The Nike Air Mariah Sets The Pace

If Nike was a marriage celebrant, it would certainly recognise its pairings of running footwear innovation and naming shoes after strong females.

Not long after choosing the Greek goddess of victory as the company name, Nike made the Air Mariah the debutante at the Moscow marathon trials in 1980. Dressed in an unassuming beige and black nylon mesh upper, it bore close visual resemblance to the Eagle – but inside was the industry’s worst kept secret. The Air Mariah took 1978’s game-changing Air Tailwind one step further and gave runners the protection of full-length air unit encapsulated along the midsole.

Mariah’s results spoke for itself – the sub 200g shoe was the reason the women’s marathon record became sub 2:30 that year. Legendary long-distance runner Alberto Salazar wore them to his third consecutive New York Marathon victory in 1982.

nike mariah vintage

Other athletes would straddle statutory sponsorship requirements and run in crudely unbranded Air Mariahs that had swooshes torn off, simply on the basis it was that good of a racing flat. These beliefs were backed up in the lab too, with tests revealing more efficient oxygen consumption running in the Air Mariah.

A serious shoe for serious runners, the Air Mariah had its next major update in 1988, with the oft-referenced Air Mariah PR. A flagship shoe of the newly-formed track-and-field collective Nike International, the uppers were updated to a close-fitting nylon and microfiber upper atop a plusher two-tone sole unit. It was also one of the first appearances of the textbook Ultramarine colourway for the Swoosh.

Bright colours and further refinement followed suit into the 1990s, with the release of the 1992 edition of the Air Mariah. Incremental updates came well into the close of the decade, with the Zoom Mariah, utilising the next generation of encapsulated Zoom Air.

nike mariah vintage=

The advent of high-tech footwear in the early 2000s with the highly innovative Alpha Project meant the Mariah line was relatively primitive. Despite a quiet backstage left exit, running aficionados yearned for something as simple and effective as the Air Mariah. Prayers were flirted with briefly in 2010, with a small retro batch of Mariah PRs; the Ultramarine colourway was teased on a Lunar-soled rendition also.

Now, two decades later, Mariah reprises the namesake of Nike’s next cutting-edge running-flavoured shoe in the tongue-twisting Nike Air Zoom Mariah Flyknit Racer. Drawing design cues from the 1988 Air Mariah PR, Nike's latest performance running concepts have been adapted for the streets. Release details due shortly…

The Nike Air Zoom Mariah Flyknit, Duel Racer & Dualtone for men & women are coming soon to Hype DC

nike mariah=