Release Date: March 26
Price: $140

The charm of Air Max Day, Nike’s invented holiday on March 26 that serves as a prolonged marketing blitz for one of its most iconic sneaker lines, has waxed and waned over the years. There have been memorable sneaker releases new and old—Sean Wotherspoon’s collaboration is a modern classic and the return of the elephant print Atmos x Nike Air Max 1 was welcomed to longtime collectors—but there have also been a decent amount of duds. Part of this owes to the ramped up expectations that come with the yearly celebrations as Nike draws the festivities on longer and longer. Sometimes in that dance, all the extracurriculars, all the brand activations and painstakingly planned community events can feel secondary to the actual product. The events were relatively quiet this year with COVID-19 restrictions lingering, meaning more focus on the best Air Max shoe that’s released in recent memory—this retro of the “Bacon” Air Max 90 from now-shuttered New York City sneaker boutique Dave’s Quality Meat (known sometimes as DQM, depending on whose lawyers you’re talking to).

We try not to give too much credit to straight retros on lists like this as they are not exactly daring releases. Still, the “Bacon” Air Max 90 managed to be exciting upon its re-entry into the market this year as a relic and reminder of how much the limited-edition sneaker world has changed since its debut in 2005. Decades removed from its debut, the brown and pink pair remains a solid shoe, the kind that many second generation collectors lusted after for years online. This slab of bacon footwear is as tasteful and tasty now as it was back then. — Brendan Dunne