A whole brace of aesthetics seem to be converging in 2012.
People are obsessing over crafted longevity and simplicity, but the byproduct of a load of people dressing like steam train drivers is a sudden surge into all things tech. The quest for less seems to be operating at the same time a surge in interest in leaf and camo prints is occurring — everything's going on at the same time. We think we're in the midst of a 2004 revival, with colours reappearing and patterns in repeat. The Nike
Air Max 2012 feels like a superior stab of madness in a sensible time, with a colourway here that should bring back the days of, "Dude? What the hell are you wearing?"
This is a big budget, fun model, that, like the Air Max 2010 and 2011, plays with contemporary running shoe developments, then slaps a 360 sole unit so vast that you could keep tropical fish in it onto the bottom of it. For our money, the Air Max 2009 was one of the best Max instalments since the late 1990s — where 2006's Air Max 360 was strong but in need of tweaks, the 2009 offered the perfect balance of upper and OTT base, with comfort to match that the OG 360 lacked. The 2012's selling point lies in those Nike Hyperfuse overlays, a shell-like exterior and a whole lot of mesh that all combines to allow overlapping colours to generate an object-of-desire. Sure, it's odd to see the kind of upper we associate with the current bare-bones Free styles with that trampoline bounce on, but Max is about excess...it's in the name, isn't it?
Post What the Dunk, it's inevitable that a concept has to be repeated, so we get the What the Max pack that includes an Air Max 90 and Air Max 95 360 with a similar treatment — if you saw any of the materials surrounding the Hyperfuse concept at Nike Sportswear level last summer, you'll have seen the 90's upper used as an example of how Hyperfuse could operate aesthetically, with blue and yellow crossing over for a fetching green shade. Blue and red are obviously some key Max colours from the shoe's early days and the dawn of visible air in 1987. And yellow? That's just there as an attention seeker. When similar colours are applied to the 2012, it gets even crazier — for some reason, yellow isn't fused, but used as a separate accent colour that could instigate some clown car related remarks, meaning it never blends with blue, so while we're assuming the What the Max pack is a crafty way to unofficially work in Olympic ring colours, this one only manages four of the five. What you do get is one of the most extreme Max models ever in a makeup that's impossible to ignore, resulting in a shoe so bonkers (in fact, were it not for Raekwon's crack and weed confessional, we'd think this might be the combination that made his eyes bleed) that it makes its sibling 95 360 look quite sensible in comparison.
But sporting a pair of Air Max is about getting crazy and contemporary, otherwise you end up wandering around in those strange Air Max 1s with swooshes that look like they're made from Fuzzy Felt. We'd sooner have these 2012s. Air Max insanity is the only way and just like the barminess of recent Tailwinds, those who bust these out with shorts will get the props — fortune favours the bold. We're assuming that these will be dropping at spots like 1948 alongside their more sensible What the Max siblings very, very soon.