EXCLUSIVE: THE NEW AIR MAX 97 - VIVA L'ITALIA
LA SILVER MANIA
Since the first Visible Air design debuted in 1987, the Nike Air Max line has been a bestseller. Despite the worldwide success story, some installments resonate more strongly in specific regions — developing deep cultural and emotional connections to that place. For example, the Air Max 97 shines a little brighter than its successors or predecessors in a country famed for its art, culture and appetite for innovation.
After its 1997 introduction, the shoe became an unofficial part of Italy’s wardrobe when a countrywide craze for “La Silver” blossomed.
That phenomenon grew from a variety of subcultures bubbling in big cities like Rome, Milan and Naples before spreading to the nation’s smaller towns and villages. From club culture to graffiti to the catwalk and beyond, desire for the Air Max 97 transcends age and gender.
While some booms burn out after a few seasons, the Air Max 97 hype maintained in Italy for close to a decade — and still sizzles under the surface. Its ostentatious shine, sleek lines, gleaming vehicular-style ventilation and introduction of the Total Max unit’s full-window cushioning fostered a mass appeal that still endures.
With the 20th anniversary of the Air Max 97 looming — and ahead of more Italy-exclusive celebrations to follow last month’s limited rerelease — some of those who were there from the start share their memories and thoughts on the now iconic silhouette.