Throwback Thursday: The History of the Nike Air Money
By Drew Hammell
In the grand scheme of ‘90s basketball shoes, few people would place the Nike Air Money Lo as their favorite. For one thing, not many NBA stars wore them on the court. For another, the design was just a little too out there for most people’s taste (and that’s saying a lot considering how wild designs were back then). Over the past few years, however, the sneaker community has been chattering more and more about bringing the Air Money back. Fortunately, Nike has been listening (and they added a notable upgrade). Here’s a look back at the Air Money Lo and the curious journey it’s taken.
Releasing in 1996, the Air Money Lo featured a full-grain leather and Durabuck upper with ballistic mesh, and a durable polyurethane midsole with a visible heel Air-Sole unit. The most distinct characteristic of the Money was its shroud cover with side lacing system – one of the most unconventional systems ever designed for a basketball shoe. It’s worth mentioning that the sole on the Money was the exact same one used on the Nike Air Much Uptempo. While the Air Much Uptempo has yet to retro, its big brother, the Air More Uptempo certainly has. With max volume visible Air-Sole units in the heel, midfoot and forefoot, the More Uptempo has received all the attention over the years.
There were two big NBA names that rocked the Air Money back in ’96 – Ray Allen and Reggie Miller. The young rookie Allen wore a white/black/dark cypress colorway to match his Milwaukee Bucks uniform, while the veteran Miller rocked the white/navy version on the Pacers. After that season, the Air Money virtually disappeared from everyone’s minds, except a select few hardcore sneakerheads.
Over the past few years, old photos of Allen and Miller in the Money have surfaced on social media and the Internet. Along with the photos, some of the OG sneaker collectors have dusted off their Air Moneys and posted online as well. As more and more people talked about the Money, interest has obviously grown. There was still no sign of a retro until a revamped model surfaced last August. VICELAND’s Desus and Mero showed off a strange new version of the Air Money – a customized model with a swappable shroud and an Air More Uptempo sole instead of the OG sole.
Several months later in October ‘17, New Jersey shop Sneaker Room created a Breast Cancer Awareness version in three limited edition pink-accented colorways. These models were just the beginning of a batch of new colorways for the Air Money, all with the swapped out Air More Uptempo sole.
Reviews have been positive for the upgraded Air Money (now officially called the Air More Money because of the new souped-up sole). It was a shoe perhaps ahead of its time in 1996, but it suits modern-day sneakerheads well in this day and age. Watch out for more fresh colors releasing in the coming months, including the black/metallic silver on 4/13.
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