Nike’s AirMax is a a popular shoe that, although falling within their performance running category, has found more success as casual wear. The new VaporMax aims to bridge that gap and fix the drawbacks of its bulkier cousin.
The VaporMax weighs about 4oz (113g) less than the AirMax, and that’s because of two factors. The first is that it completely lacks foam cushioning. You’re literally just standing on an air pocket. This isn’t actually as cushy as it sounds. In fact, the thin membrane that separates your foot from the air is pretty firm. If you like responsiveness though, you’ve got it. Transitions through steps work well enough, too.
The other way the shoe loses weight is through the upper, which is Flyknit. Nike’s famous material is as flexible as ever and even less irritating than some of their other shoes. The fit is a little large, though. I wore a 10.5, compared to my normal size 11 and had enough room.
The shoe suffers from a real problem, though. The flexibility of the upper doesn’t match the rigidity of the bottom. You definitely have more foot control than the Flyknit Racer, but the sensation just doesn’t work at really any speed. They are still comfy, though.
The Nike Air VaporMax tried something radical, and that’s commendable. It just failed to live up to the hype. But hey, if you want a hot shoe for everyday walking, you could do a lot worse.