Nike Air Max 90

9.7 score
[Editors rating (9.7) + Users rating (9.4)] / 2 = (WalkJogRun) score (9.7)/10

Editor rating: 9.7 / 10
User's rating: based on 25 user ratings
1 star
2 star
3 star
4 star
5 star
Add your Rating
Nike Air Max 90 Review Facts

Nike reached back to the 90’s and resurrected what was originally called the Nike Air Max III. They have kept the basic feel and style, but in wanting to do their fans justice they upgraded the functionality to provide added quality to already good running shoes.

The upgraded Nike Air Max 90 is a retro running shoe has found favor in the shoe industry.

Many runners have not only opted to use this shoe for running, walking and jogging, but as a work and play shoe. Others see its value as a collector’s item and put this sneaker on reserve as solely a fashion item. No matter how you see it, just know that it is a comfortable shoe made by a very reputable company.

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • Several styles available
  • Traction promoting features
  • Additional cushioning
  • Reasonably priced
  • Looks retro, feels modern
  • Width runs narrow
  • Feels heavy


Nike’s Air Max 90 has a thick, hearty outsole. Its unique tread pattern fosters traction at times you need it the most. It should be noted, however, that the pattern may not be aggressive enough to meet the needs of rugged trail runners, so use caution. There were not any complaints or issues found with runners losing their grip on wet or smooth surfaces. So it is probably safe to experience a variety of terrains. Nike uses a very strong rubber which is not vulnerable to excessive wear and tear. You also have a very sturdy platform with this outsole.


Nike uses a traditional Air Sole engineering to cushion the midsole. While they did reduce the size a little, it still retains its thick and luxurious feel so you do not have to suffer due to poor shock absorbency. Instead, you have the protection you need each time your feet strike the ground. Another interesting aspect of this foam is that it embraces the contour of your feet to provide you with a fit catered to you specifically.


Although we are focusing primarily on the leather upper style, the Air Max 90 comes in many different styles, color schemes, and materials. It features a low cut style, with lighter materials integrated into the design to promote breathability. Some styles are definitely more breathable than others, but the leather upper does offer a degree of airflow. There is also a padded collar and adjustable front lacing system for a more secure fit. You might also appreciate the padded tongue which makes for a more comfortable fit.


No actual weight specifications could be found, but it is safe to say this is a pretty compact shoe. In order to keep the retro feel and make it more functional for you, Nike added a few additional materials which unfortunately meant adding more weight. While it is certainly not a heavy shoe that will weigh you down, it is considerably heavier than what you would expect from modern high performance sneakers. The weight by no means detract from the comfort this sneaker provides.


While the Air Max 90 Leather excels in many areas, it does have its limits when it comes to breathability. You do get some airflow through perforated areas and regions reinforced with synthetic materials that have a tendency to be lighter and more breathable. For the most part, however, it does not fare well with air circulating to the feet. Many brands rectify this issue by using more breathable materials like mesh, but, in keeping true to the original design and feel, Nike used leather and suede with hints of mesh. This means you may want to consider another running shoe if your area tends to be very hot.


If asked about the comfort factor of the Nike Air Max 90, most runners would agree it rocks in a major way. Part of this response would be warranted due to the added cushion. Extra cushion is found around the collar and in the form of a textured tongue which protects the feet. There is also a luxurious midsole which supports and cushions each step. A specialized midsole also meets the needs and contour of each unique foot so that each runner has a personalized fit. The upper in conjunction with the lacing system is also form fitting so runners don’t have to be concerned with sliding feet and heel slippage. Additionally, runners have an outsole which provides a lighter fit. The Air Max 90’s tend to run true to size but can run narrow in terms of width.


The style of the Air Max 90 is very reminiscent of the 1990’s athletic shoes. What you get is the retro mixed with some contemporary accents and flavors. Many fans are raving about this shoe mostly because of its throwback design, however. You do have a chunkier shoe which is so unlike high performance sneakers today. This is what makes the Air Max so desirable-it’s different. The logos, tabs, and upper all contribute to the retro look which has become very popular in today’s fashion world. The style when combined with an awesome pair of jeans really give you a complete look that appeals to today’s audience.


When Nike began designing the Air Max 90, durability had to be at the forefront of the vision for this sneaker. There are so many factors built in to protect you as the wearer. First, you have the thick outer sole which is strong enough to form a secure barrier between your feet and what you may come across on the road. It is also resilient to accelerated wear and tear that can come from abrasives and just simple everyday use. Also, compared to other materials used in the more contemporary styles, the upper is quite durable. Nike uses a material combination which has proven to be strong and scratch resistant. In the larger scheme of things, you will get many miles out of the Nike Air Max 90.


