The good folks over at Nike are tugging at the heartstrings of retro fans once again. This time around, they’re bringing back the Nike Air Max2 Light. Up to this point, this shoe has been among the more elusive OG runners out there. As many collectors have noted, finding a wearable pair has proven pretty difficult.
And now, early 90s sneakerheads can finally rejoice, the Light is back!
As it makes its way back to the current market – rife with an obsession with chunkiness – some background is in order. For the OG’s this will be a good chance to extend your celebrations and remember this shoe’s greatness. For those new to the game, consider this your brief primer.
When the Air Max2 Light first debuted, it was 1994 and Nike was crushing the industry. The running sneaker category had changed forever thanks to a few years of exposed Air. The Swoosh was enjoying an increasingly tightened grip on the market. But, their development and design teams were still asking questions. Mainly, what was next?
Among the biggest concerns for a brand that finds success is staying power. Were they going to stick to their laurels and keep pumping out the Air? Or was there space to innovate even further?
As you’ve no doubt noticed by now, the footwear game always has space for innovation.
This shoe took the Air concept and added technical depth. Predating Tuned Air, it separated the cushioning into varying compartments. OG heads may recall a plush feeling just under their midfoot when wearing these. That sensation was courtesy of two Air chambers that were set at 5psi. That soft inner layer was bordered by exterior Air chambers measuring in at 25psi.
The result was a noticeably more responsive ride than the Air Max 1. The mix of a softer inner layer with the sturdier outer chambers makes for a balanced setup.
While varying the Air pressure was impressive enough, the design crew took it one step further. The midsole was another note of change on the Air Max2 Light. The original Max2 had an already featherweight single density foam. The Light edition upgraded this to a Phylon layer.
Though we don’t see it as advanced these days, Phylon was remarkable in 1994. EVA pellets were compressed and then expanded with heat before being molded into an incredibly light midsole.
The aesthetic profile was also noteworthy on the Air Max2 Light. In fact, it represented a veering away from runner design norms. Through the 80s, it was a common refrain to pair mesh with overlays of suede or leather. These overlays would often receive most of the color treatments.
The Air Max2 Light differed here by opting to flip that scheme a bit. The leather overlays would normally sit without much in the way of color. Instead, the mesh base would get the visual pop. The result was a base that expressed itself in contrast with muted overlays.
The shoe’s physical build is also a big draw. The obsession with chunky sneakers has been more than just a visual one. It’s also brought back interest in retro runner silhouettes in general. That search for all things chunky footwear has led many sneakerheads back to a glorious time in sneaker history.
Think full coverage and a surprisingly lightweight frame. It’s not quite Flyknit, but the Air Max2 Light weighs a whole lot less than it should. As for fit, you’ll want to go true to size as most Air Max models don’t deviate too much.