MAXXED OUT: @KevykevPublished:
March 26, 2023
In celebration of Air Max Day, we sat down with Kevin Metzler, a Baltimore-based sneakerhead who's been collecting Air Max shoes since 2002. Here's what he had to say...
What made you fall in love with Air Max?
The first thing that caught my eye with Air Maxes was how loud and colorful some of the designs were. The first pair I purchased with my own money was the Atmos "Safari." Talk about out of the ordinary! I was hooked when I saw the mixture of colors added on to the mixture of materials (safari print, canvas, and lush suede)! I have a loud style and taste, and Air Max just spoke to that. The loud, in-your-face colorways always stuck out to me. Don’t get me wrong, I will always have love for the OG colorways, those will always be a necessity to have in the collection. But it’s the crazy pairs that make you go, “does that really work together? Yeah, it really does!” Those are the pairs that really pulled me in. Once I laid eyes on the Parra "Amsterdam," it was no turning back for me. To top it all off, I always loved having the pairs that no one else around had. The exclusivity of a lot of Air Max releases was another piece that drew me in. There’s no feeling like hunting for a pair for years and years, and finally tracking it down.
What does Air Max Day mean to you?
For me, Air Max Day is one of the best holidays. I’ve never been huge on holidays, or celebrating, so Air Max Day is a little special in that sense. Not only is it a great day to commemorate Tinker Hatfield for changing the sneaker world forever, but it also means that crazy Air Max collectors will have a release or two to look forward to. This year especially, the return of the 86 “Big Bubble” has me extra excited to celebrate! 3-4 pair minimum, please!
What's your favorite Air Max Day release?
There are a few Air Max Day releases that stand out for me. Say what you want about the Sean Wotherspoon's, I know there are mixed feelings around them. For me, that shoe is so insanely good. I mean c’mon, a FULL corduroy upper, dripped in pastel colors, paired with a bright, vibrant Air unit, and loud multi-color sole. With or without Sean’s name attached to them, they are hands-down one of the best Air Max Day releases to date. Last year, we saw regional releases for Air Max Day, and the women’s release “Wabi-Sabi” for me was the best of the trio. I was lucky enough to land a pair for retail, even though they didn’t release in my region. Once in-hand, seeing the mix of colors and materials set them above the other two regional releases by a mile. Lastly, 2017 gave us the return of the OG Red and Blue Air Max 1s, as well as the OG blocking on the Obsidian. Paired with the “Masters,” paying homage to many of the most iconic Air Max 1s ever to release, 2017 was one for the book as far as Air Max Day releases are concerned. And this brings us to 2023, with the return of the 86 "Big Bubble,” to say I’m excited for these would be a massive understatement. I’ve gone on record saying I need 3-4 pair and I mean it. Again, a lot of mixed feelings around this drop, and that’s cool by me. It is an absolute must-have, and one for the ages.
Top 3 Air Max models?
This answer likely won’t surprise many, and it probably shows my age when it comes to collecting. Forever and ever, the Air Max 1 is king. There will never be another model that can dethrone the Air Max 1. It’s the icon, it’s the history and the story that comes along with it. Pair that up with the absolutely incredible collabs and colorways that we’ve been lucky enough to see over the years and you have the best silhouette Nike has ever made, and it’s not even close! Following the Air Max 1, we have the Air Max III, aka the Air Max 90. For me, when talking about the greatest shoes of all time created by Nike, you cannot have this conversation and not include the "Infrared" Air Max 90. This is a pair that since 2005 or so, there hasn’t been a moment in my sneaker-collecting years where a pair of "Infrareds" was missing from my collection. This shoe was absolutely perfect because it showed the innovation, while having that OG vibe to it, but just enough of that vibrant color to slap you in the face! Last, but certainly not least, we have the Air Max 95. Again, talking about the hint of OG flavor, but with that dash of vibrant color. The iconic "Neon/Grey" colorway was another instant all-time classic. If you ask 90% of Air Max collectors what are the three most recognizable colorways, you’ll likely hear OG Red Air Max 1, "Infrared" Air Max 90, and "Neon" Air Max 95. Three pairs that will always be in my collection, no matter what.
What are a few Air Max grails you’re trying to get?
This isn’t a fair question, haha! The list goes on and on forever. There will always be more pairs to hunt. I have a “wanted list” in my phone that at any given time probably has 50+ pairs on it. Up until last year, the toughest, longest hunt ever for me was the Patta "Purple Denim" Air Max 1. A shoe that took nearly 10 years to find, in 2022, thanks to a great friend, I finally checked it off the wanted list. Now that that one’s checked off the list, my current top wanted pairs would be the “BRS” Blue Ribbon Sports Air Max 1 from the Powerwall series, 2005. If you ask a lot of heavy Air Max collectors, a lot will say that the "BRS" is regarded as one of the greatest Air Max 1s ever made. It’s been on my list for years as well, but as of late, my need to own it has grown. I will land this pair in 2023, mark my words! Another one that’s haunted me would be the Parra Friends & Family Air Max 1. This pair has a bit of controversy around it, seeing as it does not have a Swoosh on the upper. I personally think it’s incredible. I’m a sucker for the pairs that push the limits and it’s haunted me that I didn’t make a move on them when they were much lower priced. That's another one that I will check off the list in 2023. Again, the list goes on and on, so this is just the top two pairs on my search right now. But a few others would be "Urawa" Air Max 1, "Wing & Waffles" Air Max 1, and the 1999 OG Black Mesh Air Max 1. Ask me again in a month and I’m sure my answer will change.
How many Air Max sneakers do you have and how long have you been collecting?
I started collecting sneakers back in 2002. As a broke 13-year-old, it was pretty limited. My mother refused to spend more than $50 on a pair, knowing I’d outgrow them or destroy them. This is what fueled my passion. I started working in the neighborhood to earn money to buy sneakers. I became obsessed. I was big into Air Jordans and Nike SBs. Fast forward to mid 2003, I came across the Atmos "Safari," the first Air Max I ever purchased. It changed everything for me. I couldn’t believe how comfortable they were on my feet the first time I put them on. It was the pair that really made me fall in love with Air Maxes as a whole. Current day and time, I have cut way back on my collection. I was running out of room in the house, shoes were literally everywhere. About 3-4 years ago, I made a conscious choice to strictly collect Air Max 1s (although, I still have a few other classics at all times). There were times I was above 300 or so pairs in the collection. It was getting out of hand, so I made the decision to stick with 1 model. Currently I have around 100 pair of Air Max 1s, and overall collection probably around 115 pairs or so.
Follow Kevin on Instagram @kevykev to keep up with his collection. And be sure to head over to DTLR.com to shop the latest Air Max styles.