The Nike: On Air sneaker design program was a call to arms for six major cities around the world to imagine an Air Max inspired by its community’s unique cultural fingerprint, as designed by the locals who know it best.
Out of thousands of entries from the workshop series, a judging panel that included Nike designers and city ambassadors selected 18 finalists (three from each city). Only six will see their vision undergo the ultimate transformation from a 3D rendering into a real-life shoe. That’s where you come in.
Beginning at 7:00 a.m. PST on May 8, registered Nike members can vote for their favorite designs from each city: Paris, London, New York, Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo. You’ll have six days to decide, and you’re eligible to vote once per day. Voting officially ends on May 13 at 11:59 p.m. PST. You may vote either through nike.com/onair or through the SNKRS app.
Each city’s winning design will be announced on May 14 and will later enter production.
[Once you've read the stories of the finalists below, click here to vote]
Air Max 95 BEC Bodega by Kevin Louie
A fan of efficiency and convenience, Louie drew from the ubiquitous bodega culture of the five boroughs – and the dependable 24/7 bacon, egg and cheese sandwich.
Air Max 95 Cross Section by Brett Ginsburg
Ginsburg’s multi-layer design comments on NYC’s pace, density and grit as a medium for unique footwear.
Air Max 98 La Mezcla by Gabrielle Serrano
Serrano’s entry represents the diverse complexions of NYC that combine race, ethnicity and cultural background, highlighting what makes this city special: its people.
Air Max 98 Metro by Joon Oh Park
Park’s design pulls inspiration from Seoul’s vast underground transit system, referencing its colorful map, metallic railway car frames and safety signs.
Air Max 98 Ulsoo by Binna Kim
Through the strong contrast of the Air Max 98 silhouette, Kim’s design reflects the tradition and the future of Seoul by way of the upper’s color along with materials from traditional Korean shoes.
Air Max 97 Neon Seoul by Gwang Shin
Shin’s concept is inspired by his city’s neon signs, complete with a matte black body, vibrant colors and contours inspired by the Taaeguk symbol on Seoul’s flag.
Air Max 97 London Summer of Love by Jasmine Lasode
Lasode’s design celebrates love and summer in the city, with a personal memory – a first date spent on Primrose Hill — as her backdrop.
Air Max 98 Ode to Layou by Reuben Charters-Bastide
Based on his grandfather’s journey from the Caribbean to the UK aboard the HMT Empire Windrush, Charters-Bastide’s concept marks the undeniable contribution that immigration has made to shape London’s multicultural landscape.
Air Max 270 London Darwin by Shamima Ahmed
The design from the 18-year-old London native brings to life the evolution of Brutalist architecture that has shaped her hometown since the 1950s, revealing the unexpected beauty of the city’s infrastructure.
Air Max 98 Tokyo In The Air by Nari Kakuwa
Kakuwa’s ON AIR concept flips the Tokyo skyline upside-down while muted gray tones nod to the structures that dot the city skyline.
Air Max 1 Tokyo Maze by Yuta Takuman
Takuman’s design honors the dizzying urban labyrinth of colorful tube lines that shoot beneath Tokyo. Embossed leather represents the city’s concrete surface, while the red bubble pays homage to the iconic Tokyo Tower.
Air Max 95 Cultural City Tokyo! by WOOD
Evoking Japan’s past and present street culture, WOOD’s concept was partly inspired by the humanoid forms of yokai – spirits and demons of Japanese folklore.
Air Max 90 Age of Gold by Coralie Rabbe
Blending traditional fabric and graffiti-inspired speckled print, Coralie’s design honors the cultural diversity of Paris through references to textiles from Europe, Asia and Africa.
Air VaporMax Plus Paris Works In Progress by Lou Matheron
Photographs of an under-construction Parisian courthouse inspired Matheron’s concept, reimagining the colors and materials from the job site.
Air Max 180 1.0 by Quentin Sobaszek
A TPU plastic cage, ripstop nylon panels and contrasting Swoosh and Air-Sole units nod to Sobaszek’s vision for the Paris of tomorrow: combining both geometric and digital elements inspired by the city's architecture.
Air Max 270 Kung Fu Soul by Harry Wong
Made to look like kung fu slippers, Wong’s shoes balance the sport’s strong, controlled speed and water-like fluidity.
Air Max 97 SH Kaleidoscope by Cash Ru
The SH Kaleidoscope reflects Ru’s impression of the clouds floating along Shanghai’s skies: shifting and dissipating to create new forms and shapes.
Air Max 97 SH City of Stars by James Lin
Lin’s concept illustrates the flickering lights of Shanghai’s skyline, set against a night sky filled with effervescent starlight.