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Nike Air Max trainers: The return of Nineties sole hits


Not long ago, the only people in a pair of Nike Air Max trainers were sneaker geeks and those rave babies who couldn’t quite get over the fact that acid house was dead and the Nineties were, like, totally over, man.

Yet walking round London last Sunday, I counted four incongruous pairs; incongruous because they were gracing the feet of some very well-dressed people. And before you snort, laugh and say, “Phhhft, fashion students,” one should add they were all in their thirties. Male and female. Did they work in fashion? Glossy mags? Off-duty models?

Well, according to the fashion retailer Asos, they could be just about anyone. Because the Nike Air Max resurgence is well on its way, with a year-on-year sales increase of 320 per cent reported by that online store alone. Not bad for a 26-year-old plastic-soled shoe which was, somewhat esoterically, inspired by Paris’s Pompidou Centre.

“I love Nike Airs,” says Morgan Allen-Oliver, a designer at Asos. “And I’ve been to China, Hong Kong, Florence and Istanbul this year and you see them there, too. It’s part of a Nineties revival, and as with all other decade come-backs, we see the popular brands remake their classics with a modern twist.”

It also comes hand in hand down the runway with a sportswear revival. “Christopher Shannon has been doing sportswear-themed stuff. And Matthew Miller and [Christopher] Raeburn have all been collaborating with old-school brands to produce that type of thing too.”

Certainly the celebs have been hoovering up Air Maxes. Rita Ora has donned a pair several times for gigs, while Dizzee Rascal and, er, Barack Obama have been snapped wearing them too. All we need now is a picture of Cara Delevingne in them and we have a snowballing trend.