Jump Into A Pair of the Nike Air Max 90 Sneakers

Black Nike AM 90

The Nike Air Max 90 is one of the most renowned and beloved pairs of sneakers that Nike has ever released. Starting in 1990, hence the ’90’ in the Air Max’s name, the shoe has been worn by runners, collected by sneakerheads, and everyone in-between. It is a classic shoe that is sure to remain for another 30 years or more. When people think of Nike shoes, they are likely to think of an Air Max style automatically- some not even knowing that what they’re thinking of is an Air Max- which shows just how popular the shoe is.

Today, we’ll dive into one of the most classic pairs of shoes Nike’s history has to offer, by uncovering its legendary history, looking at some of the most sought after colorways/styles of the shoe, and diving into the influences it had on pop culture through its history.

How The Air Max 90 Came To Be

Before examining different styles of the Air Max 90, we’ll do the sneaker justice by looking at how it came to fruition from concept to masterpiece.

The story really begins in 1981, when Nike hired Tinker Hatfield as a corporate architect. Hatfield wasn’t originally designing shoes for Nike, but rather designing buildings for Nike’s University of Oregon campus. At the time, Nike had been struggling as a business, due to the growth of other shoe competitors such as Adidas, New Balance, and Reebok. It wasn’t until 1985 that Tinker Hatfield was contracted to design sneakers for Nike that he really became known in the industry. 

This move may have made Nike appear as confused, however, because the sneakers that Hatfield crafted didn’t necessarily align with the official images of Nike as an emerging brand. Instead, Hatfield designed shoes that had bright pops of color and unique designs. But, this seemed to pay off for Nike. In 1987 the Air Max line was born, and exploded into one of the world’s most successful and well-known releases of sneakers to date.

By 1990, the first Air Max 90 was released, in a bright and innovative Infrared colorway that had never yet been seen before with sneakers. In addition to this new colorway, the Air Max 90 featured Air Max technology, where consumers could visibly see the cushioning of the Air Max sneaker. This appealed to a variety of people, including sneaker enthusiasts and those looking for a good running shoe that had style to it. The rest is seemingly history!

Some of the Most Popular Colorways and Styles of the Air Max 90

There are hundreds of different styles that the Air Max sneakers come in today. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular Air Max colorways by examining a pair that features each popular colorway.

Air Max 90 Triple Red

Nike’s Triple Red color is such a bright red, you’re surely never going to miss it if you see it on the street. Borrowing inspirations from Nike’s first colorway Infrared, the Air Max 90 Triple Red seeks to embellish the entirety of the shoe in rich red colors that are sure to be showstoppers anywhere you lay your eyes on them. 

From the red leather to the red laces, everything on this shoe is the classic monochrome Triple Red color, which is hugely popular in many of the Air Max 90 styles today. This colorway has been a staple for Nike’s Air Max line, and will probably continue to be used in sneakers for years to come.

Source: Goat.com

Air Max 90 Recraft Triple White

The Air Max 90 Recraft Triple White shoe features another one of Nike’s most popular colorways, Triple White. Similar to Triple Red but less vibrant, Triple White is a perfect color for those looking to add a simple yet sophisticated sneaker to their collection. 

Triple White has been around since the Air Max 90’s inception in 1990 and hasn’t left production facilities since. The Air Max 90 Recraft Triple White features a monochromatic Triple White colorway, with Triple White mesh, Triple White leather, laces, and even a Triple White outsole. 

Air Max 90 Smoke Grey

The Air Max 90 Smoke Grey shoe has a multitude of different grey tones, as opposed to the two other classic colorways we’ve looked at so far which have been more monochromatic. In its early days, the Smoke Grey color gave a never before seen depth to the Air Max shoe. It included black, waffled bottoms, dark smoke grey suede uppers, and a lighter smoke grey mesh and laces to really help it pop.

The smoke grey colorway has infused itself into many other colorways of the Air Max line and continues to have a profound influence in the sneaker world.

Air Max 90 Black Lime Ice

The Air Max 90 Terrascape Black Lime Ice sneaker is a newer version of the Air Max 90 with a twist. Being a more sustainable sneaker, consumers like it because of the waffle bottoms that identify the sneaker as being made with recycled materials. Who doesn’t like a shoe that looks cool and also saves the Earth, right?

