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This Old School Racer is Built for Speed

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).

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The 1981 Air Mariah

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.

The Air Zoom Mariah OG Flyknit will be available June 22 via SNKRS and at select global retailers.

Read More: Nike Sportswear