|The Nike Air Max 97 was first introduced to the public in 1997. It was the first Air Max running shoe to feature full length Air Max cushioning. The Air Max 95 broke barriers by being the first to have Air Max underneath the forefoot and heel, but the Air Max 97 placed one long Air Max unit what went underneath the entire foot. The Air Max 97 continued the tradition started by the Air Max 95 and Air Max 96 by having a significant amount of 3M reflective material on the shoe. On the 95s and the 96s there were a few accents, but the Air Max 97 was literally covered in 3M material. This caught the eyes of many runners for making themselves that much more visible, but caught the eyes of many fashion forward eyes since this separated the Nike Air Max 97 shoes from all other shoes.
The Air Max 97 was rumored to first be named the Air Total Max 3. Its design was inspired by the high-speed Japanese Bullet train. The trainer was initially more popular in Europe and Japan than in North America. Like other shoes in the Air Max family, the Max 97s have been brought back many times since its original release, but only recently have they been a more common retro like the Air Max 90 and 95.
Nike has been somewhat daring with the Air Max 97. They tried releasing a slip on version in the height of the Nike Presto days in 2001; however, the idea was far better than how the shoe looked or sold. Since most Air Max 97 buyers were enthusiasts of the shoe itself, they were turned off by the look and feel of the slip on version. Nike has recently tried putting cement print on the Air Max 97. The Kashima Antlers Edition features the cement print around the shoe, but this shoe has a love/hate relationship with Air Max sneakerheads since traditionally cement print is only found on Air Jordan Shoes.