The Nike Air Max 90 FlyEase and the incredible story behind it


Photo: Nike

The Air Max 90 FlyEase is Nike’s latest sneaker that combines one of their most iconic silhouettes with their FlyEase technology. Created by brothers, Tinker and Tobie Hatfield, the shoe was made to celebrate 30 years of the Air Max 90, and create a version that would be easy to put on and accessible to everyone.

The Nike Air Max 90 FlyEase has the same mesh and leather upper as the original Air Max 90, and the same TPU accents around the laces. Where this model differs from the standard Air Max 90 however, is the brand new heel, which is designed to collapse when pressure is put on it, allowing the wearer to slide their feet in as if it was a slipper. Once their foot is in, it will pop back up to ensure that the fit is secure.

For the last few years Nike has produced easy to lace versions of classic shoes, so that anyone, no matter their physical condition, can take part in sneaker culture independently. This was achieved by a 16 year old named Matt Walzer who got in contact with Nike, telling them that because of his cerebral palsy, he was unable to tie his shoe laces, so to help him achieve his goal of becoming fully self-sufficient, could they create a shoe with a closure system that allowed anyone to put them on by themselves. Famous Nike designer, Tobie Hatfield, had already been working on this idea, but thanks to the letter, he was given the go ahead to design a shoe with FlyEase, as the closure system came to be known, for the masses. Since Walzer’s letter in 2012, Nike has been consistently producing FlyEase versions of their classic shoes, recently creating an Air Jordan 1 FlyEase that sold out no different to the original model, consequently allowing more people to not only be able to put on their own shoes, but also to be able to experience the beauty of sneakers with everyone else. 

For the Air Max 90 FlyEase, the Hatfield brothers had set their sites on making the shoe even easier to put on. What they wanted to do was replace the straps and wires on a traditional FlyEase sneaker, for a system that didn’t require any hands. Their new collapsible heel allows the wearer to slip into the sneaker with minimal fuss, whilst keeping the classic look of the Air Max 90 intact. Tinker and Tobie hadn’t set out to make a brand new version of the Air Max 90, rather they had set out to make the smallest and most practical adjustment to it, that would make it accessible to anyone.

The Nike Air Max 90 FlyEase is currently available in pink and blue, triple-white or white and gold, and seems to have been popular so far. There have been a few complaints about the heel, however this seems to stem from a lack of knowledge of the reasoning behind it, as once people are filled in on its purpose, the response seems to be overwhelmingly positive. If you are interested in a pair, they are now available from Nike’s online store and will cost you $120.