Sneakerheads are a full-blown culture–we've even got our own religion. On March 26 of every year we observe Air Max Day, celebrating the date in 1987 that Nike, through the human vessel of legendary designer Tinker Hatfield, first blessed us with the original Air Max. What started out as a piece of inside geekery among hardcore sneaker freaks has over the years blossomed into a full-on event. People aren't just making a point to wear their Air Maxes; they're making art.
Nike, of course, loves to celebrate Air Max Day. And this year, the company marked the occasion with the release of new takes on the classic shoe by the holy trinity of Hatfield, Mark Parker, and Hiroshi Fujiwara—the trio behind some of the brand's most iconic designs—plus a range of special editions. The brand even threw the shoe its own party, in the form of Air Max Cons in Tokyo, Hong Kong, and New York City.
At the New York event, Nike-clad sneakerheads lined up a block deep outside a sprawling downtown exhibition space to wait for room to open up in the capacity crowd. Indoors, they lined up to buy kicks and sit down at tablet desks to design custom Nikes, or for snacks supplied by Kith and sneaker touch-ups by Jason Markk. There were displays of rare Air Max editions, Air Max-inspired sculptures, and huge murals of the Fujiwara, Hatfield, and Parker.
It was like church for Air Max lovers–there were even candles shaped like the original Air Max 1. But maybe even more impressive than Nike's all-out event-planning philosophy was the vibe coming off the dedicated fans who came out to bask in sneaker geekiness all day and show off their stuntiest Air Maxes. Check out some of our favourite shots from NYC's Air Max Con.