The Air Max 95 needs no introduction—it’s one of the defining silhouettes of the Air Max range and a cultural beacon in UK streetwear culture, hip hop and football, and has its own unique history down under. The “110” is a global statement piece that will never fade away, and JD Sports have just dropped the exclusive Air Max 95 Ultra “Prototype Neon” colourway. In celebration of the release, let’s take a look at the compelling legacy of the Air Max 95.
Back in the 90s, a designer by the name of Sergio Lozano had been working in Nike’s then small outdoor exploration subdivision, ACG. Lozano wanted to create a running silhouette that would recapture the attention of a particular audience—an audience that had become completely enthralled with basketball silhouettes and basketball culture. Innovation in running was core to Nike’s brand identity and origins, and Lozano wanted to create a shoe that reminded consumers of this.
In the process of finding inspiration for the 95, Lozano remembered the words of Nike godfather Tinker Hatfield, “that’s a great design but what’s your story?” On one rainy day while sitting by a lake in Oregon, Lozano envisioned the rain eroding the earth, and in that moment birthed the idea for the Air Max 95. The gradient on the upper paneling reflects Lozano’s envisioned erosion, while the lateral paneling and lined stitching took inspiration from the skeletal structure of humans—with the eyelets mimicking ribs and the midsole a spine. The shoe’s design was ultimately a unique combination of humanity and nature.
Hip-hop culture was booming in the 90s, and the striking Air Max 95 silhouette fit in seamlessly—adopted by both the Ralph Lauren polo rockers of New York and the Blood-heavy neighbourhoods of L.A. Even The Game rapped on “Hate It Or Love It”, the lead single off of The Documentary: “That’s ten years, I told Pooh in ninety-five I’ll kill you if you try me for my Air Max 95s.” Across the pond London’s youth embraced the shoe just as affectionately, with the 95 finding popularity in soccer and grime culture. The shoe was eventually dubbed the “110”, after its price in British pounds. It was the shoe’s loyalists in both the subcultures of the States and the UK that helped ascend the model into icon status around the globe in the coming decade. In Australia, while other Air models were associated with respective groups—TNs with lad culture and Air Max 1s with sneaker heads—the Air Max 95 was universal in its appeal, revered by multiple subcultures.
The Air Max 95 was a trailblazer in the Air Max range—it was the first silhouette to feature heel-to-toe air bubbles, and in turn inspired the Air Max 96, 98 and TN range. JD Sports has honoured the legacy of the 95s with the exclusive release of the Air Max 95 Ultra “Prototype Neon”. The 95 Ultra was first released in 2015. The original 95 silhouette was revised into its sleek counterpart by Roshe One designer Dylan Raasch—seemingly with the intent of finding success in the athleisure market that the Roshe Run had found its popularity in—and it did just that. The JD exclusive “Prototype Neon” colourway pays homage to the OG Air Max 95, not only by reemploying both the volt highlights and gradient grey side panels, but in the form of Ultra silhouette itself that forms part of the dynamic history the 95, whose ever-evolving story has been shaped and reshaped overtime. You can cop the Air Max 95 Ultra “Prototype Neon” now at JD Sports, in store and online.