On the occasion of its 20th anniversary, Nike takes a deep dive into the history and development of the iconic Nike Air Max 95. Designer Sergio Lozano recounts that his Air Max 95, like the Air Max 1, met with its share of initial resistance. “The first concept review for the Air Max 95 wasn’t a success across the board,” Lozano said. “Some people thought it was good and others didn’t like it at all.” But he soldiered on with the help of a a supportive team, ultimately following through on his vision of a sneaker with a legacy worth the Air Max family name.
It was a pivotal time for Nike Running, with the Air Max 95 project positioned as a way to re-capture the buzz that had been ceded to Nike’s basketball division at the start of the decade. Fresh off a stint in the tennis and ACG divisions, Lozano had been appointed the lead of the new Air Max shoe, and his design inspiration would come from two unlikely sources: geological striations unearthed through decades of erosion, and anatomy books that ultimately illustrate the correlation between the construction of the human body and the essentials of product design.
With the groundbreaking design in place — complete with visible forefoot Air and a barely-there Swoosh — the introductory color was developed to challenge a footwear maxim: grey doesn’t sell. Consequently, Lozano chose to ground his shoe in black and dark gray at the base, where dirt was most likely to accumulate, with lighter shades further up the shoe’s profile. Neon yellow accents were a nod Nike’s heritage defining racing kit.
Now officially in its 20s, the Nike Air Max 95 has aged gracefully. Like all true classics, the design holds up to this day, with an eye-catching look that tells a story of ambition and innovation realized. Go here for the full origin story of the Air Max 95.