2018 has gotten off to a hot start in the sneaker world. With long-awaited retro releases, innovative new sneaker models and killer colorways of already popular sneakers; there are literally hundreds of great sneakers hitting the market. Everyone has their opinion on which is the best of the bunch, and all for different reasons. But, for me its got to be the Nike x Sean Wotherspoon Air Max 97/1.
Let me explain why.
Right off the bat, it’s a new model, or rather a mash-up of two iconic Air Max silhouettes (that makes it a new model right?) the Air Max 97 and the Air Max 1. While I love getting retro Jordan Models, for a sneaker to be truly special I believe it has to be a fresh new idea. And the attention to detail on this model appears to be next level, evidence of Sean’s passion. More about that later.
Secondly, the sneaker looks great, really great. The corduroy 97 upper gives it enough life to separate it from the traditional 97 model, and the stacking rainbow effect of the color blocking makes it flashy, without being too loud. Truly a sneaker for both everyday wear, and special occasions.
Third, it’s a sneaker that is built to wear, that’s what brings a sneaker to life, gives it purpose. From what I’ve read the corduroy distresses nicely after repeated wears (without becoming “beaters”), which will eventually give your pair a 1-of-1 look that all legendary sneakers have (take the Air Jordan 1 for example) it looks better worn than dead stock. Additionally, the sneaker can be further customized to the owners satisfaction with the accessories that come included: yellow laces, purple laces, blue laces, and two tongue patches, the Nike swoosh and a crashing wave.
Finally and most importantly, its creator has a purpose. Sean Wotherspoon seems like a very genuine guy who designed the sneaker out of pure love for sneakers. Sean was the winner of the Nike RevolutionAir Design contest on Air Max Day 2017. Taking inspiration from 80’s culture and a vintage corduroy Nike ball cap. Sean embodied that passion with his campaign to hand out pairs of his sneaker from his matching Nike van in Los Angeles.
I don’t know Sean personally, but I hope to meet him eventually. I also hope to get the opportunity to buy his terrific sneaker on Air Max Day, later this month. I suspect it will be a contender for Sneaker of the Year 2018. If you dig the 97/1 you should check out Sean’s shop Round Two.