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Nike Air Max 90: A Complete Guide

14 December 2021


Liam Perry

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Air Max 90 Complete Guide

Every series of the Nike Air Max has been fearless, inspiring and diverging. However, the Air Max 90 has been one of the most legendary sneakers in the history of Nike. And the rationality is certainly not unknown!

No prizes for guessing the OG chunky footwear was released back in 1990. But even now, it remains Nikes one of the most profound sneakers with remarkable design and fabrication. Designed by Tinker Hatfield, these silhouettes were Nike’s second flagship and garnered some quirky colour blocking and noteworthy larger than life exposed units.

The designer ensured that the Air Max 90 was known as Nikes’ best-known successors 30 years later. With more Air in the heel and more technical, the genius brain created sensational sneakers.

Did I mention these kicks were originally recognized as Air Max 3? Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of its interesting story.

The History of Nike Air Max 90

Nike Air Walker Max

Let’s take it from the notch. In 1988, Nike experimented with a walking shoe and invented the Nike Air Walker Max. The far-sighted brand remixed the Air Max by restoring the structure with phylon technology. Undoubtedly, the sneakers were lighter and floaty. And then came the Air Max 90, which was a follow-up project by Tinker. Even though the sneakers are proudly known in sneaker history, they were crafted with some amount of pressure.

Nike Air Max 90 vintage ad

Vintage Nike Ad ©Nike

Originally known as Nike Air Max 3, these coveted trainers were released three years after Air Max 1. The shoe’s success involved a lot of intricate detailing and unique mechanism. The sneaker inception flaunted a blend of aggressive colourways, bold appeal and a wide-reaching visible air unit. The runners were the first to feature a multi lace port mechanism on the upper. The moulded section on the upper was engulfed in making the footwear performance-oriented. Until 2000, these Nike trainers were acknowledged as Air Max 3. Soon they were retroed and renamed as Air Max 90. Tinker ensured that the culture and performance aspects of runners begin and end with these Swoosh trainers.

Air Max 90

Nike loves going offbeat and often moves its products off shelves. Therefore, the brand is repeatedly attacked by critics and is seldom floating in a troubled paradise. This time was no exception. Tinker and Nike as a team were showered with negative reviews, and the beginning was not even close to being rosy. The bold colour blocking, overbearing airbag with an audacious infrared window and drastically different midsoles were seen screaming aloud. This seemed like the designer tried to throw a tech from the 2000s into a legend from the 1990s. The sneakerhead community is certainly very opinionated. And the opinions were seen flooding all over. Hatfield stayed confident regardless of the domineering negative reviews. And what happened much later is not hidden from anyone.

These famous silhouettes became a long term success and created an astounding impact on the history of footwear. In a nutshell, these runners changed the entire sneaker game.

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Facts About Nike Air max 90

  • The box label of the sneakers originally said Air Max 3 or just Air Max.
  • It featured an exposed air unit larger than that of Air Max 1.
  • Tinker separated the midsole into the back and front compartments for enhanced performance.
  • Compared to its predecessors, AM90 provided quirky colour and design options.
  • The sizable air unit can proudly impart a significant boost of 1.6 inches to the height.
  • Nike’s Air Max 90 is one of the most perceptible sneakers yet questionable for gym use.
  • These sneakers gained instant acceptance in the subculture of skateboarding.
  • The Air Max 90 features a multi-lace lock mechanism that allows the user to customize the manner of tying up the shoes.
  • Not just for running strides, but Nike Air Max 90 is a lifestyle sneaker.
  • Nike designed a special pair of Air Max 90 for President George H.W Bush.
  • The colourway can simply exaggerate the thickness of the sole air cushion.
  • Nike Air Max 90 is one of the commercially successful Air Maxes of all time.

