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Defy DNA pays homage to the brands, artists, and ideas that formed the foundation of our agency and creative perspective. Today, Founder Nik Greenblatt celebrates Air Max Day and takes us through the pairs in his collection that have seen him through 20 years of creating.
I’ve had a lasting love affair with the Nike Air Max series, as a peak into my closet will prove. So in honor of Air Max Day 21, I thought it would be a fun spin to rank my top-five favorites from my personal collection.
Air Max 90 – 360 One Time Only Baroque Brown-Black
I noticed while doing this audit that my collection is very consistent, featuring a lot of Air Max 90s, often in brown colorways. I am embarrassed to admit that I had actually forgotten I owned these kicks, but now I’m looking for my next opportunity to rock them. This pair is from a funky time when Nike started to experiment with different soles and silhouettes. I was never really a huge fan of the 360 but this shoe was super rad with the brown perforated uppers and the brown leather accents above the black 360 sole. I would also add that they feel a bit less bulky than the traditional AM 90s, which makes them more versatile and wearable.
2005 Nike Air 180 “Opium”
There are so many dope features on this sneaker–between the dessert camo and the neon yellow bubble, a lighter hit of purple on the top sole and the infrared with the black nubuck and perforated toe–that it’s hard to know where to begin. As you can see, mine have been worn a lot. I wish they were in better shape. Or that I had bought 3 more pairs. Or both. The AM 180 runner is my all time favorite silhouette and the collaboration with Paris streetwear boutique Opium is straight heat.
Clerks Pack: Nike ‘HUF’ Air Max 90
So the trend of the brown sneaker continues. This classic brown and gold 90 was released around the same time as the iconic Huf Quake, but I personally like these better. They are more subtle and I love the mix of the reptile and ostrich textures complimented by the gold around the bubble. Although it is clear I wore these often back in the mid 2000’s, they’ve held up pretty well. They still get to see the light of day sometimes–usually on Air Max Day.
Air Max 95 ‘Evolution Pack’
This is the shoe that broke my heart. When I started [ 2 one 5 ] Creative back in 2001, our brand palette was very similar to the one featured on this AM 95. I knew as soon as this colorway dropped that I needed to cop them for sure. One of my favorite elements of this sneaker is the color blocking that lends itself to a gradient, also used similarly on the 97. I can remember wearing these multiple times a week in the office, traveling and directing photo shoots. They were so comfortable and supportive. I wore them so much, in fact, that the bubble popped. Tragically, I didn’t have a back up pair, and so our time together had to end.
2003 Nike Air Max 1 Leather SC Shima Stussy Tan Suede
I was not ever a huge fan of the AM 1 but I found these in 2003 for sale at the Stussy store in SoHo. Since brown was always a brand color for the early [ 2 one 5 ] days, I had a lot of brown tees that complimented the beige midsole and the darker brown areas of suede. Another one of my favorite design elements of this sneaker was light dark brown splatter on the sole itself. The red asian lettering on the insoles and the tongue are a real separator from a similar silhouette in the Grunge pack which entered the market around the same time. Don’t sleep on the Shim Shima dunks that have the same features as this AM 1.
Thanks for taking the time to look and read about my favorite Air Max shoes from my own collection. This project was super fun and brought up a load of great memories. I think the recurring advice I would give myself is, always buy extra pairs of a shoe you love.
I look forward to sharing more insights from my past journeys with you.
Until next time – Stay Rad.
You always had a choice. Instead of following, you chose to Defy.
As you’ve come to know from our relationship, we always looked to push beyond limits to help our clients create work that stands out from the norm.
Over the last 12 months, we’ve finally gotten around to focusing this same approach on our own agency.
Moving forward, the agency formerly known as [ 2 one 5 ] Creative will go by Defy.
Our new brand name honors the spirit of our beginnings as an artists collective 20 years ago, and lights an exciting path ahead for an agency that continues to grow and evolve.
Together, we look forward to continuing to defy the conventional, limits, and expectations in 2021 and beyond.