Words by Azola Mona
The 26th Of March marks one of the most important and biggest days on Nike’s annual calendar, international Air Max Day. From Frank Rudy’s initial development of air in the 1970’s to Tinker Hatfield dropping the first Air Max 1 design in 1987- the technology has over the years grown to being one of the most significant items in the sneaker culture that is celebrated globally. Air Max day is the official ode and celebration of the audacious design, usually hyped up by Nike releasing new Air Max sneakers leading up to the 26/03 celebration. This year saw re-releases of some retros, remixes and official drop of the long awaited Vapormax. The 30th anniversary of the iconic air max 1 shoe was celebrated in Mzansi at the 4th annual air max day party at Turbine Hall in Johannesburg.
Nike pulled out all the stops with activations and stalls that embodied and immersed the consumer into the Air Max history. Upon entry was a vinyl wrapped industrial container donned with “Air Max Day 3.26” in neon lights- this naturally served as the main backdrop for all pictures taken for the gram. The crowd – which was riddled with cool kids, braam lords, influencers, celebrities and personalities – was decked out in the freshest Air Max kicks- from the 1’s to the 90’s and a few in the freshly released and coveted Vapormax (only 500 pairs have been made worldwide). If you weren’t wearing a pair of Nike kicks you had to hate from outside of Air Max day, because frankly, you couldn’t get in. The stalls featured a SNKRS lab, where you could get your kicks cleaned and buffed- as well as get your complimentary Nike air max day pin. Inside, you had the option of getting a fresh cut to match your fresh kicks, or get a manicure at the barbershop and sorbet nail bar.
If you were a true Air Max fanatic, Nike was giving away free air max inspired tattoos to those who had pre-registered for one online. Greiispaces had a customization bar, where you could get your kicks customized on site- with some of their dopest work on display. BoyznBucks and Mkay Frash’s “Hunting For Kicks” displayed rare air max kicks in their collection, featuring a pair that was signed by Tinker Hatfield himself. Another notable display that embodied the innovative nature of the shoe was the Sibot x Vapormax collaboration, which featured a Vapormax sneaker that was hooked up to a drum kit and percussion that was playing a Sibot set. Many a mind was blown.
But the buck didn’t stop there. The overall entertainment options left attendees wanting for nothing, with Nike vapormax ambassador and up and coming drifting sensation Stacy-Lee May shredding the streets in a hot pink gusheshe before DJ Speedsta, Ms Cosmo and Young Lord ripped the decks. Hosted by VUZU’s Scoop Makathini the live performances were easily the highlight of the night. The line-up was insane with the likes of Manthe, Sho Madjozi, Khuli Chana, Frank Casino, Ricky Rick and Kwaito legends- Trompies gracing the stage. The main act, The Classic Man himself, Jidenna, came through with an amazing and interactive performance, which saw him singing while walking the crowd and inviting people to jam with him on stage. Naturally, every performer was rocking a clean pair of Air Max kicks. If there was ever a formula to aptly celebrating a sneaker – Nike definitely has the juice and the sauce.