At some point the last few days, images of a Tape version of the iconic “Infrared” Air Max 90 surfaced online. This advanced version of the classic runner is slated to drop in August of 2013. That’s just half a year removed from both the “OG” and Engineered Mesh versions, and only a year removed from the Hyperfuse version. I’m all for Nike establishing a cycle of bringing back its tried and true styles, but really? The same shoe, essentially, four times in one year (or three if you don’t count the EM due to it’s aesthetic differences)? Not a good look.
Over the 2000s, Nike has kept a pattern of releasing its signature styles once every few years. For the “Infrared” Air Max 90, this meant an initial bring-back in 2003, a second in 2005 for the History of Air Pack, a regular and premium version in 2008, and another retro in 2010. However, Nike’s recent trend for these sneakers has been one of much more constant repetition, whether it be in original form or one with some sort of alteration. While this allows for more people to get their hands on the most revered styles, it also tarnishes the elite status of the originals.
Look…it is not that Nike’s new technologies should be criticized in any way. Innovation can only help in the overall improvement of footwear. However, Nike has to learn two things in particular. For one, it cannot apply any new technology to a classic and expect it to compare to the original. Furthermore, a breather between releases goes a long way for holding up the desirability and status of a sneaker. With that all said, here is my proposition: Nike, stick to releasing the “Infrared” 90 once every couple years, and throw in an alternate makeup here and there, only when it can be applied with stellar execution. The Hyperfuse version was great, but there was no reason that Nike had to drop a retro and two more versions of the shoe in the 12-month span directly after the Hyperfuse 90s. Give me the originals or something else every few years and I’ll be straight.
Words: Jake Pulver for snkrbst.com