All You Need to Know About the Women’s Air Max 97

Nike has produced many bright, creative, and innovative shoes that are popular with women all over the world. One such product is the new women’s version of the Air Max 97.

Don’t let its looks fool you. Although all versions of the Women’s Air Max 97 look fantastic, they can also be useful to many different types of people in a variety of lifestyles. For example, they can be used for running, streetwear, and high-fashion looks. 

What makes the Women’s Air Max 97s so special? Why do so many people rave about them and collect their many different color combinations?

Glad you asked. This article will seek to answer those questions, and more, as we look at everything you need to know about the design of the Air Max 97 and review six of the shoe’s most popular color combinations.

The History of Air Max 97

Before we talk about the current renditions of the Air Max 97, let’s look at the history of this iconic sneaker. In fact, we travel back in time to beyond the first AM97, back to the popular Air Max 95.

In the mid-1990s, the big trend in what is commonly called the sneaker industry was in basketball shoes. Basketball was “hot” and trendy in many markets, which led to the invention of basketball-related items to take advantage of the sports’ popularity.

Nike jumped into the arena of basketball sneakers and had success there. However, Nike recognized a need for footwear in other industries besides basketball. This led to the design of the Air Max 95. 

Specifically, Nike wanted to appeal more to the running crowd, so they started looking for designers that could design a running shoe that kept up with the hype of other shoes released around the time. After some looking Nike chose Sergio Lozano to design the AM95. Lozano had done previous work for Nike.

Sergio’s inspiration for the shoe design was the many shapes of the human body. The laces were inspired by the shape of the human ribs. The outsole was inspired by the shape of the spine.

To match the bold design, the sneaker’s material had to “pop.” The Air Max 95 was originally made from synthetic suede that was carefully crafted and molded to be compressed for maximum support and comfort. 

male and female runners

Picking The Air Max 97 Designer

By 1997, there was a lot going on in the sneaker industry as well as with Air Max sneakers. New trends with shoes were being released seemingly every season, so Nike knew they had to find a way to keep up somehow. To make things more complicated for Nike, they just started releasing Air Max shoes a few years prior featuring their new and never-before-seen air cushioning technology. They knew they had to find a designer to craft the perfect shoe with even better air cushioning units that running fans and sneakerheads would love. 

This is when designer Christian Tresser arrived on the scene. Taking inspiration from unlikely sources, Tresser had been designing shoes for years before Nike hired him to take on the AM97. Nike liked his different style and how he could convey an entire story just with a pair of shoes. He was soon hired and quickly got to work on the design. 

The Release of the Air Max 97

Fans were looking forward to the release of the Air Max 97 especially with how well the AM95’s did. Many people wanted to see what new innovations Nike could bring to the footwear industry, so hopes were high for this pair. Fans were definitely not disappointed when the sneaker was released in 1997 and it seemed as though Christian Tresser’s hard work was appreciated by people all over the world. 

The upper part of the Air Max 97 was inspired by the patterns found in nature. Tresser wanted to try to recreate what it looked like when water falls onto a pond, so he added subtle curves to the shoe in order to create that perfect ripple effect. He also started with a darker color towards the top that faded into a lighter color as the upper met the air cushioning unit.

To make this sneaker even more iconic, he decided to feature the first color combination as a silver color. This paid homage to silver bullet trains as well as the silver components featured on mountain bikes that were popular at the time.

To fans, the idea of a shoe inspired by nature and speed was more than enough for them to purchase a pair. The Air Max 97 quickly became one of the most popular pairs of sneakers in Nike’s history for children, men, and women. 

Nike Air Max 97

2017: The Air Max 97’s 20th Anniversary

If there’s one thing you should know about Nike, it’s that they like to celebrate. Whether its milestones, anniversaries or historical events, you can usually bet on Nike to release a shoe to commemorate it.

This is especially the case for the AM97, which is one of Nike’s most popular shoes it ever produced.

When 2017 rolled around, Nike wanted to rerelease and pay homage to the legendary shoe  that rocked the footwear industry 20 years prior. Although not as popular as the original, the retro 97 brought back many memories and gave fans a lot to look forward to. The nostalgic feeling of the silver, black, and red colors gave people something to remember. 

The reissue of the sneaker was unquestionably successful, but it didn’t quite gain its traction for the same reasons as it had in the first release. A large demographic of fans brought the shoe into the spotlight again and helped give it the hype it deserves — and those fans are women. 

women shopping in Nike store

How Women Made The AM97 Popular Again

Women from all over the world are a big reason why the AM97 gained popularity. Many women seek out new designs for their shoes to add to their collections. In 2017, some of the current fashion trends were retro designs and chunky items, including jewelry, shoes, clothing, etc. The Air Max 97 fit perfectly in those trends with its retro design and sleek, bold look.

Women loved this shoe. Many women found that this sneaker not only looked amazing, but could be worn with many different outfits. There were social media posts of women displaying their favorite outfits while wearing their AM97s. These were not just recreation scenes. There were photos in a luxury setting, streetwear category and everyday wear.

 It seemed that women made the AM97 a part of their daily routine, and Nike loved to see the creativity that women had while wearing the shoe. 

What The Future Holds For The Air Max 97

What does the future hold for the Air Max 97? Many fans have speculated that the Air Max 97 will be seen again in 2022 to mark the model’s 25th anniversary. Many hope to see even more colorways and want to be able to grab a pair this time around, as many renditions of the 20th anniversary edition sold out.

Fans are also hoping the sneaker will be officially expanded into women’s footwear, especially since women played such a large role in the success of the 20th anniversary AM97. Placing an emphasis on women’s inclusivity, we can expect to see many more colorways released for women in the near future.

