June 29, 2022 by Joey Birch
Last year, rumours began to swirl surrounding a retro of the OG Air Max 97 ‘Silver Bullet’, a fan favourite that, at the time it was released, was a huge step forward in Nike’s ‘Air Max’ technology becoming the first sneaker to feature a full-length Air Unit within the midsole. Christian Tresser, who had previously worked in Nike’s ACG branch, took an interesting blend of inspirations when designing the timeless silhouette: the Japanese bullet train for the overall shape and sense of movement in the shoe, waves in a pond for the layered upper and mountain bikes of the final iconic silver colourway.
However, despite popular belief, the gold variant of the Air Max 97 isn’t an original; it was released as part of the Silver Bullet’s first rerelease soon after its debut in 1999 while it was only the OG ‘Silver Bullet’ and the recently retroed ‘Atlantic Blue’ that came out in 1997. However, the gold version of the 97 has been brought back in conjunction with its OG silver counterpart when retroes of the sneaker have released in 2004, 2010, 2017 and 2018.
The gold Air Max 97 (AKA ‘The sneaker that doesn’t rust’) has also been utilised in past releases and collaborations including the CR7 Air Max 97 ‘Patchwork’ from 2018. The designer, Ben Kirschner, took inspiration from Cristiano Ronaldo’s childhood in which his family were only able to afford two pairs of shoes a year: one for school and a second for football. The layered patchwork effect on the upper acts as a reference to when his mother would have to repair his football boots.
The second notable release of the golden sneaker was also in 2018 when Swarovski released both the silver and gold colourways with the entire upper encrusted with crystals.
As we patiently wait for the OG ‘Silver Bullets’ to retro, supposedly set to release around November, sneaker news account Daily Sole (@dailysole) posted images of the 2017 gold AM97 announcing that we can expect to see them return in the Spring of 2023.
At the time of writing this, we are yet to have any form of confirmation from Nike regarding the release of both the silver and gold bullets. However, judging by the rollouts of the 2022 97s we have seen thus far, they may simply hit shelves and surprise us.
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