With the 4th of July passing in relative anonymity this year due to our continued fight against COVID-19, let’s look back on one of the biggest sneaker stories of last year: Nike’s “Betsy Ross” Air Max 1.

It’s been one year since Nike axed its Independence Day-themed Air Max, which caused quite a stir both in the sneaker community and within the mainstream news cycle. The sneaker featured the original Betsy Ross-designed flag with the original 13 stars, representing the country’s 13 original colonies.

While the sneaker was intended to be an homage to America’s independence, the flag also represents an era in American history when slavery was common practice and racial oppression was rampant. After conferring within the company–and receiving feedback from Nike ambassador Colin Kaepernick–Nike quickly cancelled the release. This Air Max 1 remains one of the most controversial sneakers ever.

The 4th of July, while never reaching Christmas heights in terms of sneaker sales and overall hype, has always been an important time for sneaker companies to capitalize on the midsummer holiday and release patriotic kicks. The Stars & Stripes have covered everything from Nike Air Force 1s, to adidas Ultra Boosts, to Puma Suedes over the years. Collaboration between sneakers and Independence Day is nothing new, but last year was the first time it made mainstream headlines.

No online retailer has the same breadth and depth of selection as Grailed. From Oregon-exclusive Jordans to adidas Kobes (and everything in between)–in no particular order, these are our picks for Grailed’s Sneaker Stories of the Week.

Follow Stephen on Twitter here.

Tags: kobe-bryant, adidas, new-balance-990, new-balance, kith, asics, awake-ny, sb-dunk, nike-sb, vans-new-era, vans, fear-of-god, jordan-8, octobers-very-own, ovo, jordan-5, jordan-brand, jordan-3, nike, sneakers, sneaker-stories, rarest-sneakers