What can be certain is that Nike will make sure the fans won’t be disappointed.

Six Most Popular Colorways of Women’s AM97

There are many different color combinations — known in the sneaker industry as “colorways” — that have been released for the women’s Air Max 97. Let’s take a closer look at six of the most popular.

Black and White

One of the most popular colorways of the women’s AM97s is black and white. This color combination matches with everything and can be worn with a variety of different outfits, so it’s a classic that many women have in their collections.

Black is featured on the upper, around the Nike swoosh, inside the shoe, on the tongue, and inside the air cushioning unit. White contrasts are placed on the midsole, outsole, heel, and bottom of the shoe. The Nike swooshes featured on the tongue and outer panel of the shoe are also white.

If you are looking to add a classic color combination to your collection, you can snag a pair of these low-top sneakers starting at $212.39 on Amazon.

Black and White
Photo source:


Pink, Cream and White

Pink is another favorite color in many women’s collections. Whether it the star of an outfit or the perfect accent to a fashion statement, this particular color combination of AM97 has been very popular with the ladies.

This sneaker features a white base on the midsole, outsole, tongue, and inside the shoe. The air cushioning unit is also white.

Different shades of pink and cream can be seen on the different ripples of the shoe, around the upper and quarter panels. There is also a pink ring outline underneath the white laces, which makes the laces look like they are melting into the shoe and allows the pink hue to take over.

This Air Max 97 is sophisticated but not too much to bear, which is one of the many reasons for its popularity. If you’re interested in this colorway, you can snag a pair starting at $295.00 on Amazon.

Pink Cream and White women's Nike Air Max 97
Photo Source: 97

Black and University Red

Another popular and classic color combination for the women’s AM97s is the Black and University Red colorway. This pair is different because the shoe is made of more than just the synthetic suede the original 97 was made out of. It is made out of synthetic leather and a mesh material as well.

The leather can be found on portions of the upper, midsole, and heel. The mesh portions can be found on the side paneling as well as woven in between leather on the upper by the classic AM97 wave stripes.

The base color of this sneaker is black, appearing on the upper, toe box, heel, midsole, tongue, inside, and bottom of the sneaker. Red leather can be seen as a perfectly placed accent stripe on the beginning of the upper. The Nike swoosh is also red, which offers a pop of color to the sneaker. The air cushioning unit is a darker grey color, with red on the inside to create depth and contour for the sneaker.

This sneaker is perfect for you if you’re looking to expand the darker colorways in your sneaker collection or if you’re looking for the perfect red and black shoe. You can get a pair of these sneakers starting at $155.03 on Amazon.

black and university red


Black and Red/Yellow Plaid

Another one of our top colorways is the black and red/yellow plaid colorway. Although this may not be everyone’s first choice in sneakers, it offers a unique pattern that is hard to find with other pairs. This shoe is made out of a variety of materials that offers more depth and texture, including faux velvet, synthetic leather, and synthetic suede.

The base color of this shoe is black, which can be seen on the upper, outsole, midsole, toe box, tongue, and inside/bottom of the sneaker. The yellow and black plaid is featured on the side panel outlining the black Nike swoosh on both the inside and outside of each sneaker. You can find the red and black plaid on the wave-like stripes of the sneaker, exchanged with black to create an even color distribution of plaid and black among both shoes. The air cushioning unit itself is clear, and the architecture inside the sneaker is black as well.

If you’re interested in adding a unique pair of Air Max 97s to your collection, you can find this colorway on Amazon starting at $209.00.

black, and red yellow plaid
Photo Source: Amazon


Blue Tie Dye, Red and White

Our fifth top pick is the blue tie dye, red, and white women’s Air Max 97. This pair is both popular and unique because of the different patterns throughout the shoe that make the blue and red colors pop.

The blue tie dye pattern is a thick stripe right above the outsole of the shoe that wraps itself all the way around the sneaker. Red can be seen as a thin stripe above the blue that also goes all the way around the sneaker.  You will also find red inside the air cushioning unit and the Nike swoosh on the tongue. The rest of this shoe is a bright white color that perfectly sets a base for the other colors and patterns.

This unique colorway on the AM97 make a perfect statement piece in your collection, and can be found for $184 on Champs Sports’ website. You can check it out here.

blue tie dye, red and white
Photo Source: Champs Sports


Gold, White, and Black

The gold, white, and black colorway is the last women’s AM97 sneaker we are featuring. This sneaker is truly a showstopper.

The two gold stripes that encircle the shoe are perfectly accented by the glittery gold base color on the rest of the upper and midsole. The gold color on the upper and midsole almost appears three dimensional, in part due to the black underneath the gold. This was designed add more depth to the sneaker’s color palette so the gold colors would not be overwhelming and appear flat to the human eye.

You can find black on the tongue of the shoe as well as the stripe right around the ankle and outlining the Nike swoosh. The air cushioning unit is also black, as is the bottom of the shoe. One white stripe can be seen as the sole color of the outsole and midsole.

This shoe can be worn for any occasion, whether as part of the daily attire or when dressing up for an evening out. If you’re interested in getting your hands (and feet) on a pair of these sneakers, you can find them here for $180.00 on Champs Sports’ website. 

gold black and white shoe
Photo source:



There are a lot of positive things to be said about the women’s Air Max 97 sneakers. Making their most popular appearance in 2017 for the 20th anniversary of the OG AM97s, you can find just about any colorway that you want.

The retro style fits perfectly with many different outfits, and you’re surely going to turn heads no matter which pair you wear. This likely won’t be the last time we see the women’s AM97s either, as this is one of the most popular shoes that Nike has released. 

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