Best Nike Air Max Shoes Reviewed & Rated
Of course, not all Nike Air Max shoes are created equal. While the originals maintain their high levels of quality and comfort, the company has more budget oriented releases as well, which means that if you want the best in the line, you’ll need to do a bit of research. The list below looks at the best Nike Air Max shoes available, from classics such as the Air Max 90, to the latest releases such as the Air Max 720.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The Max Air Tech by Nike is meant to provide people with both adequate comfort as well as cushioning. The technology usually comes in the form of air bubbles that run the length. The placement of these air bubbles in Nike’s vary from place to place and provide varying levels of comfort to the wearer’s foot.
The placement of the airbags along the length of the sole units in a pair of Nike Air Max shoes allows for what you’d need in terms of shock absorption. A sneaker’s ability to provide this is actually incredibly important, simply because of the added comfort that it can provide as well as the fact that it greatly reduces your risk of strain, fatigue, or injury. These are meant to provide wearers with that added bounce, making them feel amazing on foot.
One of the features of Air Max technology is that it is meant to provide ample comfort and cushioning. But the Air Max is not the only technology that Nike utilizes for comfort. The Nike Air Max shoes on this list have been reviewed to see if they have a few other design features that enhance the overall feel and effect. These features deal with the upper materials, as well as the design elements.
No one wants to own a pair of Nike Air Max shoes that have an undesirable appearance. The design plays a huge part in its ability to actually be worn or purchased by individuals. With that being said, the ones on this list were sorted and chosen because of the fact that they held a few stylistic elements that various other models simply did not. They appeared to be relatively versatile and for some, to have a unique overall design.
An important thing to consider when shopping for Nike Air Max shoes is their ability to hold up against the various terrains and environments that they may encounter. With that, the designs have a plethora of technologies which allow them to provide wearers with what they need in terms of security and protection.
The one thing that most Nike Air Max shoes have in common is a high price. Often being the brand's flagship models, these sneakers will sell for hundreds of dollars, which is more than most people are ready to pay. Before shopping, it is important to know that their price tags often reflect their popularity and status as iconic casual footwear.
So, when shopping for Nike Air Max shoes, you will want to receive the most value for you. If you need a pair of functional sneakers you'll use for athletic activities such as running, cross training or skateboarding, you can check out one of the more affordable models. These often go for average prices and utilize Air cushioning in an otherwise conventional sneaker. If, however, you want a pair of fashion sneakers, you'll go with one of the classic designs such as the Air Max 1, Air Max 90, 95 or 97. These are all excellent choices, and can make for good long term investment.
10 Best Nike Air Max Shoes
1. Air Max 97
Since its release, this model of Nike Air Max shoes has become a classic. Inspired by train transportation in Japan, this model offers a futuristic aesthetic that only a company such as Nike can pull off. Today, it comes in a huge variety of color options, and even the possibility of creating your own designs, so you can rest assured you’ll be noticed wearing the 97s. Originally a running shoe, this pair offers excellent comfort and functionality, and it introduced a number of innovations which were widely welcomed by fans worldwide.
The biggest change that these Nike Air Max shoes brought upon their release in 1997 was the full length Air. This highly efficient cushioning system now protects the entire length of the foot from harmful impact, and it adds for a cool visual effect you won’t see in many other sneakers. The unit is enclosed in a foam cage for durability and ground feel, and you’ll find that there aren’t that many pairs of shoes that are as comfortable as this model.
The outsole on these Nike Air Max shoes comes in different varieties of rubber, from colored to clear, and it works just well for road conditions and everyday wear. The upper combines mesh and synthetic for a supported, breathable look, and you’ll find that the hidden lacing system works well in allowing users to find the perfect fit. In terms of cost, these iconic Nike Air Max shoes usually rank quite high, as fans are prepared to pay top dollar for a pair.
2. VaporMax Plus
Finally, we have the Nike Air VaporMax Plus. This pair of Nike Air Max shoes is one that is both versatile and comfortable. With a design that can double as a trainer, the shoes provide wearers with what they need in terms of functionality while also being able to double as a pair of comfort shoes if need be. The reason why this particular pair is featured on this list is because it is both durable as well as supportive.
The entire design of the Plus, from the midsole to the upper, can be considered durable; and for good reason. The outsole is designed from a thick rubber material that works to provide wearers with what they need in terms of longevity due to the sheer thickness of the material. In addition to the outsole being durable, the upper also performs in much of the same way. The upper of these Nike Air Max shoes features overlays and ample cushioning which allow it to provide wearers with what they need in terms of long-lived comfort from its design.
The midsole of the Plus, on the other hand, is designed from Air Max tech. This technology allows the Nike Air Max shoes to be shock-absorbent and to provide wearers with what they need in terms of comfort from its design. Another great thing about the design of the midsole is that it makes use of a foam material that allows it to provide wearers with what they’d need in terms of support for relatively long periods of time.