The Making of Nike Air Max 90

Air Max 90 Anatomy

The revolutionary AM90 has outdone every archive of Nike. Legendary designer Tinker Hatfield had all the sneakerheads going gaga with the release of Air Max 90. Apart from Nike being a lionized brand, these runners’ detailed and intricate making has massively contributed to the mammoth success.

Air Max 90 Air Unit

Tinker introduced the exposed air unit with the launch of Air Max 1. He differentiated the Air Max 90 by exaggerating the thickness with a bold infrared colourway. There were no qualms about missing the airbags. The mastermind accentuated the air unit with a relatively gigantic window. The autocratic design made the bubble look even more aggressive on the midsole. Sure, this was Nike’s one of the most audacious characteristics of the show. The obnoxiously large bubble contributed to the sneakers fame. It doesn’t end there; the side panels are wrapped with ribbed fluid lines and therefore act as a frame to enrich the air unit further.

The footwear also featured a technical design with variable width forefoot eyelets. These streetwear trainers feature 7 eyelets and flat shoelaces to provide a crossed lacing styling. This multi lace lock system lets the wearer customize the shoe tie up and feel cosier.

Air Max 90 original

Image Credits: pinterest.com/efrost07

Nike aims at constantly improving the material with every sneaker it drops. And yes, Air Max 90 is no exception. You can find revamped mesh on the toe box to assure maximum breathability to the user. Tinker has also crafted this style-friendly footwear, so the runner feels stable at any given point. The thermoplastic straps let the athletes take over the game completely thanks to amplified security. This element also brings Nike cult following from hardcore runners.

The uppers show a sign of extravagant materials like durmomesh, synthetic leather and suede. Nike also incorporated the Hyperfuse technology in some of the sneakers to provide good wear and tear. In a way, this mechanism also helped in making the shoes lighter and more breathable. The foam midsole and bouncy outsole provide traction on the tracks with a great grip.

All of these exotic materials swelled up the performance and design tweaks never seen before!

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Size & Comfort of Nike Air Max 90

Air Max 90 Size Chart

Nothing is perfect, and sometimes even the size isn’t! The Nike Air Max 90 may sometimes be true to the size and sometimes not.

  • Those with narrow feet: The Air Max 90 takes a minute to break down, but they will fit like a dream once they do. The stunners are true to the size for those who are narrow footers. You can be sure of your feet not sliding around and not creasing much, regardless of the number of hours on your feet.
  • Those with wide feet: I would highly recommend going half a size up for those with outspread feet. Well, if your feet are a bit wide or you prefer a roomy fit, sizing up is your ultimate option. Better be safe than sorry! The AM 90s will then feel restful and agreeable. Also, you can rest assured of running or playing in them for hours.

How comfortable are Air Max 90?

Air Max 90 super comfortable

The recrafted Nike sneakers are one of the most comfortable Air Maxes. They are not just iconic with their appeal but also with the solace they provide. These world-renowned silhouettes are well cushioned and provide an accurate amount of bounce. This makes the beauty an ideal pick for long, challenging activities. The large visible air bubble also adds to the comfort substantially. This provides groundbreaking support to the inner foot and helps in elevating the curve around the midfoot.

Also, the buffered insoles are crafted in need of arch support to the feet. In addition, the extruding lugs at the forefoot and reinforced heel let you feel springy yet lightweight at any given point. Walk around in the beast as much as you want!

The whippy inner layer, premium leather, air pouches, and heavy-duty construction makes the Air Max 90 one of the comfiest pairs.

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How to style Nike Air Max 90?

Guess what the most amazing part is? You can style these kicks just as per your mood. Nothing is as black and white as styling these beauties. Since their inception, these sneakers have grabbed all the attention for their obnoxiously large air bubbles and bold colourways. Therefore, they are capable of dominating your attire graciously. Go simple or go bizarre! However, you like it.

