By Rozalynn S. Frazier
Nike debuted its Air Max sneaker in 1987, featuring a visible air-cushioning unit in the sole designed to absorb shock and—more importantly, some may say—look really freakin’ cool. Over the years, Nike has retooled and reimagined the innovative design, releasing dozens of versions of the now-iconic shoe that’s beloved by sneakerheads and athletes alike. A variety of new Air Max shoes are now available on Nike.com, and on March 25—one day before Air Max Day—Nike will release a running shoe called the Air VaporMax. Ahead of its release, fitness editors like me were invited to log a few miles in the shoe, which is about 7 years in the making.
This latest silhouette features plush Air Max cushioning across the entire foot and Nike’s ultra-flexible Flyknit upper. The first thing I noticed when I put the shoes on was how comfortable they felt. I took a few bounces in them, and was also impressed by their light-as-a-feather feel. As I started my run, I was amazed by how bouncy they felt—it was as though I had lined up a bunch of trampolines and leapt from one to the next. Another standout feature: the grip. Surprisingly, those air bags on the soles really grab the ground. On a snowy, icy, or even rainy day, that would be an awesome feature.
There’s one potential downside to this shoe: The price. At $190, the Air VaporMax is pretty expensive. But, you can be assured that the shoe is built to last. During its initial testing phrase, more than 350 runners put 126,000 miles on these babies in a variety of climates and across myriad surfaces. Basically, Nike tried to kick this shoe’s butt. Kathy Gomez, vice president of Nike Innovation, claims your first mile and 1,000th mile will feel exactly the same in the Air VaporMax.
The bottom line: If you are a fan of Nike Air, are in the market for a new pair of kicks, and are cool with a bit of a splurge, then I would definitely consider these. They’re light, bouncy, and flexible—and they have 30 years of design innovation behind them. Sounds like a winner to us!