Nike Air Max 95: Inspired by the Human Anatomy
Nike designer Sergio Lozano's initial inspiration for the Air Max 95, which debuted in 1995 at a retail of $140, was watching the earth erode during a rainstorm. Challenged with recapturing the spirit of '70s and '80s running shoes, Lozano took his concept a step further by incorporating the human body's construction.
The sneaker's anatomy takes clear yet subtle cues from human physiology—with elements modeled after our connective tissue and bone structure. Its upper panels emulate muscle fibers, the lacing system resembles human ribs, and the outsole represents a human spine. Aesthetically, the Air Max 95 draws inspiration from other natural elements and is designed to withstand environmental wear-and-tear. The grey gradient upper echoes the look of rain-eroded stone.
Nike Air Max 95 Introduces Dual Visible Air Units
The Air Max 95 is notable for being the first design to add a second visible Air unit to the forefoot, in addition to one at the back of the shoe. Lozano also opted for a black sole to minimize the appearance of dirt and mud, deviating from the brand's conventional white sole. And though the original design didn't include the signature Swoosh, a small version of the logo wound up on the heel.
Other dynamic features of the Air Max 95 include:
- Leather, mesh and suede upper for a flexible fit and breathable comfort
- Polyurethane midsole with visible Air Max cushioning unit
- Speed lacing eyelets wrap the foot from top to sock liner
- Rubber outsole with waffle pattern for outstanding traction
Note on care: To keep your Air Max 95 sneakers in excellent condition, clean them with a high-quality soft shoe brush using mild sneaker cleaner and water.
1990s Sneaker Culture's Impact on the Nike Air Max 95
Basketball shoes, such as Nike's Air Jordan models, dominated the early '90s sneaker culture. Bold, chunky silhouettes like the Air Jordan 8 were one of the decade's most prominent footwear trends. With the running shoe's popularity waning, Lozano saw an opportunity to reinvigorate the traditional running sneaker by incorporating bold color accents and innovative technological details. Upon its first release, the shoe received international praise. It quickly became a fixture in Japan sneaker culture—selling for up to ten times its initial retail price on the secondhand market. And, in America, Time magazine featured the style in its "Best of 1995: Products" awards list.
Air Max 95 Colorways
For its 1995 debut, the Nike Air Max 95 was released in the iconic OG Neon. A prized colorway for any collector or avid sneakerhead, the original model has a resale value of approximately $700 to $2,000. The other original colorways are Solar Red and Crystal Blue.
Due to its incredible success and high international demand, the Air Max 95 saw several retro returns from 1997 to 2018. The most popular retros are:
- OG Neon 2015 re-issue to honor the sneaker's 20th anniversary (along with the Air Max 95 Greedy). The celebrated model has a resale value ranging from $400-$600.
- Solar Red was rereleased in 2018 and has a resale value of $230 to $600.
- Crystal Blue also returned in 2018 with a resale price ranging from $220 to $500.
Celebs Tune in to Air Max 95: Music to Their Ears (and Feet)
The Air Max 95 attracted and sustained a cult following within the hip-hop community. Since the shoe's release, rappers have name-dropped the Air Max model in their song lyrics. Arguably, its most famous shoutout is in The Game's 2005 single, "Hate It or Love It," where he warned an opponent not to "try me for my Air Max 95s." Other notable mentions include those from Fabolous and Gucci Mane, who also praised the sneaker model by name in their songs, "Money Goes, Honey Stays" (2009) and "Bricks" (2008), respectively.
Acclaimed artists such as Eminem, Nelly, 2 Chainz, Busta Rhymes, Big Boi, DJ Khaled and T-Pain have all declared their love for the Nike Air Max 95. Other famous fans of the sneaker include LeBron James, Spike Lee, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and J.R. Smith.
Nike Air Max 95 Collaborations and Collections
Japan-based atmos collaboration
Nike collaborated with atmos, an esteemed Japanese streetwear and sneaker boutique, to create a series of highly coveted Air Max 95 styles. These colorways boast some of the highest resale values. Noteworthy collector's items include:
- Animal Pack (2016)—featuring Air Max 95 and Air Max 1 colorways, these resell from $600 to $1,400
- Animal Pack 2.0 (2018)—the DLX colorway resales anywhere from $350 to $1,800
- We Love Nike Pack (2018)—includes two Air Max 95s, an Air Max 1 and an Air Max 90. Clear Jade and Bright Crimson colorways resale for around $250 to $400 and $140 to $700, respectively
Since 2003, Nike has partnered with the OSHU Doernbecher Children's Hospital to empower their patients to create sneaker designs for its annual Doernbecher Freestyle Collection. Some of the most sought-after Air Max 95 collaborative styles include:
- Doernbecher 2007—resale value $400 to $650
- Doernbecher 2011—resale value $400
- Doernbecher 2015—resale value $200 to $400
With its 2015 debut, the Air Max 95 grew up and added some inches to keep fans covered during colder months. The Air Max 95 sneakerboot was initially available in two colorways, and several colorways have joined the lineup since its launch. The collection's most sought-after colorways are Triple Black ($200 to $500 resale), Dark Loden ($300 resale) and Black Volt ($200 resale).
This colorway, released in 2015, has also been dubbed the "What The Air Max" and pays homage to the classic OG Neon colorway. It has a resale value of approximately $400 to $800. For the shoe's 25th anniversary, the Nike Air Max 95 Greedy 2.0 was arguably 2020's most coveted release among collectors. The style combines OG Neon and Photo Blue.