Styling tips for day wear

Styling tips for day wear

Undoubtedly, the Nike AM 90 is super ingrained in its street culture. So, they can up your summer sneaker game and make your day dressing look straight out of a postcard. Bring out your oversized joggers and pair them with a smart fitted T-shirt. You can add a long jacket to this look for an uber-cool look. Well, if you want to go even more casual, simply wear your favourite ribbed denim shorts with an oversized casual t-shirt. Slip-on some soothing tube socks and let your vibrant OG sneakers do the drill for you.

If you are a bit fashion cuckoo in the head, dress up in printed Carhartt pants and a basic hoodie. Let your sneakers spell out the pop up of colours.

Styling tips for nightwear

Styling tips for nightwear

Whether you are hitting a dinner party or a banging club, you can definitely slay in these beasts. Love your blazer? Yes, it’s time to put them on and rock the look like a cookie monster. Stick to soft and neutral shades of a blazer and team them up with your eye candy trainers. These lace-up vogue sneakers also look glamorous with a pencil fitted skirt and a buttoned-up shirt. Sounds unconventional, doesn’t it?

How to clean Nike Air Max 90?

Clean your Air Max 90

Cleaning your Nike Air Max 90 is a straightforward and painless process. Before I begin telling you how to go about, the thumb rule of storing them is placing them inside the box and keeping them safe. Don’t just shove them in your cupboard ruthlessly. A well-taken care sneakers will always last you long.

How to clean white Nike Air Max 90 laces?

  • Are your shoelaces worn out and dingy? Before you deep clean them, loosen up all the dirt swiftly. The upper surface covered with dirt will come off.
  • Grab your cleaning essentials. You only need bleach powder, clean water, a bucket and a pair of gloves.
  • Load the bucket with water and add 2 tablespoons of bleach onto it. Soak in your gloves and let them sit for a while. Keep your gloves on.
  • Stir the laces in a round direction. You can make use of a spatula to do so. You will find the water getting dirty and muddy.
  • Remove the laces and repeat the process. Of course, use clean and fresh water!

How to clean coloured Nike Air Max 90 laces?

  • Whether it is coloured or white, you must begin the same way. Use your hands to scrub off all the excessive dirt.
  • Bring out the same cleaning essentials. However, replace the bleach with liquid soap. Fill the bucket with clean water and liquid.
  • Dip your coloured laces in this cleaning solution and let it rest for a while.
  • Take a spatula, or you could even use your hand to stir the laces.
  • Pull out your laces, and if you still find it grimy, you can use a soft brush to scrub the dirt.
  • Simply repeat the process once again only to find clean and sparking laces.

How to clean the insoles of Nike Air Max 90?

  • Whether your sneakers insoles are dirty or smelly or both, in any case, please pull them out and leave them to air out.
  • Get hold of a soft brush. It will swiftly remove all the dirt.
  • Take a bucket full of water. Let the water remain at room temperature.
  • Add some cleaning liquid to the water. About 3-4 drops.
  • Sink in the brush in this mixture. Then begin scrubbing the sneaker insoles.
  • Stained areas require more effort. Generally, the toe and heel section is more grimmy compared to the rest of the part.
  • Repeat the procedure, if required.
  • Use a microfibre to dry the damp insole.

How to clean Nike Air Max 90 uppers?

  • Use the shoe cleaning liquid again to clean the uppers as well.
  • Take a bowl full of water and some liquid in it.
  • Grab on to a brush – soft or hard, scrub it back and forth in a circular motion.
  • To get into the crannies and cracks, use a toothbrush.

Things to Avoid

Whilst you know the list of things you need to do, how about the DONTs?Here’s a list of things you must avoid.

  • Avoid hot water.
  • Avoid putting the shoes in the washing machine.
  • Avoid exposing the sneakers shoes to direct sunlight.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals.

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How to spot a real Nike Air Max 90?

Air Max 90 Legit Check

Here’s a quick and straightforward comparison between the real and counterfeits to help you spot the bonafide pairs. Go step by step, and I promise it’s uncomplicated.