3. Air Max 720
Released in January 2019, this pair of Nike Air Max shoes is the newest model to date to feature a visible air unit. This time, Nike decided to go completely overboard, exaggerating the cushioning system not only for the sake of appearance (which is completely different than any other shoe from the brand), but comfort as well. With that big of a cushioning unit underfoot, you are bound to feel like you’re walking on air. All of the colorways in this line are rich and versatile, and make for a pair of sneakers that are eye catching, and the perfect “it” item in your wardrobe.
The upper of these Nike Air Max shoes are made with a combination of mesh and synthetic materials, but what truly makes their design stand out are the molded lines that create a wavy aesthetic. This results in a futuristic look that’s sleek, padded and highly comfortable. On the inside you’ll find a textile lining for breathability, as well as a hidden lacing system that allows users to find the perfect fit.
The Air unit has never been as exposed as it is in these Nike Air Max shoes. Not only does it run the full length of the outsole, but it gives off the impression of not being encased in a midsole at all. The outsole unit is made out of rubber in complementary colors to the upper, and it offers the type of traction you would need from a pair of everyday sneakers. In terms of price, these Nike Air Max shoes rank high, being one of the most expensive items listed in the guide. Nonetheless, if you’re after the latest trends in the world of Air cushioned sneakers, it is definitely a pair of footwear you shouldn’t miss out on.
4. Air Max 90
To own and rock a pair of Air Max 90s is to say that you respect the Nike footwear way of doing things. These Nike Air Max shoes are the ones that most people wear by this brand and can really be considered one of the Nike shoe greats. This is due to the use of the various technologies in the design as well as that it having one of those looks that will simply never go out of style. This is a long-lived option and must be mentioned. With that being said, the other reasons for this being mentioned is that it features a PU midsole unit as well as an overall durable design.
For those who don’t know (and many don’t) PU stands for PolyUrethane. This is a material that provides wearers with what they’d need in terms of bounce but, unlike all of the other various foam materials in midsoles, doesn’t ever fully compress. This basically means that, while you will definitely receive ample cushioning from these Nike Air Max shoes, it won’t ever compress fully. This, when considered in tandem with the comfort provided allows one to have what they’d need in terms of comfort for reasonably long periods of time.
While PU is a material that is inherently durable, the rest of the design features various things that will provide wearers with what they need in terms of longevity. The design of the upper features various overlays which basically allows tit to be rather sturdy during use. What makes it even better is the fact that the overlays included in these Nike Air Max shoes are oft made of thick materials that imbue it with more stopping power than that which is normally provided.
5. Air Max Stefan Janoski 2
This pair of Nike Air Max shoes was developed in collaboration with professional skater Stefan Janoski, and is a welcome addition to the line of skate shoes carrying his name. The idea behind this model was to create a skateboarding shoe that would absorb shock upon impact, while offering a sleek look and feel, coupled with the high level of traction required for practicing and performing tricks.
The upper of these Nike Air Max shoes is made with a durable textile material that has two main benefits. The first, of course, is the breathability that comes in handy after a few hours on the board. The other is the lightweight sleek fit that helps skaters maneuver the board with more precision, without having to worry about the durability of their footwear. The midfoot overlay connects to the lacing system, providing a secure, locked in feel, and there’s a light amount of padding in the entire shoe.
As for the sole these Nike Air Max shoes feature a visible Air unit in the heel, encased in a full length IP foam midsole that’s comfortable and cushioning. The outsole is flat for better grip and stability, it’s made with durable rubber, and features an auxetic traction pattern that is highly efficient in holding on to the board. For a pair of Nike Air Max shoes, the Stefan Janoski 2 ranks average, making for a good investment for those looking for a top performing skateboarding sneaker.
6. Air Max Dia
This pair of lifestyle sneakers is great for those after a futuristic look. If you’re looking for a pair of chunky Nike Air Max shoes you can wear on a daily basis, the Dia is a great option. It has numerous fun color options, from simple all-black designs to those that combine colorful accents in the toe and heel area, so you’ll easily find a model that is as simple or as eye catching as you need it to be. Made by Nike, you can expect a certain level of quality and comfort, which have, in fact, made this a popular option.
These Nike Air Max shoes use synthetic and textile in the upper for a supportive and breathable look. The main construction is made out of fabric, for a fit that’s adaptive and pleasant to wear, and synthetic overlays cover the toe area, the heel and the eyelets, increasing durability in these sections. The collar is minimal, with added padding on the sides, and you’ll definitely appreciate the tongue and heel pull tabs that play a dual role - in addition to making for a fun stylistic touch, they make on and off much easier.
