In 1981, Nike created a new racing silhouette as part of its effort to expand its running footwear offerings. This shoe was designed for the serious road racer — typically a mid or forefoot striker. It featured the ultimate in cushioning technology of that time: Air. And it was only the second shoe (after 1979’s Nike Air Tailwind) to do so. For the newly designed racer, called the Curved Air Racer in initial prototyping, the full-length Air-Sole unit featured specially gauged air pressures throughout the foot that intended to optimize performance during a race. Prior to launch the shoe’s name changed to the Air Mariah (some say to be named after the wind).
The silhouette was officially re-released in 1988. This introduced the Mariah's most familiar color makeup (white, blue and infrared), and set in motion a period of Nike design that pushed running cushioning to a whole new level and included two 1991 releases, the Nike Air Icarus and Nike Air Max 180. The colorway became synonymous with the time and a key cog to a resurgence in running fashion.
Today — almost 30 years later — the Air Mariah Flyknit evolves the original creation. Though still built for speed, it has an updated focus on wearability and comfort. Modern technologies enhance elements of its DNA: An adaptive Flyknit bootie upper for ease of wear, Brio cables for a secure fit and a responsive Air Zoom cushioning to reduce impact from daily miles. Additionally, original design lines pay homage to its beginnings.