Some history before we get into the nitty gritty of the shoe, skip to paragraph 7 if you already know about this sneaker.
When the original Nike Air Max came out in 87′, it was the first shoe to display a large, visible air-cushioning unit in the midsole.
In 97′, the Air Max ’97’ evolved the technology of air, by placing the Air unit 360 degrees around the entire shoe, the first time this had been done. Now, the Air Max builds upon its nearly 30-year legacy with a huge leap, what you’re here to see me natter on about. THEE, Nike, Air. VaporMax. Say that again, slowly and with the comma’s and you will feel the full force.
This pays off the full promise of Air, providing lightweight, consistent, separate cushioning that lasts and lasts. This breakthrough came due to new technologies that allowed the VaporMax Air unit to act as a standalone outsole, previous Air units were unable to do this and had to be insulated by a secondary rubber layer for protection and improved durability.
The innovation allows additional air to be integrated into the unit while the latter allows for more extreme air geometries that enable designers to place even more air directly underfoot, ergo the foam midsole is redundant.
By shedding the weight and bulk of a foam, the new midsole achieves greater flexibility and spring without compromising structure, as well also reducing weight and waste. And by placing the upper directly on the VaporMax Air unit, a pillowy sensation and greater energy response are produced. The upper of the shoe is complimented with a flynit upper, stretchy and comfortable, making the perfect running shoe.
The VaporMax sole mould is composed of over 39,000 components, so you know how much tech is going into this sneaker. It took approximately fifteen tries to get the shoe perfect, since the material is fused directly to the Air bag, so props to Nike.
The VaporMax so far has proven very successful, as Nike have collaborated with The Doernbecher Hospital, a great cause you should check out if you don’t know, Marc Newson who is a Industrial Designer, hugely respected in his field, Virgil Abloh’s ‘OFF WHITE’ brand and many more!
Now, getting into the shoe itself.
Aesthetics are good. They’re great actually. I much prefer the laceless version of this shoe but that just because I like minimal design. I really do love and appreciate all of the intricate details of the midsole/outsole/air unit. There are so many nooks and crannies in the air unit, whenever I come across a pair while out, I always gaze and admire all the integrity of it. I mean 39,000. 39,000! That’s bonkers. How can a shoe have that many components to it?
The size of the midsole is another plus of this shoe. It’s fairly bulky, showing how much air is packed in, yet it’s sleek and compact, showing the effectiveness and efficiency of the shoe. I especially like how on the first VapourMax colour-way ‘pure platinum white-wolf grey’ the air unit is completely transparent, showing you the entirety of it. A nice detail for the first release, showing the customer/consumer what they’ve just bought, bringing us onto the price.
Now the RRP of this shoe is £170. £170. Really? You want 170 out of my pocket for a sneaker, granted has a lot of new tech, yet still uses fairly okay materials that aren’t anything extraordinary? I’m not really a fan of paying retail for any sneaker, unless it’s something that has a value it lives up to. The Adidas UltraBoost, a very comfortable, not so aesthetically pleasing shoe, costs only £130 and that features a prime-knit upper, rubber caging, and a chunky boost sole with a continental outsole lining.
Your standard running shoes is around the £60-90 mark, so paying £170 for me is just like, damn, I think i’ll wait till people test it out, see how comfort and durability is, then see how they fit, so I don’t buy the wrong size. Pairs used are going for around the £90-130 mark, so not too bad if you can be patient and buy a very lightly used pair for below retail.
Onto the whole aspect of the shoe itself. Although it’s initial purpose is for running, this to me is more of a lifestyle kind of shoe. It’s a shoe that someone who works in the city would wear. Someone who uses public transportation daily and finds it a struggle to move between the mass of people who hoard the street and don’t understand how to ‘move forward’. Someone who runs back and forth between their desk to get a quick cup of tea. It’s just to me, a busy, not rushed, persons shoe. I personally and I know this sounds ridiculous, don’t actually own a pair yet. I’ve been meaning to buy them, however a lot of better priced shoes have been popping up so these haven’t really been a priority.
However, I do feel that this is a shoe that I will own at some point, when the price is right and my bank accounts status doesn’t represent that of a person who earns minimum wage.