Nike’s latest Air Max ’97 proves layering isn’t just for sweaters


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Photo: Nike / Graphic: W+G Creative

The Air Max ’97 already sits atop the list of iconic sneakers every fit girl should know about. But its designers aren’t resting on their laurels. Tomorrow, Nike drops the latest iteration of the classic kick, which it’s dubbed the “Layered Look.”

The sneaker’s colorway takes its “inspiration from the classic layered look of a hoodie and flannel,” according to Nike.com. The base layer is a plaid (sorry, not buffalo), suede upper that bleeds from red on the tongue to deep blue at the toe, and is topped by an outer layer of spruce green, all of which is ringed in cranberry, activewear’s color of choice this season. In other words, these running shoes encapsulate holiday hype.

Photo: Nike

For those yet to be indoctrinated into sneakerhead subculture, Nike released the OG Air Max in 1987. It was the first sneaker the sportswear company ever created where the air pocket that lent the shoe its cushion could be seen. And the aesthetic is rare to come by these days, with visible air pockets in running shoes having been largely replaced by foam.

The family of Air Max sneakers has been retooled several times over the years, but the Air Max ’97 (designed by Christian Tesser and spired by the sleek look of Japanese bullet trains) remains one of the most coveted styles—both at original retail and on the secondhand market.

Nike’s released several new colorways of the sneaker since it celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2017. The Layered Look, however, is aesthetically unlike any style of the Air Max ’97 on the market at the moment—so don’t expect them to stay available for long. Really, there’s no other way to describe these shoes but cozy…and cool. Okay, so in two words, they’re cozy cool. They’re up for grabs starting at 10 a.m. and retail for $190—so set an alarm, ready your credit card, and get ready to kick it.

In case you can’t get your hands on a pair, your next best bet is the Nike M2K Tekno (AKA the top sneaker on the planet right now). Or, consider lacing up a pair of the first designer sneaker you can actually work out in.

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