Some people may dismiss the title as typical overblown sneaker hyperbole, but we mean it — 1987 was the best year in Nike's 40-plus year history. Not just because of the shoes themselves, although they were indisputably dope, but for what it represented. We can start with the Air Max, the first Visible Air shoe, or the Air Trainer, the first cross-trainer. The Sock Racer was a precursor to the whole minimalist runner movement. Then there were the Air Safari and the Air Jordan II, both of which represented a crossover from pure performance to luxury lifestyle, utilizing premium materials and (in the case of the Air Jordan) Italian construction and the removal of the once sacred Swoosh. They say that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it — in that case, please Nike, forget 1987 ever happened. Click below to start the gallery.

(Again, props to Classic Kicks for rediscovering the scans in the first place.)