The most prominent feature providing protection to Nike Air Max 90 wearers is the Air Max padding. Nike incorporated this translucent compartment to increase the responsiveness and shock absorbency provided to runners and walkers alike. This means a reduction in the amount of force absorbed by your joints and a possible reduction in running-related injuries. You also have added protection against losing your footing due to the tread on the outsole. And don’t forget the added cushion which works hard to protect you from friction and bruising.


One of the many advantages to having a thick midsole and an outsole with a built in Air Max system is the excellent shock absorbency and added bounce you have should you take this shoe of a jog or slow run. You probably won’t get a tremendous amount of responsiveness however if you are working on building up speed or activities that require quick transitions. It is a durable shoe however that will spare putting extra pressure on joints during long walks and jogs. Many relate the extra cushiony feel to walking on a cloud.


Part of the comfort the Air Max 90 brings, stems from it being able to provide a good source of support. Starting with the traditional front lacing, you get the added benefit of being able to adjust the tightness as needed. Added cushion in the uppers also does its part to make sure your feet are snug and not arbitrarily moving around. The midsole works collaboratively with the rest of the shoe design to keep you grounded and supported where you need it the most.


This is a collector’s item for those who treasure the value found in its retro style. Although it has been built to handle terrains that are common to road running, it can almost be classified as a fashion shoe for many. This is because most trainers don’t purchase it for high performance workouts. It’s mostly a fashion statement and a sneaker you wear to hang out in your favorite jeans. They have an attraction to dirt. If you don’t want these to get dirty, muddy and hazardous areas are not desirable. Anyways, the traction is not built for those types of surfaces. However, if you do decide to try these out for walking, jogging, gyms, and short runs then the Air Max 90 will not let you down.


Fortunately, the Air Max 90 is priced to meet most budgets depending on the style. Some of the styles are quite affordable while others can be relatively expensive. There are special editions of the Air Max 90 which can be even pricier, but most customers do not complain about the costs. You also have the option of designing your own sneaker and putting your personality into it. This will be a little costlier, but rewarding. It is a durable, comfortable shoe which does what Nike intended for it to do. It could be a worthy investment to add to your collection and workout regimen.


At its very core, the Air Max 90 is a road running shoe. As such, it engineered to provide the right amount of traction for paved roads, tracks, and even smooth surfaces. Although, the tread pattern facilitates your feet being able to grip various surfaces, it is not an all terrain running sneaker. Therefore you should not expect for it to be a high performer on non-traditional surfaces like rugged trails and high loose gravel zones. If you use it the way it was intended you will have ample traction.


The Air Max is probably not the most flexible shoe in the world. This in part is due to the outsole and probably the air max cushioning on the heel. It’s really built for durability versus flexibility. We must also consider that the leather used in it is not as pliable as other materials. This does not mean there is not enough flexibility to enjoy a nice walk, jog, or short distance run. Some customers reported that these were not designed for speed or crossfit training. However, with the built in flex grooves you will get a comfortable, durable shoe which works with you natural foot movement.


The Nike Air Max 90 has many features which provide stability. One of those features is the midsole. Added cushion and a more durable construction really help stabilize the feet and compensate for various running gaits. This effect is magnified when you throw in the adjustable updated lacing system and an upper which molds around the feet for added stability. This is really an added benefit Nike may or may not have planned. For you however, it works in your favor if you are looking for a shoe which may provide a level of correction for pronation issues.


Outside of a visual inspection and consideration of the construction, there is nothing to document the actual heel to toe drop. Just from looking at it, it is safe to say that you are looking at a 10mm to 12mm drop. If you prefer a minimalist feel this is probably not the shoe for you. One clue is the substantial amount of cushioning present. Another giveaway is the Max Air which has been included on the heel to give you a significant higher heel offset and added cushion. An offset of this sort is going to really cater to and feel most comfortable on heel strikers and mid-foot strikers.

Key Features

● Air Max Cushing on the heel
● Retro style
● Thick midsole
● Unique tread pattern on sole
● Upper based on 1990’s running sneaker
● Rubber sole


The bottom line is this is a collector’s shoe which has been reasonably priced to meet both the runner and the fashion connoisseur’s expectations. A bold retro feel makes this sneaker incredibly accepted from a fashion perspective. Although it possesses a strong fashion appeal for many, its upgraded functionality and comfort gives it an added appeal for runners, walkers, and those who are looking for an everyday sneaker. If you love collecting vintage shoes, this is probably a good investment. On the same token, if you are just looking for a comfortable, lightweight, and durable sneaker to work out in or even to wear to work every day you could also benefit by purchasing a pair of Nike Air Max 90’s.