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RE-Fresh: Nike Total Air Foamposite Max (1998)

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Produced by: Dan Hwang
Written by: Jesse Carr

When recalling landmark models from the glory years of Nike Basketball, some models, like the Air Foamposite One, which we detailed in this segment months ago, have reached iconic status because of their future-forward designs and their pop culture impact. In our seventh installment of our RE-Fresh columns, we get a look at a shoe that has seen very few retro releases and still enjoys a cult following, especially in this silver and black colorway the Total Air Foamposite Max.


If you’re not familiar with the history of the shoe and went by its aesthetic alone, maybe you’d guess that it belonged to a flamboyant player like Dennis Rodman or Ron Artest, with its raised pattern of flames or smoke through the molded upper. But, surprisingly, the wearer of this model is as cool as they come, as clutch as any player in the last decade, and as successful as any superstar in the NBA in the last decade. That man is the San Antiono Spurs center, Tim Duncan.

Recently, on a sports-talk radio show the discussion turned, as it often does if you tune in even sporadically, to the questions of top 5 players in an era. The sport in question was basketball and the question was top 5 of the new millennium. A caller posed this question to the talk show host, who fired off two names immediately Shaq and Duncan, players at opposite ends of the spectrum both in personality and style of play. One shattered backboards, beat his chest, and rapped with the Fu Schnickens on the Arsenio Hall Show while the other recoiled from the spotlight and hit 10-footers off the glass all night long. Duncan was a man whose game was throwback in its suavity and consistency. He was the straight-laced foil to Shaq’s bravado, but four titles, two league MVPs and two Finals MVPs almost match the accolades of the decade’s other monster center who seemed to hog the spotlight.


Duncan kept a low profile, going about his business in a professional, surgical manner, yet his first sneaker, the Total Air Foamposite Max, was anything but subdued. Bedecked in resplendent silver with a bright blue hologram on the collar, this shoe, unlike its wearer, demanded attention. Air Max technology appeared on this shoe in a full visible air bubble which sat below a silver midsole that seemed to melt into the molded foamposite upper. The shoe gleamed and caught the eyes of many ballers across the country, but like the Air Foamposite One, which we detailed in a previous column, the high price tag and ultra-aggressive design kept these on the shelves in their initial run.

Though this shoe has seen a few retro colorways black on black, wheat and baroque brown, white and royal blue, white and yellow the shoe has not enjoyed the acclaim of the first Foamposite model made famous by Hardaway and Bibby. Years after its initial release, the silver colorway has been the most sought-after, and after Duncan rocked these in 1998, Nike re-released them in the same colorway in a limited run in 2003. In the eight years that followed the last retro release, the legend of the Total Air Foamposite Max has grown and collectors have been slapping $300+ price tags on the last retro. News broke recently that Nike was again releasing this colorway, but with a steep retail tag of $220 because of the increased cost of materials. Even with the hefty cost, fans of the shoe have been adding enthusiastic comments on sneaker sites about copping two pairs. After the release of this silver colorway in a few months, a black on black model will again release on… Black Friday. So check out these detailed shots of a shoe that hasn’t been seen for eight years, but will likely be seen on the streets in the fall.

sneaker via Corgi @