Nike’s Air Max ‘Pre-Day’ sneaker mixes ’70s looks with earth-friendly tech

A silhouette that takes you back to the old Waffle sole days.

Nike Air Max Pre-Day

“Air Max Pre-Day” sounds like a Christmas-like extension of the corporate holiday that is Air Max Day — but fret not, for it’s just the name of Nike’s newest Air Max sneaker.

The Air Max Pre-Day takes inspiration from the early Waffle sole era of Nike while applying modern-day technology and more sustainable construction. Up top, the new sneaker looks a lot like the OG Waffle Racer, but down low is a sculpted midsole to showcase the Air Max unit. More than 20 percent of Air Max Pre-Day is recycled by weight, including an upper made in large part with 100-percent recycled polyester and suede.

Reductive and circular design are the emphasis for the Air Max Pre-Day, and Nike has removed foam and rubber from the cored-out midsole to decrease weight and “allow consumers to engage with the Air unit unlike ever before.” I’m not sure if that last bit of PR speak refers to how the midsole performs or just how visible it makes the Air Max Unit — but it sure looks awesome either way.


2021’s Air Max is a serious throwback — The Air Max Pre-Day’s outsole pattern ties it even closer to the Waffle soles created out of Bill Bowerman’s workshop. Meanwhile, the upper is a close recreation of the Waffle Racer’s — only with sleeker lines and more sustainable materials.

The vamp and quarter panels, as well as the lining and laces, are all made from 100-percent recycled polyester. 100-percent synthetic suede is then used for the tip, back tab, and tongue overlay. Down low, the midsole uses 75-percent recycled TPU for the unit and 20-percent recycled TPU for the clip beneath it. Rounding things out is an outsole that uses 13-percent Nike Grind rubber, which is quite literally made from trash.

Last year, Nike looked back to the Air Max 90 while creating a new Air Max sneaker that imagined 70 years into the future. This year, the brand channels an era well before Air Max tech was introduced in 1987.


Get your ’70s on next week — Nike will launch the Air Max Pre-Day on Sunday, March 26, otherwise known as Air Max Day. You’ll be able to get it through the SNKRS app and select retailers for $130 — and the first crop of color schemes will be washed out versions of those that originally ran in the ’70s.

Recent Air Max models have ended up quite clunky with the advancement of technology — but these Pre-Days come through smooth as well while bridging past and present.