This Air Max colorway has contrasting colors of black and lime ice throughout. The sneakers upper is the black color, while the heel and the bottoms take on the Lime Ice color, which is described as being a very light green that is pleasing to the eye. And while the Air Max cushion technology is normally a lighter color, it is a darker black color on this sneaker.

Air Max 90 Hyper Royal

The Air Max 90 Hyper Royal was released in 2020 and is loved by many because of the bright splashes of hyper royal blue throughout. This sneaker features a white and royal blue sole, and black and particle grey upper, combined with white mesh and laces. It is a style that is highly sought after by many sneaker enthusiasts.

One consumer review spoke highly of the quality material the Air Max 90 Hyper Royal was made out of, with a lightness and comfortability factor that is pleasant and not too airy. So if you’re looking for a shoe that has a bright colorway, this shoe is for you! If you don’t prefer the bright hyper royal splashes of color, you may like one of the other monochromatic colorways we talked about above.

Men's Air Max 90 SE Deep Royal/University Red

by Nike 

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02/18/2024 08:43 am GMT

Rarest and Most Iconic Pairs of the 90

Over the more than 30 years of the Air Max 90’s existence, there have been hundreds of different color combinations and pairs of shoes have been released. Let’s take a look at some of the most iconic and most sought-after pairs of this Nike Air Max.

Nike Air Max 90 St. Patrick’s Day Sneaker

Released in March of 2021, the St. Patrick’s Day Air Max 90 is one of the most iconic 90’s released to date. Hence the name, this sneaker features clover graphics on the mudguard of the shoe with other splashes of pine green and mean green throughout. The sneaker also features a white swoosh and partially white upper to balance out all of the green.

Originally set at a retail price of $130, this mystical shoe has sold for over $180 on retailers like StockX and eBay. Maybe the luck this shoe gives off will help you get your hands on a pair!

Infrared Air Max 90

The Infrared Air Max 90s are arguably the rarest and most iconic pair of Air Maxes out there. In fact, this is the first pair of the Air Max 90s that were ever released, paving the way for a future of innovation and success for Nike. 

This pair featured designer Tinker Hatfield’s signature Infrared color on portions of the heel, upper, and midsole. Other colors included white, black, and dark smoke grey on the laces, mudguard, and rest of the upper and midsole. This sneaker originally sold for $110 when it came out in 1990, and is difficult to find now for anywhere under $1,000. Since then, the signature Infrared colorway has been found on many other pairs of Nike sneakers. 

Dave’s Quality Meats Bacon Air Max 90

The story behind this collaboration is truly iconic. In 2003, Dave Ortiz opened a boutique he called “Dave’s Quality Meats”. Inspired by one of the local New York butchers, he’d package his products to customers as if they were buying cuts of meat. Eventually, Nike took note and offered to collaborate with him, and the bacon-themed Air Max 90 was born.

This sneaker features red suede on the mudguard, pink on the swoosh, laces, and heel, as well as lighter and darker beige colors throughout the rest of the shoe to give classic bacon feel. If you’re looking to buy an original edition of this rare shoe, you’ll have to shell out at least $1,000 for it.

Nike Air Max 90 Warhawk

The Nike Air Max 90 Warhawk is another rare and iconic pair of 90s. The Warhawk was named and drew inspiration from the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, which was a fighter plane used by the United States Army in World War II. This pair stands out so much because of its unique design. Probably the most noticeable feature is the shark teeth design on the midsole and mudguard. The rest of the shoe resembles the colors of the P-40 fighter plane including tan, brown, and bright orange. 

This shoe originally retailed for $110 when it was released in 2007. Now, fans have purchased an original pair for up to $8,000.

Source: Stockx.com

Nike Air Max 90 Duck Camo

The Nike Air Max 90 Duck Camo sneaker was born out of a collaboration with clothing brand atmos for a fun, camouflaged design on a sneaker. The shoe sports a leather camouflaged mudguard and overlays, mixed with black and white throughout. It is also so iconic because of the incorporation of the Infrared portions of the upper, tongue, and portions of the heel. 

Originally released in 2013, there was a re-release of this shoe in 2020 right in time for Nike’s annual Air Max Day. At first, this pair sold for $170. Now, you can grab the original pair for anywhere from $300-600 off select websites. 

