Nike Air Max 95 : The story behind these revolutionary sneakers!

February 05, 2021 8 min read

Nike Air Max 95 : The story behind these revolutionary sneakers!

In sportswear, everything that is legendary is related to Nike. The Air Max collection is a perfect example. Each Air Max has a unique personality to which the designers devote hours of creation.

This concept is clearly realized with the Nike Air Max 95: a masterpiece like we rarely see! In addition to blowing a fraction of its soul, its designer Sergio Lozano has forged a body in flesh and bone.

Behind a modern and daring Air Max hides more than one secret that the general public does not know. We reveal the fascinating history of the Air Max 95 from Nike, sneakers that have marked the contemporary rise of the famous sportswear brand in the 90s.

Origin of the Air Max 95 : a big challenge !

It's been 25 years since the Nike Air Max 95 was born! With their stylish design and modern look, it would have been hard to guess. However, their cheesy name is quite unusual coming from Nike. We would have expected much more original from them. Still, you shouldn't judge a sneaker by its name! Especially not the AM 95, worthy of being on the register of the best sports shoes of all time, which still today unleashes passions :

Eighth in the series of Air Max, it stands out from all the others and crushed its predecessors. Yet, this was not an easy time for the Air Max: it could even be said that they were designed in a time of crisis. At the time, the basketball shoe craze was hitting the popularity of runners hard.

Running shoes took a hit for a long time, and Nike was doing everything it could to regain their rightful place. The sportswear brand was ready to play dangerously, and to challenge all standards.

To dethrone the basketball shoes, they brought in Sergio Lozano. He was a promising new designer who had been working with them for almost 4 years. A year before the launch of the Air Max 95, he was transferred from his original position in the tennis and All Conditions Gear department to take over the design and creation of the Air Max.

All eyes were on him and his team as they were tasked with reconciling with the crowd and improving sales. It is under tension, and with a lot of demands, that we observed his progress: he had to succeed! This was the basis for the revolutionary design of the AM95.

Air Max 95 design: an avant-garde model

With the goal of creating an innovative design in mind, Sergio also had to ensure the continuity of Nike's heritage. Modernize while keeping the core values, that was his motto.

Air Max 95 design: an avant-garde model

Despite this principle, he was still criticized for his boldness, and was even labeled a reckless risk-taker. As it turned out, that's exactly what earned him the job at the American firm.

The initial inspiration for the Air Max

The first sketches of the Air Max 95 were inspired by a rainy day. The designer of the iconic sports brand had been thinking about it long before he started working on this project.

While contemplating a lake under the droplets of rain, he was fascinated by the erosion of the earth that was taking place under the thick forest.

This is where Sergio Lozano got his first Eureka!

Wouldn't it be amazing if he could reproduce this effect on his Sneakers? It would look like it was being dug up from under the ground, like a deeply buried treasure.

After a few tries, he had a prototype where the Air Maxes were laterally striped with wavy horizontal stripes. A bit like the striations that mark the layers of the Grand Canyon. The visual result was impressive, very evocative of the phenomenon of erosion that he wanted to replicate.

 Design of the Air Max 95

This first step has already been marked by a lot of controversy. Weird, unusual and not aesthetically pleasing enough for some... It didn't win unanimous approval, but it didn't make Nike employees react as much as the rest! It was just a taste of what Sergio was capable of, and he wasn't about to curb his burst of inspiration to satisfy the critics.

Layers of anatomy revealed

Sergio Lozano had a good start, but he didn't want to stop there. He remembered the saying of Tinker Hatfield, the creator of the first Air Max: "It's a good design, but what's its story? ". He felt there was something missing, but couldn't put his finger on it.

To recharge his batteries, he took a trip to the Nike library, the place where the real birth of the Air Max 95 took place. Flipping through anatomy books, he was amazed at the analogy between the foot anatomy diagrams and the sneaker designs. He found many points of body structure that he could exploit in his design.

By taking the most relevant similarities, he discovered the best sneaker design idea yet. Gradually, the scheme took shape and became more and more harmonious.

Each element had an anatomical inspiration :

  • The soles inspired by the vertebrae: the imposing and atypical geometrical shape of the soles was a tribute to the spinal column. If you search on the internet, or if you remember well your SVT classes, you will realize that the Air window reproduces the hole where the spinal cord passes in the center of the vertebrae.
  • The laces in the form of ribs: in addition to being super easy to lace, the system that Nike used for these sneakers was thicker and similar to the shape of the ribs.
  • Layers of the shoe are reminiscent of muscle fibers: to visualize this concept, the designer made sure to organize the exterior in layers. He used a mesh and synthetic suede upper, stitched and compressed to hold the foot well and keep the shape as long as possible.
  • The topmost layer is thin and soft, representing the skin.

With this ironclad premise and an amazing source of inspiration, the final design of the Air Max 95 exceeded all of its creator's expectations. He saw the potential of his work, and knew it would crush any competition.

