In the mid ‘90s Nike Running needed a recharge. The category’s early success had waned and its game changing Air Max franchise had not yet reached full potential. To change that the category leaders went all-in on young designer Sergio Lozano, who against all odds proved to be worth the risk.
His creation, the Air Max 95, epitomizes the word different. No Nike running shoe before it featured a similar construction, colour choice and, here’s the kicker, forefoot visible air. In his fourth year at the company, Lozano changed the very DNA of Nike running and ignited the imaginations of a new generation of designers.
To mark the twentieth anniversary of the Air Max 95, Nike celebrates with the release of two new models: The Air Max 95 Ultra Jacquard and the Women’s Air Max 95 Ultra. Both come from the hands of designers with strong connections to the original shoe and follow in the footsteps of Lozano by pioneering new methods of make.
If you ask Nike designer Ben Yun what brought him to Nike the answer will be quick and without thought. Already a footwear designer, the Air Max 95’s design represented freedom of thought and expression. “I learned how to create shoes from a pattern engineer, a very old-school type of shoemaking. The way Sergio broke all the traditional rules amazed and inspired me,” Yun remembers. He looked at Nike as a place where designers were allowed to create without walls, a place where anything was possible. A year later Yun found himself in Oregon.
Hardly his first Air Max 95 project, Yun found himself tasked to recreate the shoe that brought him to Nike, something very different than anything he had done with the silhouette previously. “Most of my other Air Max 95 models involved applying new innovations and keeping with the iconic design of the original, like the Air Max 95 Engineered Mesh. The Air max 95 Ultra Jacquard is the one that really pushes the envelope.”
From upper to outsole the Ultra Jacquard is an exercise in refinement.
Deviating from Lozano’s vision on the upper, Yun utilized the age-old Jacquard weaving process on the one-piece upper to deliver the updated anatomy story in a single layer of fabric. Lastly, second generation Nike Flywire was applied as an update to the originals nylon webbing eyestays. “Human fascia is soft tissue. The second-gen Nike Flywire is dynamic and moves with the foot as it secures it inside the shoe. You could say they are the perfect match.”
The end result is a strikingly different yet familiar version of the Air Max 95 updated to fit the needs of an active lifestyle.
The Nike Sportswear Air Max 95 Ultra Jacquard will be available on nike.com.au/sportswear as well as select Nike Sportswear retailers beginning Jul. 16