Designer Riccardo Tisci’s latest NikeLab collaboration arrives this month in the form of a mid-top Air Max 97, a first for the traditionally low-top runner. Before the collab hits shelves on March 26, Tisci spoke with Nike about the sneaker’s lasting impact on Italian culture and street style.
“The Air Max 97 had huge influence and impact on Italian culture,” Tisci said. “The Air Max 97 is an iconic, young shoe of [the] ’90s. At the time I was involved with DJs and music, and in the clubs, the people leading the big waves were wearing Air Max. That period has a lot of history. It was the first meeting of sportswear and fashion.”
Although Tisci admits he’s “getting older,” he says he’s still inspired by youth culture. According to Nike, this attitude served as the blueprint for the designer’s take on the Air Max 97, which boasts a mature, “sportswear meets luxury” inspiration.
Tisci’s says he extended the runner’s height to a mid-top “because I think its much more ‘street,’ it’s typical of me.” Further influences include the designer’s love for basketball and skateboarding.
“The future is about honesty,” Tisci said. “Everything people want seems to be honest, to be real. People want honest clothes, honest shoes, honest everything. This is really what people look for, design-wise, color-wise and in fashion and in the way people dress.”
“[The Air Max 97 Mid R.T.] is super honest and super classic,” he said. “When things are very honest, they are modeled forever.”