The colors of the Air Max 95 from Nike

After finishing the initial sketch, it was time to bring Nike's newest shoes to life with some color. In contrast to the bright, jovial tones that Nike was known for, Sergio wanted to go for a more practical look.

Always focused on the landscapes and terrains of Oregon, the brand's headquarters, he wanted to allow athletes to run without dirt and mud staining the shoes. Following this logic, the best choice to make was to opt for gray:

  • By using grayscale, more or less darker, he was able to emphasize his design even more. The lighter shades were high up, where there was the least chance of being soiled. He put the darker gray lower to hide the mud and dirt. With the gradient, the erosion and anatomical structure of the layers were more obvious.
  • To camouflage the dirt further, he decided to make the sole black. This way, the final layers would blend and dissipate into the sole in a slightly darker tone. Until then, all Air Max had a white sole, so this was another first for the AM95. Moreover it is thanks to its success that the current models dare to have colored soles.
  • With the laces and Air Windows in bright fluorescent yellow, it created an even more elegant contrast in the daylight. It was his way to bring out the traditional tones of Nike, which loves flashy colors, while bringing his personal touch.
Design of the Air Max 95

Unfortunately for him, the detractors of the designer of the Nike Air Max 95 had not said their last word. For them, it was out of the question to use the gray because it did not sell as much as the other colors. As for the black sole, it was another bad idea that would not please the public, in their eyes. Other objections that came in addition to its futuristic design. For him, it was nothing but a new challenge to take up, and he was eager to prove them right.

A discreet swoosh

For Lozano, the Air Max 95 was so distinctive, it didn't even need a logo to be recognized! Everything about it referred to Nike, it stood out enough to stand out without a distinctive sign. That's why he decided not to put the brand's Swoosh on the initial prototype.

That was the last straw. This initiative was rejected outright by Nike, and they weren't going to let this one go..

  Air Max 95: an avant-garde model

To satisfy everyone, the designer agreed to a compromise. A thin, upside-down comma was discreetly inserted at the back of the heel, so as not to distract attention from the sneaker's ridges. It matched the laces to give a more radiant look to the Air Max 95.

Comfort at the forefront

For Nike, the comfort of a shoe is just as important as its exterior. They have done everything to make the AM 95 just as comfortable as the previous Air Max, if not more. The properties of this sneaker make it an ideal model for high level runners.

Starting with the secret asset of the Air Max collection, the Air cushions. In addition to playing on the number of bubbles, the designer decided to insert, exclusively, in the front of the heel and under the forefoot. This ingenious idea allows for a better cushioning than other sneakers from Nike. This way, the strides of high-impact athletes are better intercepted.

Secondly, other works of our sportswear specialists have been exploited. They have integrated a Flywire support system for greater stability of the foot. These are cables that connect the sole to the upper part of the foot. They are formed by intertwined filaments like those of a suspension bridge.

But that's not all! Nike implemented a third find to make your experience with the Air Max 95s more enjoyable. Their ultra-breathable mesh upper gives you better ventilation and lightness that's incomparable to the old school ones. The breathability of the model is suitable for extended wear over long periods of time or for long trips.

To finish off in style, these Air Maxes are equipped with quick lacing eyelets. A real plus for athletes and people in a hurry looking for more support without the usual headache of laces..

The Air Max 95 - We never get tired of them !

Like the majority of Nike sneakers, the Air Max 95, initially designed for athletes, quickly found their place in urban culture. Today, it is an essential streetwear accessory.

Design of the Air Max 95

We love them so much, that Nike keeps making new models! If you liked the Air Max 95, you'll love the way the famous sportswear brand has revisited them.

In some models, the gray scale can be different from the original, even reversed. If you're not a fan of the basic colors, you'll definitely be won over by the Air Max 95 Essential Black. 100% black, all the authenticity of the sneaker comes out even better. For ladies, the WMNS Air Max 95 offer pastel colors that you will love !

Design of the Air Max 95

The most impressive collab for this model is the atmos x Nike Air Max 95 2006 Supreme. With its animal feel, the unconventional sneaker spreads what would be pseudo animal fur on every layer. As weird as it may sound, the result is very trendy and super chic.

atmos x Nike Air Max 95 2006 Supreme

For the 20th anniversary of the AM 95s, Nike is celebrating the history of its Air Max collection by paying tribute to the famous pair. The Air Max 95s are another success and will be part of the look of Eminem, the rapper The Game, and even the great Basketball player LeBron James. A touch of irony highly appreciated by Sergio Lozano who managed to achieve his goal, and nailed the beak of anyone who doubted him.

This year, for the 25th anniversary of the Air Max 95, an even more original model is released. The size ? x Nike Air Max 95 "20 for 20" are THE trendy sneakers of the moment.

 size ? x Nike Air Max 95 « 20 for 20 »

An asymmetrical mix of old models, original rainbow colors and a speckled texture of the midsole safari style: it is a little wonder of streetwear. It was launched on March 26, the Air Max Day, in limited quantities.


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