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    Air Max 720

    Nike wouldn’t be the brand it is today without its drive to push the limits with each new product. Whether with their running shoes or football gear, there’s always been an enthusiasm to bring things further. The Nike Air Max 720 is a result of that continuous push forward. It started with the launch of the first Air Max in 1987, a new trainer showing a small window of Air technology, based on the controversial Pompidou Centre building in Paris. More than 30 years later, in 2019, the Air Max 720 was given more Air technology than ever before. Mens and womens sizes got a full-length Air sole, as did the kids models for boys and girls. The Nike Air Max 720 was the successor of the 270 and the VaporMax. Launched in 2019, the Air Max 720 led the way in ‘chunky’ design, a huge trend in sports footwear these last few years, and had the public keen to find a cheap pair where possible with each new sale. Looking at the 720, you immediately notice one thing: the outsole looks big. And that’s because, well, it is! In fact, at the time of its launch, the 720 had the highest air-filled sole the Air Max line had ever produced. The sole of the 270 was 32 millimetres high, the 720 was 38 millimetres high. Another reason the outsole looks so big is the visibility all round the shoe. Where the 270 derived its name from the 270 degrees see-through visibility of the Air sole, the 720 got it from the 720 degrees visibility. You may be asking, is that even possible? It is - if you look at the shoe both horizontally and vertically, you find Air visibility from all sides, and from the bottom. Quite amazing, and we’re only halfway through the shoe design. The AM720 also has quite an impressive upper, varying from a sandal-like design, such as the Air Max FF 720, to special edition models, like the Air Max 720 OBJ and the eye-catching Saturn. So, let’s see what else is out there.

    The regular upper is nothing short of amazing. It looks like it has several panels on top, but it’s actually made up of a single part. The design team didn’t hold back with the use of colour, seen in the colourways the Air Max 720 was launched in. There were fades from orange into red, like the Sunset, and dark blue into turquoise, like the Hyper Jade. We saw shades of dark purple and pink in the Total Eclipse and Northern Lights. That last one had two different versions, Night, with its dark look, and Day, the brighter version which looks very much like the Celestine Blue. Next to these fancy prints and fading colours, there are more basic models. The Nike Air Max 720 comes with a fully red, pink or grey upper, showing the shoe in all its glory. That goes for gold and blue too. Furthermore, there are black and white versions of the futuristic sneaker. First, take a look at the Triple White, which is completely white. Second, there’s the Triple Black; a totally black variant. Quite a nice variation is the Game Change, which has a black base colour combined with a rainbow pattern. All of the colourways named above were given the same shape. They only differ in colour. There’s one segment in which the design is taken a little further. Special Edition models have been made, labelled as Air Max 720 SE. They got little variations in print, receiving for example, reflective or sparkly panels. But not all models kept the original design… Let's outline one important fact, in none of these models did the outsole actually change. The Air technology that brought the line its initial success was kept the same. As little changes were made to the bottom, as much the designers experimented with the upper.

    Take the Air Max 720 Horizon, with its mid-cut and shiny exoskeleton. Or what about the Air Max 720 Ispa, a unique looking model that could have come straight from outer space. And don’t miss out on the Air Max 720/95, in which a 95 upper, looking very good in orange, was attached to a 720 outsole. Soon, Nike took the design of the AM720 a step further, linking this new star to several sub-brands, artists, events, and even famous characters such as Iron Man. On top of this, Nike sneakers have always had a close connection to sports. So it will come as no surprise that a lot of special, limited-edition models of the Nike Air Max 720 are connected to sports as well. The 720 has been linked to basketball. Both the Jordan Proto-Max 720 mid-top model, and the Jordan Air Latitude 720 high-top model, which is exclusively for women, are meant to be trainers but are strongly associated with basketball performance footwear. There’s a link with racing as well. The Air Max 720 Waves was part of the D/MS/X series, a clothing line that was inspired by motorsports such as motocross. And prior to the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France, the football tournament was honoured with a special 720 as part of the ‘Unite Totale’ line. Another project Nike started was ‘Be True’, making the case for diversity, equality and freedom in society with its pink and rainbow colours. Along the same lines was the 720 ‘Have a Nike day’, which was part of a campaign aiming to spread positivity and happiness. Lastly, there’s the Air Max 720 Undercover, the result of a collaboration with the brand Undercover, featuring a cool speckled pattern on the upper.

