Review of the Nike Air VaporMax flyknit running shoe
In preparation for its release on March 26, we tried out Nike Air VaporMax running shoes. Get a pair of these. (Spoiler: You’ll want them.)
Air Max Day, as Nike has named the day in commemoration of Air Max 1, falls this Saturday, March 26, an occasion when Nike will release its latest and greatest sneaker, the Nike Air VaporMax. Nike has spent the last seven years developing the highly anticipated Air VaporMax (available March 26 at nike.com for $190). The VaporMax was a marvel of engineering and a delight to run in, as we can confirm after running in them for well over 40 miles a week since we tested them out last week during a 5K run in New York City. Nike Air Vapormax.
The VaporMax features several notable innovations, including being the lightest and most flexible Air Max model, combining a Flyknit upper with a full-length Air unit, and being the lightest Air Max running shoe to date. Why are all these things happening?
In the shoe industry, form-fitting usually refers to knit uppers, but that term couldn’t be more appropriate here. You’re unlikely to find sock-like footwear as close as the VaporMax. Flyknit on the VaporMax is slimmer than Flyknit on some other Nike models with Flyknit uppers. In addition to being incredibly comfortable, the Flywire cabling, which runs along the side of your foot, really helps to enclose the Flyknit upper around your feet. (One sizing tip: If your feet are wide, you may want to size up as this shoe tends to fit narrower.)
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We need to be very clear here: the VaporMax require some breaking in before you will feel comfortable running in them. The full-length Air sole unit is unlike anything we’ve ever run in before—the entire sole is filled with air and thus, it’s completely see through. The traditional foam midsole cushioning you find in most running shoes is not present here and your feet sit directly on top of the Air sole. As expected, the full-length Air sole has a lot of bounce to them, but it’s a little firmer than you would expect. The Air sole was created to flex with the natural motion of your foot, and you will notice that certain areas have more cushioning. These seem to be ideal for mid-foot strikers, as the impact feels more evenly distributed while running. There is a noticeable amount of extra cushioning in the heel area, so heel strikers are covered here as well. Nike Air Vapormax.
If you need any extra ankle or heel support, you won’t find much here as the upper is about as minimal as it gets. But we found the VaporMax to be very stable to run in at all speeds and on different surfaces. However, if you are a severe under or overpronator, they may not provide the stability that you need to run. We wouldn’t attempt to run a marathon in these shoes, but would have no reservations about using them in a shorter race such as a 10K.
When hitting pavement for the first time, you’ll feel the sole grip the ground as you run thanks to the TPU lugs integrated into the bottom of the Air sole. It’s a unique sensation that felt a little odd at first, but you’ll get used to it after running a few miles in them. The VaporMax shines on a track surface, and it offers better traction than any other shoe we’ve ever tested. If you run on a lot of tough surfaces or in less than favorable conditions, the incredible traction could be particularly helpful for you. Nike Air Vapormax.
We do have some concerns over the durability of the Air sole, but so far they’ve stood up to the pounding of concrete and pavement. Nike integrated rubber pods into high impact areas (mainly in the heel and in the forefoot area) of the shoe to help with durability. Kathy Gomez, Nike’s vice president of innovation, claims that it’s more durable than the typical rubber outsoles used in most running shoes. Gomez also told us that they had 350 testers run a combined 126,000 miles in these shoes, which averages out to 360 miles per shoe. Nike Air Vapormax.
When it was released in 1987, the Air Max technology was innovative. During the month of March, Nike has released a variety of Air Max shoes but even those special shoes were just a lead-up to the VaporMax release on March 26. At its most basic, the VaporMax is essentially just a full-length Air sole and a Flyknit upper. Nike managed to get the VaporMax down to about 8.5 oz, and it is incredibly light and bouncy. The designers and engineers at Nike set out to create a shoe that was like walking on air, and while they didn’t completely hit that mark, they largely succeeded with the VaporMax.