As Nike adds the Air Max 720 to their iconic roster of sneaker silhouettes, END. sits down with the VP of Cushioning Innovation - Kathy Gomez - to learn everything you need to know about the Swoosh's tallest air unit to date.
Laying claim to a legacy of sneaker silhouettes which have defined the style agenda for decades, transcending their physical manifestations to become cornerstones of culture and symbols of identity, Nike's unveiling of their latest silhouette in late 2018 sent ripples across the global sneaker-sphere and the silhouette's arrival has been hotly anticipated ever since.
Enter the Air Max 720: the largest ever airsole unit to feature on a Nike silhouette and the latest application of fresh Swoosh technologies designed to take the global sneaker institution into the future. Combining future-proof tooling with retro style lines, the Air Max 720 is a worthy addition to the Nike story ready to stand toe-to-toe with its Air Max brethren - from the dynamic waves of the Air Max 97 to the buoyant resolve of the inimitable TN.
To mark the arrival of the AM720's OG colourways, END. caught up with Nike's Vice President of Cushioning Innovation - Kathy Gomez - to talk all things 720.
Accompanied here by an exclusive up-close-and-personal photo set from Berlin-based creative agency, HAW-LIN Services, feel air in this exclusive Air Max 720 feature and bear witness to the birth of an icon.
END.: What was the idea for the Air Max 720 – what did you set out hoping to achieve with the design?
Kathy Gomez: “FEEL AIR” was the concept for MAX 270 and 720. The problem was clear: deliver all-day comfort with an intuitive expression of AIR MAX, particularly for those who spend the day on their feet.
END.: How do new silhouettes come about, what do the early stages of the process look like?
Kathy Gomez: Our process begins with a problem to solve: in the case of 720, “How can we keep our athletes’ feet feeling fresh and comfortable all day long?”
END.: Can you explain where the name Air Max 720 comes from?
Kathy Gomez: 720 represents 360 degrees of visibility vertically + horizontally around the shoe, so 360+360.
END.: 720-degrees of Air Max is an unprecedented level of underfoot cushioning - What were the main challenges the design team faced in bringing the 720 to life?
Kathy Gomez: 720 is the largest diameter tube we’ve designed to date creating a bouncy and protective perimeter surrounding the foot for all-day comfort. Breaking barriers, in this case, diameter and size of an airsole tube or height was the greatest challenge. A very creative engineering approach led us to a split seam enabling more draw or stretch of the TPU and the largest tube ever.
END.: How have new technologies shaped the silhouette, and how do you imagine it developing in future?
Kathy Gomez: Reaching new diameters and surrounding the foot with AIR cushioning paves the way for more innovation for all-day wear.
END.: Talk to us about materials – what’s went into the Air Max 720 textile-wise?
Kathy Gomez: For the launch shoes, we were inspired by the Northern Lights – the Aurora Borealis – to guide the colours, with a subtle colour-shifting, durable, soft mesh that spills onto the Airbag to really drive home that idea of constant movement.
END.: Tell us 5 key facts we should know about the AM720?
Kathy Gomez: The boldest, most confident expression of AIR MAX to date is designed and engineered for all-day comfort. The design features our largest diameter ever airsole which frames the foot for support and protection. The overall design is inspired by natural wonders that radiate energy. The upper's design lines reference late 90’s MAX with a modern sensibility and simplicity. Air is our most protective and durable cushioning platform and also our most sustainable: the 720 is made from up to 80% recycled content.