In the absence of anything official coming from Nike’s football department for Air Max day, custom designer Adrián Rocha has taken it upon himself to give the Mercurial Vapor XII an Air Max Safari makeover, and the results are stunning.

The Mercurial is hardly a silo to miss out on an experimental treatment here and there, but for this radical approach, Rocha, aka @adrianscustoms uses the aesthetics of one of the most popular Air Max releases of all time to give it a brand new flavour. Taking the Air Max 1 ‘Safari’ template, Rocha has faithfully recreated the look on the Mercurial Vapor XII. 

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It features the same stand-out ‘safari’ print on the mudguard and ankle collar, along with the colour of the suede recreated on the rest of the upper. The superb detail of the recreation is captured right down to the miniature Swoosh on the outer toe of the forefoot – something official recreations have sometimes missed in the past – and the addition of some chunky black laces. The soleplate is understandably the only place where the recreation has to stray from the original, but we can forgive that.

The OG Air Max 1 ‘Safari’ was created in collaboration with Japanese label Atmos in 2002, and it combined the Air Max with the Air Safari fifteen years after they were both originally released. The Atmos x Nike Air Max 1 ‘Safari’ went on to become one of the most sought-after shoes in the Air Max series.


Of course this is not the first time the Mercurial has been seen in Safari print. 2010 saw Ronaldo donning the Mercurial Vapor SuperFly II, which was decked out in full safari print, but the painstaking attention to detail that is on display in the Nike Mercurial Vapor x Air Max 1 ‘Safari’ takes its use to another level. Hats off to you Mr Rocha.

You can check out more of @adrianscustoms work here. Happy Air Max day!