THE TEN: AIR MAX 97

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WHITELIES appreciates the sneaker liaison of the year between NIKE & Virgil Abloh by presenting an exclusive release series of all ten reconstructed classics. NIKE x Virgil Abloh: Ten Icons Reconstructed launches globally at NikeLab stores and selected retailers like Colette, Dover Street Market, Voo Store, Comme de Garcons or SOTO Store beginning November 9, 2017.


The Nike Air Max 97 was about unparalleled visibility and a sense of speed. It also needed to be a superior ride to the last instalment, so it premiered the first ever full length Max Air midsole after years of dual bags. With that bigger than before unit to show off, the upper of Christian Tresser’s design needed to complement that vast window to the sole. Reflective strips surrounded the shoe and metallic mesh breathability gave the Air Max 97 a vehicular feel – less a piece of footwear and more of a piece of light speed technology. Only the innovative concealed lace system demonstrated any restraint. Just as its predecessors had emphasized statement use of color, the silver used on the launch makeups of the shoe were unmissable, fronted by some of the greatest gold medal athletes on the planet. Arriving in an era of tech obsessions, club culture excess and ostentatious lyricism, after some initial caution at those otherworldly looks, this Air Max hit hard. Once it walked Italy’s catwalks, it became a full-fledged phenomenon there, inspiring a new kind of Euro-centric highend athleticism.