Homegrown Air Max 90

The Air Max 90 ‘Homegrown’ is another one of the rarest and most classic pairs of Air Maxes in existence. It all started in 2006, when Nike reached out to Dutch streetwear boutique Patta. Nike wanted to have a shoe that featured a traditional take on Dutch streetwear and their hip-hop culture, and thus the Homegrown was born. 

The colorway of the Homegrown features a bright green tone all throughout the shoe, except for the white midsole and the bright orange laces and inside of the shoe. This pair originally sold for $290 when it was released in 2006, and has since been sold for up to thousands of dollars online. 

Men's Air Max Terrascape 90 Black/Dark Grey-Lime Ice

by Nike 

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02/18/2024 08:39 am GMT

The Air Max 90 Crepe

The Air Max 90 Crepe is a little bit of a different sneaker than we’ve looked at so far. This one looks exactly how you’d imagine it to look like- a crepe! While not literally made out of crepes, this 90 features more earthy tones throughout, including cream, light gray, white, and tan colors. It also has a pop of blue on the outside of the tongue and the visible Air Max technology.

The Crepe was originally released in 2004, and is very rare to find in its original first edition. 

Source: Uproxx.com

The Hufquake Air Max 90

The Hufquake Air Max 90 is one of the most iconic collaboration shoes that Nike has produced, which is why it earns a spot on our list. It all started in 2006, when Nike reached out to newfound skateboard brand HUF to collaborate on a series of sneakers. HUF agreed, and the Hufquake Air Max 90 was born.

This Air Max has a unique colorway to it, which is why it’s so well-loved by fans. It features spots of blue on the midsole, upper, and heel with white accents in the same places. The real show stopper is the silver/black crackle design that is signature to the HUF x Nike collaboration all over the upper and mudguard of the shoe. Original editions of this shoe sell for as much as $1,000 online.

Air Max 90 x KAWS Sneakers

Our last feature for the most iconic and rare Nike Air Max 90 sneakers is their collaboration with Brooklyn-based artist KAWS. KAWS’s style is figurative, animated characters with a street style added to them. Nike reached out to KAWS in 2008 for collaboration and two styles of sneakers were created as a result.

The first colorway is called the KAWS White Volt, and features bright white all throughout the shoe’s midsole, upper, mudguard, heel, and tongue. The White Volt also features neon green bottoms, laces, and stitching throughout to really give it a Volt feel. 

The second colorway is the KAWS Black Volt. It features the same exact bright green stitching and laces outlines, with everything else being a rich midnight black color. These two pairs of sneakers contrast each other beautifully and have been icons in the sneaker world for years since its release. 

Source: Stockx.com

Influences It Had On Pop Culture Through History

The Nike Air Max 90 has been an icon in more than just the sneaker world since its first inception in 1990. Let’s take a look at some influences the Air Max 90 has had on pop culture throughout history.

Music Artists Adore Them

The hundreds of sleek, unique colorways that the Air Max 90s have released through time make them great for celebrity appeal, especially when it comes to music artists. One of the most important things to a music artists is their identity and how they are represented. Sneakers in hip-hop culture especially are a huge deal. Here are just some of the music artists that have worn Air Max 90s in the past and currently:

  • Rihanna
  • Usher
  • Kanye West
  • Drake
  • Rita Ora

Countless Brand Collaborations

Another influence that the Air Max line has had on pop culture is brand collaborations. There have been multiple different brand collaborations Nike has done over the years since the start of the Air Max 90. From fashion designers to music artists to athletes to other brands, there’s sure to be one collaboration that fans love. It doesn’t look like the collaborations are slowing down anytime soon, either. 

Runners Love Training With Them

Whether you’re an avid runner or go for a jog every once in a while, there’s sure to be a pair of the Nike Air Max 90s for you. Multiple designs of the Air Max 90s feature waffled bottoms, which are perfect for outside running. The waffled bottoms allow for the perfect amount of traction without being too sticky, making Air Maxes a choice for many runners.


There’s no doubt that the Air Max 90 has its permanent place in classic sneaker history. From its iconic beginnings to the continuing of an excellent sneaker more than 30 years later, there’s probably no one that hasn’t heard of or seen a Nike Air Max 90. From iconic pairs to classic colorways, we hope you were able to learn something valuable from this coverage on the Nike Air Max 90.

Source: Nike.com
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