Nike Air VaporMax - the feeling of running on air

Nike's Air Technology has been around for a long time, the first model with the characteristic air cushion sole was the Nike Tailwind, which was released in 1978. Even then, Nike's developers had a dream: to develop a shoe that would give the wearer the feeling of walking on air.

But it would take several decades before this really succeeded. As the years went by, Air Technology became better and better, celebrating its temporary climax in the Air Max 1. But this technology has been reworked time and again until it was finally born: the Nike Air VaporMax. The Nike Air VaporMax is the lightest Air Technology running shoe ever, and like no other, it conveys this indescribably light running sensation.

The evolution of the Nike Air VaporMax

The new pinnacle of Nike Air technology, the Nike Air VaporMax, was unveiled in 2016 and appeared in stores worldwide in 2017.

It all began with the invention of aviation engineer Frank Rudy in the seventies. He invented the first prototype of the Air sole, a damping system with a plastic capsule filled with gas. It was only with the Air Max 1 that Nike unveiled the secret of this technology by making the air cushion sole visible through a window. People should be able to see that they are really walking on an invisible layer of air.

This idea is now brought to perfection with the Nike Air VaporMax. The sneaker consists of almost 40,000 parts and is about 113 g lighter than the Air Max.

The VaporMax Technology

Rather than making the Air Bubble bigger, developers Elder and Minami are focusing on improving the efficiency of the VaporMax shoe while consuming less air. By means of pressure cards of the human foot, the designers determined the exact amount of air and its ideal position to dampen and support the steps of the runner.

The sole profile of the sneaker behaves like small pistons. If the pistons go down, the pressure increases. When the foot is lifted off the ground again, the pressure is released and a counter-pressure is created, similar to a spring jump. The sole should not only damp passively, but also give the energy back to the runner as a recoil. The Boost sole of the competitor adidas, for example, also targets this effect.

But that's not all, the visual design of the sneaker should also reflect the feeling of lightness. The air sole of the Nike Air VaporMax is transparent, so it looks like the runner is actually floating.

There are many bigger and smaller innovations in the whole shoe. The panels usually glued to sneakers were replaced by an ultra-light yarn braid. The upper material of the Nike Air VaporMax is Flyknit, the flexible and durable knit fabric we know from several other Nike models. The already known Flywire technology is also used in this Nike sneaker. An ingenious lacing system adapts the upper shoe optimally to the foot.

The sole and upper go hand in hand, if you take a closer look at the sneaker you will see that some parts of the Flyknit material are knitted tighter, while others are more open and therefore more elastic. The tension of the material is thus optimized, the shoe does justice to the natural motion sequence during running.

The future of the Nike VaporMax

The Nike Air VaporMax is one of the most innovative sneaker new releases of the last two years. The shoe is already very successful. Nike has already indicated that there may be more variants of the shoe in the future. So it remains exciting, we hope that there will still be many models with the feeling of "walking on air".

Nike Air VaporMax data

  • Brand: Nike
  • Published in: 2017
  • Fit: If it is half a number smaller
  • Info: Consists of 40.000 parts