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The Nike Air Max 97 'Silver Bullet' is full of secrets

March 23, 2021 11:00 PM
The Nike Air Max 97 'Silver Bullet' is full of secrets

Hello and welcome to today's highlight from our "10 Days of Air Max 2021" series! 😊✌🏼

As you've probably already noticed, we've been presenting you with a sneaker from Nike's famous Air Max range every day since last week. But not just any shoes! We show you the most special and most influential Air Max models that have inspired mankind since 1987 and are decisive for the sneakers we know today. Today we have the Nike Air Max 97 'Silver Bullet'! 💥

Over the last few days, it's mostly been about Nike Air Max's that were released with various popular collaborators, and still leave many of us amazed to this day. I'm sure there are many among us sneakerheads who have been amazed at kicks like the atmos x Nike Air Max 1 'Elephant' or for example the Patta x Nike Air Max 90 'Homegrown', which many would say is their Holy Grail.

But what would all the collabs and iconic prints of the modern era be without Nike's unique silhouettes? Without Nike's highly praised early design team, all the models might only be half as beautiful and Nike wouldn't even be where the brand is now.

And that's exactly why we must also appreciate the granddads of the sneaker world aka the OG colourways. No matter how funny it sounds, you can't underestimate OGs like the Nike Air Max 97 'Silver Bullet'. Let's go with mega cool backgrounds of an icon from 1997:


The man behind the design

Many of you probably already know that the Nike Air Max 97 was not designed by Tinker Hatfield! 10 years after the very first Air Max with visible air unit was launched, it wasn't "The Architect" who started a new era of running shoes with the Air Max 97, but Christian Tresser.

He is the creative mind behind the Nike Air Max 97 and the Nike Air Zoom Spiridon. Tresser also created the Aztrek at Reebok (the very first shoe he ever designed) before joining Nike, and even had a hand in the adidas Yeezy Boost 700 MNVN! 🤯

Christian Tresser at work
Christian Tresser (2020) | via christiantresser

The design of the Silhouette and Tresser's inspiration

If you compare the silhouette of the Nike Air Max 97 with its predecessors, you will notice that the design of the 97 is very different. This is primarily due to the fact that the previous designs did not come from Tresser. But in addition, he did not choose the human anatomy as inspiration, as was the case with the Air Max 95, for example, but took his cues from nature. More precisely, the basic inspiration comes from the wavy lines that appear when a raindrop hits a calm water surface.

Nike Air Max 97 Inspiration
Tresser's Inspiration | via christiantresser

The Nike Air Max 97 'Silver Bullet' Design

So, now that you know the person and the idea behind the design of this popular silhouette, let's get back to our main topic. Let's take a look at the idea behind the colourway of the 'Silver Bullet' and which rumours we have to clear up here:

Das Design des Nike Air Max 97 'Silver Bullet' 884421-001
Notizen zum Design | via christiantresser

As you can see in the picture, Christian Tresser put a lot of thought into the OG colourway of the Air Max 97. In addition to the outlandish amount of overlays, with the AM97 he managed to create the very first shoe where the Air-Unit was visible on the heel as well as in the mid to forefoot area. This was of course a revolution for people on the running track and a big step for Nike's technology development.

But let's now focus entirely on the colour scheme. If you search the internet, you will often find results that describe the inspiration for the Nike Air Max 97 'Silver Bullet' as coming from the silver bullet trains from Japan, which are also colloquially called Silver Bullets. In fact, this explanation is not far-fetched, but it only corresponds to half the train of thought that Nike's designer had at the time.

Sketchings von Christian Tresser für den Nike Air Max 97 'Silver Bullet'
Sketchings from Tresser | via christiantresser

It wasn't just trains, but actually mountain bikes that gave the Air Max 97 its very first colorway. The metallic surfaces of mountain bikes like the titanium metal frame with silver aluminium finish were the key inspiration for the shoe's silver mesh. Still, "Silver Bullet" sounds cooler than "Silver Bike", which is why the name is ultimately what we know it as today.

The 'Silver Bullet' Colorway...

…is still extremely popular with sneaker lovers worldwide. Besides the outstanding design, the Air Max 97 silhouette is also super comfortable! But first and foremost, we're all keen on fresh kicks, which is why the colorway has made its comeback so often in many different forms and finally as a re-release.

Below you can find more pictures of the nice kicks. There are also a few examples of how the 'Silver Bullet' has been used for new ideas and hybrid sneakers in recent years. If you can't sit still for the excitement, you can also buy the 2016 re-released kicks from our partner StockX at a certain surcharge. Click on the button to go directly there:

Golf Air Max 97 'Silver Bullet' | via erichat45armand1ba
MX720-818 'Silver Bullet' | via quieromistillas

Nike Air Max 97 OG 'Silver Bullet' (2016)

via nike
via sgo8