  • Sneaker outsole: Let’s begin from the bottom. The fake sneakers will have the outsole fabricated from PU foam with a missing NIKE logo. Whereas the genuine ones will always display the logo, even on the outsole. Also, the construction will be made from rubber.
  • Sneaker tongue: The tongue will be seen proudly flaunting the ‘Nike+Swoosh’. Although both fake and real will be seen parading it, there’s a significant way to differentiate the two. The authentic ones will have the swoosh tail overlapping Nike’s ‘E’ and the swoosh touching the ‘N’. Whilst, the fake ones don’t follow the same pattern. Imitated trainers will have the logo stitched into the tongue seam. You will also find the circle ‘R’ mark on the tongue. However, in most cases, it will be the same in the genuine and non-genuine ones.
  • Sneaker heel: The sneaker heel will be seen gladly jutting out the Nike Air logo in the counterfeit and real ones. But the difference is pretty obvious. Firstly, the fake ones will not have the moulded ribs below the ‘AIR’ logo letters. Secondly, you will find the stitch groove interfering with the ‘A’ and ‘R’ of the ‘AIR’. Thirdly, see the NIKE patch closely. The bonafide trainers have a notable dip in the middle. This will be missing in the counterfeits.
  • Sneaker’ AIR MAX’ logo: This is one of the easiest ways to spot the counterfeit. The fake ones will be seen flaunting an obvious two-tone logo. Also, it will be fabricated with a soft rubber material and will look distorted. In the case of the real trainers, the logo will wave a stiff plastic in a single colourway.
  • Sneaker airbags: The airbags are definitely an intricate element of Air Max 90. The counterfeits will be made of PVC plastic and will have a stiff airbag with a thick wall. In comparison, the OG sneakers will have a thin film blow moulded airbag along with three cells.
  • Sneaker midsole: The fake Nike midsole will obviously be glued in a dainty manner. Also, it will be crafted with cheap and stiff PU material. On the contrary, real trainers will have a midsole made of solid and flexible PU foam.
  • Sneaker tongue inner construction: The inner construction of the fake Nike tongue will look very flimsy and thin. However, the OG trainers will always have an additional layer of foam for cushioning.

All of the above mentioned intricate details will help you spot the real Nikes and keep you away from the fake ones.

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Top Nike Air Max 90 of All Times

Nike Air Max 90 Warhawk Dark Army

1. Nike Air Max 90 Warhawk: These trainers are real head turners with their impeccable design and fearless colour palette. The jaw-dropping design features a tiger shark print on the side panels symbolizing the flying tigers. Warhawk takes major inspiration from the aircraft P-40 Warhawk in the design and colour scheme and therefore flaunts all the attributes of the warplane inside and out. The prominent feature of the teeth sitting along with the midsole and upper sole is sure to have all the sneaker fanatics going gaga over it.

Best Feature: Exceptionally durable

Nike Air Max 90 Off-White Sail

2. Nike Air Max 90 OFF-WHITE: These mesmerizing runners can take the sneaker culture to different levels. The design cues of the trainers are on point. An eye-catchy blend of a signature red zip tie with exaggerated stitches and exposed foam make the runners a highly deserving candidate in every sneaker jaggers shoedrobe. Nike gracefully completes the coveted design with a translucent rubber sole.

Best Feature: Eye candy feels

Nike Air Max 90 St. Patty’s Day 2007 Green

Image Credits: sneakers-actus.fr

3. Nike Air Max 90 St. Patty’s Day: Take a closer look. These Nike AM 90s are totally unmissable. They flaunt a shamrock design decorating the sidewalls swathing from the toe mudguard to the mid panel. What’s stolen all the prizes is the bold gold Swoosh logo with some vivid hits of Mean Green. Dressed in Pine Green, the sneakers are accentuated with shades of green and highlighted eyestay plackets.

