Nike ‘Air Max 95 Atlanta’ launches for Atlanta’s 404 day

This week, Atlanta is getting its own Nike Air Max sneaker.

Just in time to celebrate 404 Day (April 4), four local boutiques — Walter’s in Downtown, Wish ATL in Little Five Points, Sole Play ATL in Decatur and A Ma Manière on the Westside — are partnering with Nike to release the Air Max 95 Atlanta. The signature shoe will run you $185 and will be available for purchase at the participating shops on April 3 and online via the Nike SNKRS app, April 4.

The NIke Air Max 95 Atlanta Edition
Nike partnered with four local boutiques for a signature sneaker drop in celebration of 404 Day. (Photo: Nike) Credit: Nike

The Atlanta version of the classic running shoe comes in ash grey with hues of red and orange along the side. Nodding to the city seal, there’s a phoenix arising from just above the letters ATL. In describing the inspiration and design behind the shoe, Nike said the process involved input from all four boutiques with a goal to “bring some ATL flavor to the ‘90s track aesthetic.”

It’s not the first collaboration between the shoe giant and Atlanta’s local sneaker community. Last year, for 404 Day, the brand released the Dunk Low ATL as a part of their Hip-Hop 50 celebrations, which also included local retailers. In years prior to the most recent 404 Day release, Nike released the Air Trainer SC High Atlanta ‘96 Olympics and Air More Uptempo ATL. Both efforts came about because of local sneaker groups and influencers such as Senor Kaos. There was also a recent drop from Nike with Morehouse and Spelman.

For the store owners and influencers involved in bringing the Air Max 95 Atlanta to fruition, it marks a change in how corporate entities based outside the city show that they value its culture and grassroots movements.

The Air Max 95 Atlanta is the latest collaboration between the sneaker giant and the city's creative community.
The Air Max 95 Atlanta is the latest collaboration between the sneaker giant and the city’s creative community. (Photo: Nike)

“Larger corporations have designers sitting inside of their buildings and designing from a desk rather than coming down to the city and tapping in with people,” said local sneaker influencer K.O. from the community-focused online group Addicted to All Things Fresh (ATATF). Since 2010, ATATF’s members have been sharing their love for sneakers, fashion, food, music and pop culture trends. What started locally now has an international member base.

What’s different this time around is the amount of collaboration between the local shops owners, sneaker influencers and Nike, he says. Nike reps and designers spent a week in town in January 2023, each day spending time with one of the four shops. K.O. served one of the guides. They visited different restaurants, monuments and even dropped by the Trap Music Museum. At one point, they hung out and had a barbecue at the Home Depot Backyard with local sneakerheads, creatives, shop owners and others who shared their stories about life in Atlanta.

Though initial feedback has been good, K.O. knows that not everyone in the city will universally love the shoe, and that’s OK. The impact of how it came together is more important.

“Was everything done on this shoe perfectly? No, but that comes with the territory in regard to red tape and things of that nature,” he said. “As we continue to get these things and show up and showcase and show our support, it loosens up the red tape.”

The shop owners who offered insight and input on the shoe’s design share K.O.’s sentiment. In a video on the Nike SNKRS app K.O. delivers the finished product to the staff and teams at the participating boutiques.

For TJ Bennett, co-owner of Sole Play in Decatur, when he saw it, he knew that his time spent chopping it up with the Nike team paid off. “From the stories that we told them, from the experiences that we showed them, it ultimately created what you see today as the Air Max 95 Atlanta,” he said.

Each shop is involved with a neighborhood-focused program through Nike. Walter’s, the longtime community staple; woman-owned Wish ATL; Black-owned A Ma Maniére; and Sole Play, a sneaker/gaming hybrid shop, are known within metro Atlanta as third spaces for the city’s creatives. The hope is that longtime local customers will be the first to get their 10 toes into a coveted pair, just in time for 404 Day.

Bennett, who opened SolePlay’s flagship store in Lawrenceville in 2014, said that though the legendary Olympic-inspired Air Trainer collaboration was a hit and involved his favorite Nike sneaker, this release now sits atop his list. “We literally built that shoe from the ground up, and it resonates so deeply with the city,” he said.

To celebrate the Air Max release, the shops are throwing a launch party on Thursday at producer Mike Will Made-It’s Wxllxm Culture Center near the Atlanta University Center. Visitors must purchase the shoes to gain entry and can wait to get theirs. Folks lucky enough to have already snagged a pair can skip the line altogether.

The amount of available kicks is unclear, though both K.O and Bennett insist it’s more than has been previously provided. Bennett also says that the rollout, response and buzz around the shoe’s release is good business for Atlanta.

“Even if it’s not necessarily for collaboration — it might be for guidance on what’s hot, what’s not hot, or what’s the future looking like for street wear and sneakers,” he said, adding, “they’ll definitely lean on our opinion a little bit more than usual.


Air Max 95 Atlanta 404 Day Launch Party

The Wxllxm Culture Center, 874 Joseph E. Lowery Blvd NW, Atlanta.

Want to get your hands on a pair of the Air Max 95 Atlanta? These local shops will be carrying the kicks:

Walter’s Clothing

66 Decatur St. SE., Atlanta. 404-688-8859.

Sole Play ATL

106 E Ponce de Leon Ave., Decatur. 404-600-8400; 1956 Duluth Hwy Ste. B108, Lawrenceville. 770-682-7999.

Wish ATL

447 Moreland Ave NE, Atlanta. 404-880-0402.

A Ma Maniére

969 Marietta St. NW #200, Atlanta. 678-973-2116,

This story comes to Rough Draft through a content partnership with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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