Nike Air was first introduced 1979’s and since then this cushion technology was bread & butter for Nike brand. Air Max quickly became an irreplaceable part of basketball, running, tennis and even of lifestyle sneakers – they started to use Air everywhere.
In this month, we’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Air Max – the innovation that forever changed whole sneaker game. To celebrate Air Max day, Nike made one of the biggest breathtaking sneaker events all around the world – it was super DOPE (shame that I didn’t have a chance to visit one of them).
But the most awaited part of the Air Max anniversary was the release of highly anticipated and most hyped sneaker – Nike Air Vapormax with completely redesigned Air Max cushion setup. I was blessed with a pair of them (shout out to my friend), so today I’m giving you my Nike Air Vapormax Performane Review!
Can they beat BOOST? Let’s find out!
Weight: 249.4 g. / 8.8 oz
Tech: ZOOM AIR, FLYWIRE
Type: Low Top
Fit: True To Size
Retail Price: $190
BD Rating: 8.5/10
The Nike Vapormax has very similar upper to the Nike Flyknit Racer yet they felt completely different. The Vapormax has super light Flyknit upper with Fuse overlays in high wear areas. Starting from the toe box – we have the loose knit pattern for superb breathability, but the knit actually gets tighter as it goes towards the heel area, where the knit pattern become super tight and with thick Fuse layer makes something similar to the external heel cup.
The upper is amazingly soft & comfortable. I always was a big fan of Flyknit cuz it offers unbeatable comfort feel and it just so so light material – but the Vapormax is a whole new level. When you lace them up, the upper hugs your foot nicely and gives you that awesome, almost seamless one-to-one fit. I mean, they weigh only 8.8 ounces, so it’s hard to even feel them on feet. I don’t know how Nike was able to put together such a light weight shoe, but this sh*t is amazing. It seems like they are lighter than your socks – just kidding. LOL
Now let’s talk about the most hyped aspect of the shoe – the new revolutionary Air cushioning technology. As you can see there isn’t really a midsole to this shoe – there’s just a couple different thin plastic plates that hold these giant Air units, crazy right? The thing that makes the Vapormax so special is that there’s basically nothing in between your foot and the Air units, so it’s really does feel like you are walking on clouds.
However, when I first tried this shoe on I was really expecting the same experience that I had when I first tried the adidas Ultra BOOST, which was – Oh my goodness!! I’ve got to be honest with you guys, I thought that the Vapormax will be a really great competitor to the Ultra Boost. Unfortunately, they aren’t…
Unlike previous Nike models that have used Air units, Vapormax is apparently more advanced because what Nike did is they strategically placed Air units in places where it’s most effective. In addition, the forefoot Air units are smaller than the heel units, so you’re getting more impact protection in the heel and less in forefoot. Although, when I first started walking around this shoe, it took me a little bit of time to get used to it because certain parts of the outsole felt really unstable, especially the medial side of heel area. I my opinion, Nike had overdone it – I never thought I will say that but at some point I felt that the heel unit was too soft and squishy for me (maybe it just because I’m a heavy guy). Still, you’re getting remarkable impact protection as soon as you touch the ground. I don’t feel like the Vapormax is suitable for running, but I 100% positive that they are perfect for casual wear – cloud like ride guaranteed.
One more thing, the rubber that encases the Air units is very thick & strong, so you shouldn’t have any durability problems at all – don’t worry the Air units are not going to blow, unless you like jumping on glass shards.
We have a pretty interesting traction pattern. As you can see, there’s a lot of dead space in between the Air units where your feet have no contact with the ground, so you need to have really solid traction on the small amount of surface area. Surprisingly, Nike pulled that off. Thick rectangles implemented on the outsole rubber actually gripped the ground nicely – I didn’t have any slippage problems whatsoever. You’re good to go on any surface – they got you covered.
On top of that, after a week of using them, I couldn’t see any signs of wear and tear – so the overall durability of the outsole is pretty great.
The Nike Vapormax is extremely light and super flexible shoe – it offers that lovely custom fit and the upper doesn’t restrict your natural feel movements – It feels like you’re actually wearing socks with some Air underneath. If you asked me, the Vapormax made the way in my top most comfortable sneakers of all time. Of course, after the adidas Ultra Boost – they are still unbeatable.
Also, we have knitted collar which covers your ankle like a pullover – I had zero problems putting them on or off due to very stretchable material. So it doesn’t matter if you have a big or wide foot, you will put them on with no problems.
Let’s talk about sizing real quick. If you have a wide foot like me, you should go ½ up since this model runs a little bit narrow. Now for others I recommend going true to size to get that perfect one-to-one fit.
I will be short with this because they actually don’t have any support features. What we got is Flywire setup which holds your foot in the right position. Flywire strings help you to pull that tight fit and at the same time it secures your foot from rolling out of the footbed. As you can see, the last string goes towards the heel, so when you lace them up the last Flyknit string pushes your foot into the heel cup. Still, I was pretty happy with what they can offer in the support section (talking about the upper).
Now, talking about the outsole – it’s a completely different story. As I mentioned before, the Vapormax doesn’t feature a midsole – not also it sounds crazy but it actually feels crazy. You see, there isn’t any stable surface in between your foot and those huge and super squishy Air units – for the first two days I was wobbling around like a men with high heels on 😀 The struggle was real… BUT when I finally learnt how to properly walk with them (it took me a few days), the Vapormax became my second nature. I will say it again – it feels like you’re walking on clouds.
The main question is – are they better than Ultra Boosts? The answer is NO. In my opinion, BOOST technology is still in #1 place due to beastly impact protection, solid support and the ability to just kick back your energy. However, Nike made a huge step forward in the process to compete with the adidas main model. So, if Nike will fix some of the issues with that “Revolutionary” Air cushion setup, then the next model of Vapormax could possibly be as great as the adidas UltraBoost.
Nonetheless, I really really recommend you to pick them up. I know, they are supper hard to get – The Vapormax was sold out in the first release day. Although, Nike will release the new colorways very soon – just be patient. So, if you have a chance to grab them – just don’t hesitate. Especially, the summer is coming out, so the Vapormax is the perfect rotation sneaker due to great breathability, amazing comfort and overall lightness of the shoe. They are really unique – you need to have them.
Hope you enjoyed my Performance Review on the NIKE AIR VAPORMAX. Will you be picking them up? Let me know!
If you have any questions don’t hesitate to comment down below!