Color introduces a world of new design possibilities for Air. But traditional methods for adding color, such as painting and color extrusion, are limiting, and they make reusing scrap material impossible. That’s why Nike created an inventive process to color Air-Soles: A machine dips an Air-Sole into a vat of dye, similar to how one would color an Easter egg.
Next, Nike perfected a new dipping unit that achieved a smooth fade between colors. With six colors (made from three base colors), the Air Vapormax Flyknit BETRUE 2017 was the first Air-Sole to feature more than two hues — a prime example of collaboration among designers, scientists and manufacturers.
Cracking the dip-dyeing process led Nike to ask, “How can we take color even further?” One way: spray the bags with a PU coating, which creates a color-shifting aesthetic that was first seen on the Vapormax 2019, then the Air Max 720. Spraying the same coating over different background colors achieved a new set of colors — and another opportunity to give Air Max fans designs they’d never seen before.