The Rarest Air Max Models of All Time.

On #AirMaxDay24, we pay homage to the technology that changed the footwear game forever with a list of the most exclusive models, auctioned off or destined for the collector’s market.

Born in the late ’80s with the launch of the Air Max 1, Air Max air technology has become one of the most iconic, recognizable, and imitated worldwide.

Initially designed for running, Air Max quickly found its way into everyday lifestyle, thanks to its comfort and unmistakable style.
Air Max gained popularity among trendsetters, fashion professionals, and some of the most influential subcultures of the ’90s: English and Dutch ravers and gabbers, fan clubs, as well as prominent runners and athletes of the time.
With different models and colorways, sneaker collectors worldwide (especially Europeans and Japanese) began chasing after the rarest and most coveted models of the moment, including exclusive collaborations and limited editions.
This ‘gold rush’ led to a price increase for some versions, which were auctioned off or sold on parallel markets for hundreds of dollars.
Some of these, never put into production or destined only for the extremely limited friends and family circle, constitute a true Air Max heritage.

Here’s a list of the 10 rarest and most sought-after models of all time!

1. Eminem x Nike Air Max 97 Shady Records

Photo: Hypebeast

In 2006, Eminem organized a charity auction for his foundation, Marshal Mathers. On that occasion, a very limited series of Air Max 97s was auctioned off, only eight pairs made exclusively for fundraising, with proceeds going to disadvantaged children. The AM97s featured a premium leather upper in shades of brown, blue, and orange, embellished with the autograph of the famous rapper on the heel.

2. Patta x Parra x Nike Air Max 1 Cherrywood

Pic_ stockX

In 2010, Dutch artist Parra collaborated with Amsterdam boutique Patta to release a highly sought-after and rare colorway of the Air Max 1: the “Cherrywood”.
The model celebrates the soul of Amsterdam through a collaboration distinguished by its elegant simplicity and vibrant color: cherry red suede upper with mesh overlays on the toe and collar. A partially encapsulated Air unit is present in the white midsole, while the multicolored outsole adds a finishing touch. Baltic Blue accents are found on the top eyelets and tongue. The Cherrywood is considered the greatest AM1 of all time.

3. Cactus Plant Flea Market x Nike Air VaporMax

Photo: hypebeast

In honor of Air Max Day 2019, Nike collaborated with designer Cynthia Lu for an avant-garde reimagining of the VaporMax, resulting in the Cactus Plant Flea Market x Air VaporMax 2019 sneaker.

With a deconstructed design, the VaporMax features a mesh upper with visible stitching, accented by a rope Swoosh and a smiling face on the heel, a nod to Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign. Below, the design is cushioned with a full-length VaporMax branding, completed with a multicolor finish.

4. Stash x Nike Air Max 95

Pic: StockX

As part of the “Artist Series,” the colorway of the Air Max 95 was designed by Brooklyn graffiti artist Stash. The Air Max 95 “Stash” features a gradient nubuck upper from black to Harbor Blue, with black mesh overlays padded along the eyestay. The low top also features a black and blue speckled midsole, with this palette of blues becoming a signature look for Stash in future projects and iconic for Nike, which will take it back for its “gradient” scheme.

5. Eminem x Nike Air Max 90 “Charity Series”

Pic: Hypebeast

The collaboration between EMINEM and Nike began in 2003, when a special gray colorway of the Nike Air Max Burst ‘Air Slim Shady’ was released, part of the ‘Artist Series’, which also featured Pharrell Williams or Steve Powers aka ESPO. Three years later, a special project between Nike and EMINEM was launched, the “Charity Series“. 8 really crazy Air Max models were created, each of which was produced in only 8 copies.
The proceeds from the sale of each of the 64 pairs were destined for the “Marshall Mathers” foundation and the website, to support disadvantaged children in Michigan and around the world. Among these 64 pairs were also the Air Max 90 Charity Series, made in a combination of gray suede, black mesh, and glossy paint, on which the rapper’s nickname was embroidered. The Sneakers were all numbered and autographed by EMINEM, making them true collector’s items in every respect.

6. Mita Sneakers x Nike Air Max 95 “Ueno Prototype

Pic: Hypebeast

Designed in collaboration with the Japanese store Mita, the Nike Air Max 95 Og ‘Ueno’ is based on an unpublished sample by designer Sergio Lozano. This edition departs from conventional design techniques with a nubuck and mesh upper, a unique lacing system, and bright accents, reminiscent of parts of the human anatomy. Inside, there is a special Ueno embroidery. The neon Max Air units and rubber outsole recall the original look.

7. Nike Air Max 97 SP “Jacquard Brazil Rio

Pic: StockX

The ‘Rio‘ iteration of the Air Max 97 SP Jacquard was originally launched as a Tier Zero version in 2014, with a pixelated camo design on the jacquard fabric on the upper. The usual leather mudguard has been replaced here by various seamless transparent overlays that provide additional support to the forefoot, while the full-length Air Max unit remains in place for cushioning.

8. Nike Air Max 90 “Warhawk

Pic: StockX

The Nike Air Max 90 Premium Warhawk features a distinctive design inspired by the Curtiss P-40 Warhawk, the combat aircraft used by the US Air Force in various combat areas during World War II. The retro silhouette boasts an all-leather structure with colors taken directly from the military aircraft, as well as the eye-catching shark teeth graphics that cover the mudguard and midsole of the shoe.


Let us know what you think about this list in the comments!