Air Max 97 Design History Sneaker lore has it that this model was inspired by the lines of a high-speed Japanese bullet train, but in recent years it has been revealed that designer Christian Tresser was actually seeking to emulate the metallic finishes on mountain bikes.
New technology, sleek lines, and a chrome finish, established the 97 as a shoe of the future. Nike Air Max 97 and Beyond. After the 97 hit the market, it didn’t take long before it eclipsed the Air Max 96. Starting with a cult following in Italy, the model quickly picked up steam in the States.