Best Feature: Aesthetically pleasing

Nike Air Max Lunar 90 SP Moon Landing

4. Nike Air Max Lunar 90 SP Moon Landing: As the name says, these silhouettes really reached up to the moon with this eccentric version highlighting a moon graphic across the upper. The heel tabs flaunt American flag accents and complete a patriotic dedication to America’s space project. These stunners are now rarer than a lunar eclipse. Grab them right away!

Best Feature: Front lace-up fastening

Nike Air Max 90 Hufquake GreyImage Credit: klekt.com

5. Nike Air Max 90 Hufquake: The legendary Nike sneakers accentuate a ground-shattering aura with the white, grey and blue upper. The cracked earth print is visible throughout the runners. Nike loved flaunting the patented Air technology on the white midsole with a tinge of the blue patch. These kicks are also seen waving a hybrid platform and huarache details.

Best Feature: Comfortable footbed

Nike Air Max 90 Hyperfuse Independence Day Red

Image Credits: pinterest.com

6. Nike Air Max 90 Hyperfuse Independence Day Red: The red tonal bold colourway is a must-have for every sneakerhead. It is crafted with a premium leather upper, a visible air unit in the heel and a foam midsole. This high-end fabrication promises ultimate durability and premium cushioning. The red beauty has also adopted the high-ranking hyperfuse construction, making it perfect for a day trip to the beach.

Best Feature: Ultra-durable

Top Nike Air Max 90 of 2021

DQM Nike Air Max 90 Bacon Medium Brown CU1816-100

1. DQM Nike Air Max 90 Bacon Medium Brown CU1816-100: The vibrant colour palette is a feast in the sneaker realm. Crimson red on the midfoot blends flawlessly with soft beige and some pink accents and bbq brown tinge. This sure looks like bacon and gives a fresh and juicy vibe. The sizzling silo also features premium layers of suede and soft leather overlays. Let’s not overlook the dark brown heel panel with a pigskin pink visible air unit. It’s unmissable!

Best Feature: High spirited

Resale value: £149.00

Nike Air Max 90 LHM Multi DJ4703-900


2. Nike Air Max 90 LHM Multi DJ4703-900: If you are quirky in the head, you will love this beast on your feet. This technicolour print is galvanized by the 90s goalkeeper kit accentuating the die-cut panels. The Swoosh logo on the side panels is camouflaged with the colourful base and spot the ‘Familia’ hitting the ankle area. These colourful dapper sneakers complement every outfit beautifully.

Best Feature: Snug-fitting

Resale value: £127.00

Nike Air Max 90 SE Sail Cream DB0636-100

3. Nike Air Max 90 SE Sail Cream DB0636-100: Classy is the right idiom to describe these silhouettes. The light cream tone of white on the overlays and fresh white tinge on the underlays blend beautifully. The soft tonal shades meet the dark green forest hues graciously. The whole combination is subtle yet adds a splash of energizing spread. So, it’s a real winner in the sneaker race.

Best Feature: Ultra light air midsole

Resale value: £174.99

Nike Air Max 90 Duck Camo Total OrangeImage Credits: Sneakernews.com

4. Nike Air Max 90 Duck Camo Total Orange CW4039-800: These blazing coveted trainers can bring a massive spark with every step you take. The stunner flaunts accents of black grace at the lace panel, with the camouflage print dignifying the toes. The bold trainers depict shades of brown with burnt orange and can jazz up any boring outfit from your wardrobe. The rubbery orange outsole completed the whole structure.

Best Feature: Well padded

Resale value: £159.00

Nike Air Max 90 Christmas 2020 DC1607-100

5. Nike Air Max 90 Christmas 2020 DC1607-100: Christmas is around the corner, and these fancy silos are the perfect tribute to it. Spot the vibrant red accents painting the Swoosh, tongue branding and heel TPU panel. The snowy white fur on the inner lining imparts the perfect wintery vibes and lets you feel cosy on the feet. The trainers are absolutely astonishing with enormous, intricate detailing.

