Nike Air VaporMax is unlike anything I’ve seen before. The shoe is the latest innovation of Air Max where the Air unit acts as a standalone outsole. Previously, Air unit had to be insulated by a secondary rubber layer for protection and durability; now, the Air unit and exterior layer are incorporated into one holistic VaporMax Air unit.
This breakthrough came after seven years of innovation. With this technology, Nike Air VaporMax is declared as the lightest, most flexible Air Max running shoe yet.
At first glance, I find the shoe completely fascinating. Firstly, the Air outsole looks fabulous and out of this world. Secondly, the Flyknit upper and Chrome Blush colorways complement each other well. I totally fell for the look. However, it’s hard for me to believe that it is a running shoe. So, I went on a couple of runs with the shoes and here are what I found.
Light and Flexible
Weighing at around 200g (Women’s US 6), Nike Air VaporMax is extremely lightweight. Majority of the weight has been reduced due to the removal of traditional foam layer as well as the construction of Flyknit upper. The shoe certainly did a great job on speed runs and races.
Previously, Air unit needed to be shaped with inflexible structural areas, but now the new Air unit can independently maintain its given form with elasticity. I literally can bend the sole with my hands without damaging the shoe.
The cushioning of the midsole is present, yet minimal. The contoured cushioning is strategically engineered and flexes with strides. At high-impact areas such as the heels, the outsole is coated with rubber pods to enhance durability.
Lugs of various sizes are integrated into the outsole’s air units to provide traction. I found the outsole’s grip to be excellent on all surfaces in dry condition. However, it is slippery on certain wet tiles.
Upper that Offers Freedom
The one-piece Flyknit upper is highly breathable even after hours of running. Since the whole upper is constructed with Flyknit material, there isn’t any cushion at the upper to support the foot. It is perfect for people who prefer minimalist shoes, like me.
Made of Flyknit and stitched to the upper, the tongue is unpadded, thin and flexible. The tongue combines with Flywire technology allow for a customized and dynamic fit.
The upper gives my foot a glove-like wrap, but it didn’t feel restrictive due to its stretchy characteristics. The toe box felt a little narrow for me as I have wide feet, though, but it’s hardly noticeable when running thanks to the elastic upper.
- As a lightweight shoe, it is perfect for speedwork and races.
- It has a breathable upper that makes long distance runs bearable.
- The shoe design and colorway are downright gorgeous.
- The Flywire technology allows for a customisable fit.
- It’s recommended to break in the shoe prior to wearing it for a run. I wore it out of the box and it hurt the back of my leg, just above the heel.
- It gets dirty easily when it comes into contact with mud. I had my heart broken when I accidentally stepped into a puddle.
- Running on wet tiles or slippery surfaces are bad ideas if you wear this shoe.
As a fan of minimalist and lightweight running shoes, I really enjoy running with Nike Air VaporMax. It gives me a complete sense of freedom by not weighing me down with heavy weight, not restricting my movement with thick cushioned-upper, and not warming up my feet with non-breathable materials.
Nike Air VaporMax is available at Nike stores (Paragon, Shaw and VivoCity) and Nike.com for S$269.