What’s your Air Max story? We all have one + so does local content creator Bafana ‘Bafreckles’ Mbatha

air max

Words: Palesa B | Images: Supplied

What makes the Air Max so special? What gives us all a story about it?

By now, we all know the story behind Jordan and Nike, and if you watched Netflix’s The Last Dance or read Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog, you understand that Nike wouldn’t be the Nike we know today if it wasn’t for MJ and his legendary sneaker deal.

But in the same way Jordans are one of the first sneakers you think of when you think of Nike, so is the Air Max.

To understand the magnitude of the Air Max, one needs to look back at the history of the shoe and how designer Tinker Hatfield was revolutionary in its creation.

It was distinctive with its colourway at the time (like how it mixed red + blue) and how it showed the actual air bubble of the shoe - something that Nike had freaked out about in the beginning.

Then you have the Air Max 95 designed by Sergio Lozano, who found inspiration from the human anatomy and erosion of earth from water.

I could go on for days, but today, I'll simply stop the song of my praises with the following sentiment for now:

The Air Max has persevered and over the decades, has become one of the most popular pairs of shoes without an athlete or ambassador. The testimony of the Air Max is similar to that of many creatives, which is probably why it has impacted the culture so much.

We see each other.

To celebrate the Air Max, we speak to streetwear model, designer, and influencer, Bafana 'Bafreckles' Mbatha.

Nike, Air Max

What is your earliest memory of the Nike Air Max?

It was when I copped my first pair in 2014/16. I fell in love with the sneaker culture, Air Maxes, and Nike as a brand.

How did you feel about buying your first pair?

It was very exciting because I didn’t have money to get the real pair I wanted initially, so I was saving for it. When I got my hands on it, it was achieving that goal, you know, finally having something you’ve wanted for a long time in your hands is crazy.

How do you style your Air Max?

I am very versatile when it comes to fashion so it depends on my mood, but mostly I wear my Air Maxes with tracksuits, a simple T-shirt and maybe a pair of jeans. It depends on the colourway, of course. Colourways should always complement what you are wearing.

air max

What does Air Max mean to you?

It has too many meanings. Comfort, style, the history behind that type of Air Max, and what inspired the technology behind the shoe. It's classic.

How did you celebrate Air Max day in the past?

This year was my first time having a proper celebration for Air Max Day, and that was with Nike and Superbalist. Usually, I would just take pictures and videos in a pair of one of my Air Max kicks and post them on my story.

Air Max Day

Which is your favourite pair to date?

There are a lot. But if I had to choose one, it would be the Air Max 97 Silver Bullet. I like the technology behind the shoes, the inspiration, and how it was created. That is my favourite.

Currently, which Air Max has your heart?

I have Air Max 1's mostly, but I don’t have the OG colourways - I just have the collabs. So I would say the OG Air Max 1’s.

What does the future of the Air Max look like to you?

I feel like Nike is exploring things, creating new models, and evolving. I think it's going in the right direction, so I would say the future is looking bright, especially for streetwear people like me.

Air Max

If you could design an Air Max, what would it look like?

I would take the upper part of the 97 and mix it with a new design - a different one from the ones we already have. I would need to sketch it for you to see it (laughs). It would definitely be in one of the OG colourways with a different sole. I would also add a bit of detail like my signature name and, of course, it would be a limited edition.

Define your relationship with the Air Max?

We have a close relationship (laughs). I wear them often.

If you could say anything to the Air Max what would it be?

Keep on rocking! Every day is Air Max day.

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