One of the greatest sneaker lines ever, and quite possibly the most revolutionary, Nike Air dates back to 1978 when innovation first hit shelves via Nike Air Tailwind. If you’re under 30, you’ve probably seen Air Maxes nearly your entire life. Indeed, the Swoosh denotes that Nike employs pressurized air through a flexible, durable membrane to deliver lightweight footwear.
However, when it comes to running, the Air Maxes are nothing close to Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4%-, which was worn by Eliud Kipchoge when he smashed the world record (for the marathon in Berlin). These are no longer the go-to running shoes. It’s just that their performance obsolescence is overshadowed by their massive presence in the world of fashion and celebrity.
Still, all is not lost; the Air Max 360 is fairly known for working pretty well in terms of stability, padding, and sturdiness. The Nike Air Max is among the most popular sneakers on the market. Their exposed air pockets compress on impact and then flawlessly return to their original shape and volume.
It’s good to mention that despite the hype that surrounds every new sneaker release, no brand has made a perfect running shoe. Every runner has different needs from their footwear, but with shoes like Air Max 360, any reasonable person would agree that modern Nike can claim to have come closer than most.
Nike Air Max 360
The Nike Air Max 360, in particular, meets most people’s rules for running shoes. Cushioning, stability, and durability. The most noticeable thing about Nike 360s is that they are much lighter than most shoes under the same category. They retail at $160, which is relatively pricey than other models.
However, while Nike Air Max 360’s sole is see-through, it’s thicker and rather hard to bend or twist compared to EVA foam shoes. On the bright side, the 360s fit nicely, especially in the heel- though you might want to choose thinner socks to get it just right.
Another impressive thing is that the shoes won’t slide around in the shoe, which is a common problem with other shoes. Moreover, you won’t develop blisters with these. The Nike Air Max 360s tend to feel a bit stiff at first but only take a few runs before they feel snug and comfy. Users also stated that the shoes feel even more stable, and they allow your ankles to relax.
Speaking of cushioning, we’re happy to report that Nikes carefully damped the impact better than most brands without adding weight to the shoe. So no fatigue, no aches, and pains.
Coming down to comfort, Nike depicts the Air Max as a milestone for runners, delivering a full air cushioning system rather than foam. This gives you a “360 degrees of Nike Air cushioning. And considering that foam compresses up to 40% after around 300 miles, the 360’s Air Sole enables the shoe to perform well beyond the range.
Additionally, the 360 is designed to be more flexible in the forefoot, meaning you will have a more natural range of motion and better correspondence with pressure points, thanks to the flex gloves. There’s also the seamless sock liner that helps eliminate abrasion and midfoot webbing loops that come in handy for a better fit. However, if you want to run in these shoes without agonizing over EVA froth breakdown, you’ll need to go through the extra bucks for them.
The Air Max 270 is yet another viable option for Air Max lovers. With maxes having long recognized for purposes other than running, Nike offers a lifestyle Air Max, the 270 models.
Borrowing inspiration from the AM 93 and AM180, this shoe boasts 270 degrees of visibility in the Air Unit, which also happens to be the tallest unit in the Air Max series, coming in at 32mm. The Nike Air Max 270 resembles the original and augments it with the brand’s React foam cushioning. These features alone make them considerable for running too.
Key Points on Choosing the Right Running Shoe
Choosing the right running shoe for your feet is more of an art than a science. While many runners experiment with different brands and models until they achieve the right fit/functionality, you can shorten your trial and error path with these tips.
The truth is, there’s only one running shoe for you. That’s because runners are different in their running styles and how much they train. As such, no perfect running shoe. The best running shoe depends entirely on the shape of your feet, the amount of running, and your biomechanics. Running shoes are meant to protect the feet from the road, cushion the landing shock, provide support and traction on different surfaces.
The shoes should also be designed to handle the shock of 2.5 times your body weight, which is generated by the impact each time your foot strikes the ground. During performances, you want to have excellent cushioning in both the forefoot and the heel to attenuate this impact.
Look for a shoe that allows your feet to move comfortably and naturally through the stride, with good stability and support. The shoes should feel right throughout the stride, from toe-off to touchdown, to help reduce stress on any part of your foot. Pay attention to the shoes’ responsiveness. Look for a balance between cushioning comfort and a firm push-off platform.
The Bottom Line
The Air Maxes are not considered suitable for running. There are more comfortable running shoes that can serve their purpose much better. While some versions, such as the Air Max 360, can serve quite well for short running sessions, you might want to move to a real running shoe if you’re planning on running three times a week or more. Pay attention to the shoe’s responsiveness and the balance between cushioning comfort and durability.