because to me there is never one shoe that stands out, I like several shoes. So how can I pick one?
As we know the Air Max 1 OG, the Master and the recently Atmos have been sold in a very limited quantity making the resell power more stronger. What do you think about it?
I think Nike is a company driven to make profit and if hype helps with profit it would be stupid not to do it. And the resell thing is not about the resellers, because everybody tries to make a buck and it is all good, and I would always support a hustle. The morons who buy for the resellers for ridiculous prices these people ruin the market. because if they would not pay this ridiculous amount of money the reseller has nothing to sell.
Have you got any projects for the future? Are you going to partner again with Nike in the next few years?
We sure do. We sure will.
Why Air Max in particular? It seems a trivial question but we would like to know what led you to choose this sneaker.
Why Air Max? When I started to wear Nike again in early 2000, I saw everywhere Air Max 90’s and 1 since I lived in Holland.
How did hype around the sneakergame change? This month it has nearly achieved insanity, what do you think about it?
Yes, the sneakergame has deeply changed. In fact in my time there wasn’t camping or raffles and so there weren’t so many sneakerheads and collectors. On the contrary, nowadays there are many people who love sneakers and so all the resellers go crazy.
We know you have a big Air Max 1 collection. Which one is your favorite? And which one was the most difficult to find?
My favorite Air Max is the “Albert Heijns”, no comment needed. My Air Max weren’t difficult to find because, as I said before, the sneaker’s scene wasn’t what it is now.
What do you think about the last releases? Is there anything in particular that has raised your interest?
I really like the Nikelab Pinnacles Air Max 1, I love its premium and soft leather.
This year the shape that was so much requested is finally back. Are you satisfied of the result or do you think that it was an unsuccessful attempt?
In my opinion it has been done a good work, the shape is good. But for example, the nose of the Black Master’s of Air is not so good (but I think this was before the new change). Instead, the Elephants’s nose is good.
How did you experience the Atmos release?
There were 40/50 people camping in front of the store for 2 days. They were hectic and I didn’t have pairs enough to satisfy everyone. It’s been a while since I saw people camp in front of the store.
Which Air Max day release has impressed you the most?
In my opinion, the “Elephant” is the best release of the Air Max day.
Let’s start with an usual question, How and when did your passion for this silhouette begin?
In 2010 I started to buy Nike again, because in 2008 a thief took away the ones I was wearing, then casually I found an amazing purple Safari Air Max 1, the silhouette, the air capsule, the comfort, the color! Wow I remember that at that time there were colorful sneakers but nothing like the Safari.
That same day I bought an Air Max Light OG, and from then on I haven’t stopped buying.
What did you feel when you bought your first Air Max?
I’ve always been excited when I get new Air Max, but what I feel now and what I felt in 2010 is totally different. When I bought the Safari and the OG I was very happy because I would have the newest and the most comfortable sneaker. But since 3 years ago I started to be more passionate for getting the Air Max that would become coveted, so much that I have to stay in the shops queuing for hours and even days to get it.
It’s insane! Now is like my dreams come true, for example, for several years I couldn’t get out of my mind the 90 Duck Camo until I got it last year ¡Pum! Now I wear it all the time , it’s great to be able to use something in what you always thought.
Can you explain us what this particular silhouette represents for you?
Represents dreams, experiences, friendships, the way I live and how I enjoy everything that happens to me.
Air Max are my flag!
In your huge collection, there is an Air Max that makes you say “this is my favorite”? Why?
Mmm by experience I think that would be the Bespoke that I made last year, not anyone design their own sneakers.
By desire I think that the Duck Camo is the chosen, my intention was always to pay a fair price for Air Max eventhough I paid 920 dollars for them . It was a folly! However the Air Max 1 SUPREME is awersome, is fabulous! Animal’s hair makes it so extravagant, it’s inevitable not to use it!! If I could ever buy another one I wouldn’t doubt, it totally reflects my personality.
We realize from your social networks that you are part of the “Masters of the Air”, that you were invited to Portland and spoke personally with Mr. Tinker Haltfield. What was your experience? What does you feel to be an Air Master?
I should say that I met Tinker in Mexico in 2015, it was incredible. His personality is so friendly and fresh that there’s no time for questions is the opposite, he talk about experiences, emotions, the future, his life … many things! In Portland, he was the same friendly and cool guy but my opinion about him changed. I was the only “Master of the Air” that I already knew him, and seeing everyone else with a face of disbelief, emotion and admiration was majestic. At that time I realized that he isn’t ” Tinker the sneakers designer”, he is THE GOD OF AIR MAX!
Being part of the “Air Masters” has been the best experience of my life. I am living the dream that I never imagined would be fulfilled. Have you ever imagined that your favorite sports brand will notice you? As it happened to me, I never thought that my passion for Air Max would take me to where I’m now and that from there I would find a new family that shares and loves sneakers, like me, all over the world.
Nike changed my life.
How will you celebrate the anniversary of Air Max 1?
I send to make an ID that I will use at the party that Nike Mexico is arranging which will be crazy. As a reference, last year Air Max Day party had more than 700 people. And in recognition of my passion, Nike will be putting on an exhibition at the party with my 100 favorite Air Max pairs.
This is the last question, What do you expect from Nike soon?
In my opinion the Air Max 1 were out of time in 1987 therefore I hope they continue to innovate now with the Vapor Max to mark the lives of new followers, collectors and all the people of the world looking for an experience and not just comfort.
And as you know, we will return to live in an era in which the Air Max 87 will be the sneakers that everyone will want to have.