    Air Max FF 720

    This has got to be one of the most remarkable silhouettes Nike has ever made. And it’s part of the most successful sneaker line the brand has produced. The design of the Nike Air Max FF 720 looked nothing like the original Air Max from 1987. Producing a sneaker like this was quite a bold move. If we can even call the Air Max FF 720 a sneaker, it doesn’t really look like one anymore. Maybe calling it a sandal is closer to the truth. The FF 720 has the recognizable fully 720 Air midsole, with an extra rubber outsole, but the upper is mostly open. And that gives it a sandal look. The back heel and parts of the midfoot are free and open, the toes are closed up and protected, giving it a little bit more of a snug feel. Nice and cool, ideal for summer and spring. The materials used are mostly leather. And there’s an elastic band wrapping round the Achilles tendon. Another eye-catching feature is the lacing system. This could not have been more simple: a cord is attached to the top of the instep which is then tied down at the back of the ankle. The Air Max FF 720 is mainly targeted at ladies, which resulted in a fit that is focussed on women’s feet - a slightly narrower construction with a tighter fit. Once again, Nike succeeded in creating a one-of-a-kind model that will be easily recognised in the streets, especially when featured in the plain coloured All White or Olive Green. It doesn’t matter which colour this model has, it can compete with all the other flashy high-fashion sandals on the market, but remember, the others won’t get a 720 Air outsole.

    Air Max 720 OBJ

    On November 23, 2014 people watching the nationally televised NFL game between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys couldn’t believe what they saw. They witnessed a lightning-fast wide receiver of the Giants, wearing number 13, soaring through the air, reaching far back to one-handedly catch a long pass. He caught it with three fingers and landed in the end zone. An incredible touchdown. It was at that point in time, Odell Beckham Jr had made history. It took his career and fame to another level. OBJ became a global superstar. A special player like that needed a special shoe. The sneaker that Nike decided fitted the best with the unique and bold nature of a player like Beckham Jr. was the Air Max 720. And so, the Nike Air Max 720 OBJ was born. It’s pretty easily recognisable as an AM720 because of the Air outsole. But the upper looks different from the original. Those curvy panels and lines on top were based on the 90’s Nike American Football turf footwear designs, linking back to OBJ’s past. The materials consist of a combination of leather, mesh and suede. And they come in every colour imaginable. Just take a quick look at the ‘Young King of the Drip’ and you will be amazed. It’s an explosion of bright colours. With some imagination, you could see that as a metaphor of OBJ’s playing style. There are also smoother versions such as the Desert Ore. This model has the same design but features shades of brown and beige. Looking for something a bit more edgy? Then try the All Black. It looks tough, almost as tough as that one-handed catch OBJ made back in 2014. If it wasn’t for that catch, maybe we would have never seen the Air Max 720 OBJ.

    Air Max 720 Saturn

    Just when you thought the AM720 couldn’t get any more special, the Nike Air Max 720 Saturn was launched. Looking at the shoe, you can directly see that this high-top sneaker is made for racers. It was launched prior to the NBA All-Star Weekend 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina, a city with a rich history in the sport of automotive racing. Nike even launched a version, the Saturn Motorsport, that honours that specific race culture, though there are many more versions. The Air Max 720 Saturn brings to mind classic basketball shoes, with its high-top cut and laces all the way above the ankle. Even with its sporty look, this shoe was not meant as performance footwear. It’s first and foremost a sneaker. Assisted with some interesting features, like two horizontal zippers across the side of the foot and two large pull tags at the back heel, and obviously the enormous 720 degrees visible Air Unit, the Saturn is one of the most interesting sneaker models Nike has ever produced - in the Air Max line and in any other. Most of all, it shows the potential of Air technology, because no matter what is attached on top, the Air outsole will be as strong as ever.

    Rank the Nike Air Max 720

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