Nike has not been shy with ‘retro’-ing its classic silhouettes so by now, anyone who calls himself a sneakerhead should be well versed in the entire Air Max catalog. Thinking back on all the colorways of the Air Max 1, 90, 95, and 97 that have released and all the other in-betweeners that have dropped by here and there, such a vast quantity of shoes deserves its own classification system because it’s becoming unnervingly easy to overlook some classics that, unfortunately, will never release ever again. Case in point: the Air Max 120. It’s hard to describe a shoe that looks like a hybrid between a spider, a gazelle, and one of James Cameron’s aliens with a forefoot midsole design that looks as if the concrete you’re relentlessly pounding is trying to absorb itself into the shoe, much like Venom’s symbiote skin looking for a host.
The Nike Air Max 120 debuted in 1998-99 and was designed by Richard Clarke who is now the Creative Director for Nike Sportswear. Simply put, the man knew what he was doing. The Air Max 120 featured a full 360 Max Air on the heel but with an altered cushioning unit – you won’t see those trademark “holes” in these – and was the first Nike shoe that toyed with color sublimation, or the gradient-style colorways seen in this pair and in every other jaw-dropping and head-turning colorway of the AM120. The Air Max 120 fell in the Nike Air Max era that ditched the production year suffix and embarked upon the Tuned Air voyage, but aside from the ambiguous nomenclature and apparent focus on other projects, the Nike Air Max 120 can be picked out of a line-up by anyone who calls himself an Air Max nut. Unfortunately, it would be the last time we would see the shoe because a retro hasn’t occurred nor should we see one in the near future.