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Nike Air Max 97

The Nike Air Max 97 is a Nike running shoe designed by Christian Tresser and was first released in 1997. Over the years, the Air Max 97, especially the “Silver Bullet”, mutated into a sneaker classic. The AM97 was one of the pioneering models with the “Air” technology and had the “Air” element throughout the sole for the first time.


What the Nike Air Max 97 Has to Do with Japanese Bullet Trains... Or Does It?!

The AM97 is made of a mixture of leather and a certain foam. Back in the '90s, this synthetic material was responsible for the fact that numerous professional runners used this shoe for their competitions. The special cushioning provided by the Air sole, in combination with the foam, gave the athletes much better support in the shoe. 

There are many myths surrounding Christian Tresser's inspiration for this (then) unusual silhouette. It's clear that any sneaker fan will instantly recognise this silhouette, but where did the idea for this "silver bullet" come from?

Some sources claim that the dynamic silhouette was inspired by Japanese high-speed trains, also known as "Shinkansen" trains. It was obvious then to give the shoe a name as powerful as "Silver Bullet".

However, there are also pictures (also officially published by Nike) showing Tresser's sketches, on which a silver mountain bike can be seen. Apparently, the designer thought the silver metal frame of the bike was so cool that he then developed this world-famous silver mesh on the shoe. Yes, and "Silver Bullet" sounds much more powerful than "Silver Bike".

The 20th Birthday of the Nike Air Max 97

It is now 2017, and the AM97 is actually celebrating its 20th birthday. To celebrate, the OG colourway "Silver Bullet" has already been re-released at numerous retailers this year. In addition, we can look forward to numerous new colourways of the classic starting August, as well as a further development — the Nike Air Max 97 "Ultra".

Good to Know...

We have also summarised some interesting facts about the Air Max 97 and its history:

  • The AM97 "Metallic Gold" was only the second colourway released after the "Silver Bullet" in early 1998.
  • At launch, the AM97 cost around $150 and was the most expensive Air Max at the time. Nowadays, that's "no big price" for a sneaker, but back then, it was a lot of money for a shoe.
  • The hidden laces were an innovation at the time and were first seen on the Air Max 97.
  • There were slip-on Air Max 97s! It was a terrible idea that fortunately didn't catch on either. But the fact is that there was indeed such a release in 2001.

Previous Nike Air Max 97 Release Highlights

As mentioned before, the Nike Air Max 97 has a very long history. At this point, the icon has already celebrated its 20th birthday, and 2017 was one of, if not the, most successful year for the silhouette. We have seen numerous rather limited and popular releases and also some further developments of the classic. We have summarised a few highlights for you here

  • August 2017 was the time for the "revival". Eleven new colourways were released this month, and the hype knew no bounds. "Triple Black, All White, Cobblestone... one colourway was more coveted than the other. And even the numerous restocks in the following weeks were always sold out.
  • But August was also the time when a completely new evolution of the Air Max 97 was released. The Nike Air Max Ultra was released in 12 different colourways, including the OG "Silver Bullet" colourway. In this update, the silhouette was not touched, but instead Nike gave the model a completely new upper, which shines even more "metallic".
  • As a result, many new colourways were dropped over the next few months. The next highlight, however, was a collab with a very special (hype) brand, which was none other than UNDEFEATED (UNDFTD). As expected, this hypebeast sold out in no time and fans now have to pay insanely high reseller prices on the net if they want to own this release.
  • The last highlight was a few days before New Year's Eve 2017, when the Nike Air Max "Country Camo" Pack was dropped in four colours. The special thing about these four models was that the entire upper came in camouflage style. In addition, there were small patches in the form of country flags. Depending on the model, the Germany, France, United Kingdom, or Italy flag was added as a patch for the tongue.

As mentioned, 2017 was extremely successful for the old classic. We are curious to see whether 2018 will be just as successful. However, we strongly assume that another silhouette will make its grand appearance this year. After all, the Nike Air Max 98 is celebrating its 20th birthday this year. And we know by now how much Nike likes to celebrate anniversaries.