The sole unit of these Nike Air Max shoes has an exaggerated midsole that houses the Air unit in the heel. It is covered with clear TPU in colors that compliment the overall look of the shoe, and you can expect a comfortable ride from the Dia, especially considering that it was specifically developed to benefit the anatomy of female feet. The outsole continues the aesthetics of the entire model, with a colored rubber section around the perimeter for great grip and traction. These Nike Air Max shoes sell for a price that’s well below average for products by the brand, so if you need something affordable, you’ll definitely benefit from the Dia.
7. Air Max 270
The Max 270 have a design that has definitely withstood the test of time, and provide wearers with what they need in terms of comfort and functionality. These Nike Air Max shoes are featured in this list because of the Flywire technology incorporated into the design of the upper, as well as the full-length Air Max sole unit incorporated into the design.
One of the things that makes these Nike Air Max shoes unique is the sole technology. It is entirely made of the Air Max material; this basically gives the wearer the feeling that they are literally walking on air, probably because they are.
To give wearers a better feel, the upper makes use of Flywire tech. This technology basically provides wearers with a snug feeling and somewhat ensures that wearers don’t have to worry about experiencing a loose feeling. This technology is the difference between having an ill-fitting shoe and one that moves correctly along with the movements of the wearer’s foot. In terms of cost association, these Nike Air Max shoes rank average, and make for an excellent investment if you're after a pair of comfortable everyday sneakers.
8. Motion 2
If what you’re seeking is pure functionality as well as outrageous levels of comfort, you can stop your search because we’ve got it right here. This pair of Nike Air Max shoes is what one would consider a beast when it comes to providing wearers with what they’d need in terms of comfort as well as ease of movement. The design is one that features minimal overlays as well as a single Airpocket in the heel; these are the reasons why it was pertinent that this model was featured.
To have a minimal upper is to have something that is both chic and comfortable. The design of these Nike Air Max shoes is one that makes use of a minimal upper that has overlays that come in the form of print along the sides. The lack of overlays allows this to have what one would consider a relatively lightweight design. In addition to the lack of weight, the upper ensures that wearers have what they’d need in terms of comfort as well as ease of movement.
This has a single air pocket in its heel area. Do you know what that means for its design? One thing really, is that it has an energy returning feel that you wouldn’t believe. The bounce provided by the sole unit ensures that wearers have what they’d need in terms of comfort and feel less of the ride when they’re taking these Nike Air Max shoes out for a spin. In addition to that, the cushioning in heel also ensures that wearers have adequate support for that portion of their foot; this increases in importance the longer that it is in use.
9. Air Max 95
After the Air Max 90 came the Air Max 95. The successor of the 90 actually has a lot in common with the previous model. This pair of Nike Air Max shoes has a streamlined design that is completely void of various things that may affect the performance. In addition to this, it also features an adequately comfortable sole unit and upper. In addition to this, it features a thick upper design which comfortably allows it to protect one's foot from liquids. In addition to the thick upper, the layout of the lacing allows it to provide one with what they need in terms of fit.
The lacing is simply a series of loops in which the actual laces easily slide through. The use of this design feature ensures that wearers have what they need in terms of comfort and security. The looping feature actually ensures that one is able to retain control when they are out and running.
The fact that the upper of these Nike Air Max shoes is thick offers several benefits to wearers, one of them being that it is able to provide wearers with what they’d need in terms of comfort and durability. The comfort provided stems from the excess cushioning incorporated; it’s one of the reasons why it is so thick. In addition to the comfort, the stability stems from the thickness as well. The thick design provides wearers with what they’d need in terms of structure when in use.
10. Excellerate 5
The 5th iteration of the Excellerate is probably one of the best ones yet. This pair of Nike Air Max shoes features various different technologies with the most important being the Air Max tech in the midsole. The design of the upper is what intrigues many individuals; it makes use of Flywire tech as well as a thin layer of mesh to give wearers a decent fit as well as ample coverage for their foot. The outsole of the Excellerate is also rather interesting to look at. Its design is one that makes use of a durable layer of rubber that provides ample levels of grip to its wearers.
The upper of these Nike Air Max shoes is one that makes use of various signature Nike technologies and works to give wearers what they need in order to have a great experience. The shoe makes use of Flywire tech which enables it to provide wearers with an adequate fit as well as security in their movements. In addition to the fit provided by the Flywire, the design of the upper is made of a thin layer of mesh. The use of a thin layer to act as the upper allows wearers to have what they need in terms of airflow and enhances the comfort provided.
The outsole of these Nike Air Max shoe is what works to provide wearers with what they need in terms of grip while in use. To be completely honest, the design of the outsole can make or break it entirely. If it doesn’t provide one with what they need in terms of grip then it won’t be able to be used for its intended purpose. The good thing is that this particular model does just that, and for a relatively long period of time.
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