Best Feature: Enhanced cushioning tech

Resale value: £145.00

Celebrities slaying it in Nike Air Max 90

Like any other Air Max sneakers, celebrities are spotted painting the town red in these Nike AM 90s. Everyone seems to become a sneaker influencer with the big daddy on the feet to tell you the truth.

Drake Graham spotted with Air max 90Image Credits: pinterest.co.uk/vibzn

Thirty years ago of fame, and everyone is still drooling over these trainers. Hip hop and rap musicians are ruling the sneaker game with the Air Max 90. Canadian rapper Aubrey Drake Graham rocked his all-black look by teaming up with crisp AM90 sneakers at a basketball tournament. Clifford Joseph Harris, popularly known as rapper T.I, has been a Nike fan since his childhood. He is often seen in them looking ravishing and nailing a summer vibe. He wore the runners in a bold colourway with basic cargo shorts and a t-shirt. The quick-witted mind rocked the look with black and white polka print socks.

Rihanna Spotted with air max 90Image Credits: shoespost.com

And why should boys have all the fun? Women are definitely at par with the sneaker game. Rhianna wore a V plunge midnight blue dress and accessorized it with some bold jewellery. Her white Air Max 90 and vivid red lips accentuated the entire attire.

Rita Ora spotted with Nike Air Max 90Image Credits: welovesneakers.com

British singer Rita Ora always believes in playing it down. She flaunted three colourways – red, white and black- and looked super radiant from head to toe.

Emily Ratajkowski spotted with air max 90Image Credits: spotern.com

Emily Ratajkowski looked ultra-soothing while taking her dog for a walk. She wore a cosy blush overcoat with sparkling white Nike Air Max 90 sneakers. The retro-inspired look sure had all the eyeballs gazing at her.

Kanye West spotted with air max 90Image Credits: lifewithoutandy.com

Kanye West caused a storm in the sneaker lore by flaunting the Air max 90. He slipped onto vibrant red tone trainers and teamed up with an all-black ensemble.

Kerser spotted with nike air max 90Image Credits: lifewithoutandy.com

Scott Fromi, better known as Kerser, is incredible with his music and his fashion choices. He is often seen flexing in many of the Air Max 90 runners at events and Instagram stories. One of his looks which swept us by our feet, is when he rolled a clean look with bright white sneakers and matched them with ball shorts. He sure felt and sat like a king on the couch.

The list does not end with the A-listers and fashion moguls; we love how athletes are protruding their love for the trainers on and off the ground/court. World-renowned Lebron James loves exploring Nike footwear, especially when he’s off the court. He wore chunky sneakers to a red carpet and kept it casual with his attire. American footballer – Michael Victor Cruz loves having his fashion game to the point. He was seen holidaying in his favourite Air Max 90 sneaker.

Thabo Patrick Sefolosha spotted with nike air max 90

Image Credits: twitter.com/SLAMonline

Swiss Basketball player – Thabo Patrick Sefolosha is the only one to wear these iconic trainers on the court. He swears by not facing any of the issues like the other NBA players.

The Game Spotted with air max 90Image Credits: lifewithoutandy.com

The Game had all the women drivelling over his shirtless look at the gym and the enticing white AM90 sneakers playing it cool. Beyonce sure looks ultra charismatic as always, and the glitzy Air Max 90 trainers added on to her glam roster.

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Wrapping Up

And that’s a wrap to our Nike Air Max complete guide. I am sure every sneaker junkie has grasped all the vital details and leaves our page with a grin.

Now you know what you gotta do next, right? Grab these stunners and add them to your shoedrobe right away. Well, if you want to be in the loop with all the Nike releases, stay in touch with us. Fast Sole loves their loyalists. Be the first to clench on every minor detail on Nike Air Max 90.

See you soon!

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