Nike Air Max

5.0 score
[Editors rating (5.0)] = (TheGearHunt) score (5.0)/10

Editor rating: 5.0 / 10
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Nike Air Max Review Facts

Nike first released Nike Air technology over 30 years ago. Back in the early 1990's Nike Airs were all the rage. It was a huge fashion statement and the 'technology' of this little pocket of air in the forefoot of a pair of sneakers was a huge step in both athletics and fashion statements. Researchers at Nike pushed the idea that this little pocket of air would increase athletic abilities and assist in a more energized workout. Nike was started back in 1954 by a runner and his coach under the company name Blue Ribbon Sports. Their inspiration was to create a superior alternative to running shoes of that day. In 1969 they started a factory in Japan which they called Nike. The first model of shoes created by Nike was the Nike Cortez (due to legal issues the name was changed to the Nike Swoosh) which immediately sold enough pairs to really make a name for themselves. The Nike Air Tailwind which was their new technology at the time and their introduction of the air technology was created by a former NASA engineer which may have been the reason for its popularity.

Now the company is a household name both in athletics and fashion. It would be hard to find someone who has never owned some sort of Nike product. The company is so big it is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange and currently has a revenue stream of about 35 billion USD. The company no doubt has done well for itself and a huge part of their success is the little pocket of air in the heel of their runners, their Air line. The company has made numerous pairs of Air products throughout the year, this review is specifically on the Nike Air Max 2017. We took a look at the construction behind the shoe, its construction, and materials. We looked at consumer reviews on both this shoe as well as the Air collection in general. We looked at what consumers liked and disliked about the shoe and why. We wanted to get an accurate representation in order to provide a comprehensive review of this fairly expensive product. We hope that this product review was helpful in your buying process.

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • Attractive design
  • Comfortable on regular feet 
  • Great impact reduction 
  • Durability issues 
  • Narrow (requires sizing up)
  • Tongue attachment bother ankles
  • Do not break in easily 


This product mentions it superior breathability in the small description on the website and those who wore the product did confirm that the shoes are breathable. The upper of the shoe has mesh which would help ventilation and therefore the breathability of the shoe. Due to the mesh and the air sole, this shoe is quite lightweight. This is mentioned numerous times in the comments. However even with the lightweight features of the shoe, the shoe seems to be quite stiff to break in, this is discussed more below. Those who wore this shoe had no complaints about the ventilation of the shoe. With the lightweight nature of the shoe as well as the proper ventilation this shoe does have good breathability and should keep the wearer's feet cool and dry. The mesh used on this runner is a fly-mesh.


This product has the Max Air addition that is supposed to add better cushioning and a "smoother feel" to each step. The upper is also seamless which would add a better, tighter and more comfortable fit. Those who purchased this shoe had a couple issues with the 2017 version of this shoe. A common complaint is the tongue now being attached to the shoe with a sturdy fabric. This makes the shoes harder to break in as well as get on especially so with a wider foot. In addition to the issue with the tongue attachments, the 2017 version is more narrow than previous models which aesthetically looks more appealing but unfortunately requires either sizing up or skipped purchase entirely, again, with wider feet. This particular model also introduced their 'retro sole' which is not as comfortable as the previous models sole. Overall it doesn't seem as though the 2017 version was much of an improvement on the previous models but more so has actually downgraded in comfort and functionality.


There is nothing listed in regards to the waterproofing of this product. Most running shoes don't have waterproofing as they are usually meant for city or road runs. This product does, however, have better breathability and ventilation due to the upper mesh. For this reason, the shoe would dry easier when wet. Note, this shoe is not meant for areas of higher humidity and moisture like trails, hikes, and climbs. They are meant for city streets. There is also some durability issues mentioned later below which will even further confirm their usage requirements.


The insole of this product fits a bit narrow which would be an issue with wider feet. One common comment about the shoe is that the shoe does fit closer to the foot and therefore has better support and stability in the ankle and bottom of the foot. One reviewer has specific ankle issues and found these shoes to be very good support with her ankle issue. The tighter fitting insole and the straps on the tongue of the shoe would be okay if the shoe could be broken in but those who wore this shoe said that its especially hard to break in this shoe because the fabric is so stiff. This would be especially frustrating if the shoes were causing blisters and calluses which may happen easier and for a longer period without the ability to break them in easier. The arch support is available and reviewed as being good however it's hard to be positive about this shoe when the fit is so narrow and the construction seems to be poor.


The top of this shoe has mesh which offers better breathability than those without. The issue is that the mesh has been known to rip easier than with comparable products which is really surprising considering the cost of these shoes.


The midsole has the Max Air technology offered in all the Max Air line of Nike shoes. The sole of this product has been reviewed as not being glued on well to the upper of the shoe. Those who complained about the construction of the shoe and its overall durability said that in a short period of time the sole disconnected and gravel started to enter the shoe making it pointless for outdoor activities. This is unfortunate considering the price of the shoe which is higher than average shoes in this category. This is discussed more below. Due to the Air technology the midsoles are already weak (there is air in place of actual material) which makes sense, however, they are meant to be worn outside where rocks and sharp objects are on the ground and it doesn't seem like this product was built to withstand these obstacles. Those who reviewed these shoes reported the 'bubbles popping' which is concerning as well. Overall, though the impact reduction is there the quality of the midsole seems to be constantly in question.


The footbed of this product seems to be a bit more narrow in design which caused some people with wider feet issues. The arch support is good and the heel holds onto the heel well which is positive. The precision is there as a result however the entire outsole seems to be poorly constructed and the bubbles do not stay intact (this is discussed more below). Those who wore this shoe did confirm that the shoe provides good support and comfort as long as in the right size and the wearer's feet were not wide.


The outsole on this product is made of a softer rubber which is supposed to provide superior durability and better traction on 'any type' of condition. There were very little reviews on the traction of the shoe which could be both a positive and negative thing. One common complaint, however, is the durability of the outsole which seems to be a big issue. The construction doesn't seem to be there, a mentioned earlier, there is some issues with the outsole/midsole staying attached to the upper of the shoe. Additionally, there were so many complaints of the bubbles 'popping' which makes us question the actual durability of the outsole/traction of the shoe. There were some complaints that the traction of the shoe wears down fairly easily even when not participating in regular vigorous activity. For a shoe that is meant for running this is very concerning. It just doesn't seem to be a very durable shoe from what regular reviewers are saying.


This is probably the shoes strongest feature, which is the style of the shoe. The shoe is very stylish. It is narrow in design giving the shoe more of a sleek appearance. The shoe comes in tons of color options ranging from very colorful to monochrome. They don't have busy patterns but more so easy, minimalist designs. They still have the Nike Air bubbles at the base and have the Nike check mark small and along the side. Overall, this is a very attractive shoe. It can easily be worn as a runner as well as a fashion accessory making them versatile. The shoe definitely has some major construction and durability issues but they are a very attractive shoe. If not being worn as a piece of athletic wear the shoe may be an okay purchase however they are still very expensive.


This product is overpriced. There seem to be so many issues with the shoe and both its durability and fit. The shoe is comfortable and stylish which would help justify the cost (as fashion tends to be a little more expensive even without durability and functionality) but (and this is a big but) the shoe falls apart easily, the materials are not durable, the bubbles seem to pop on nearly every reviewer and are quite narrow. Narrow would not be an issue if the shoe was easy to break in which is regularly labeled as not being easy to break in especially with the firm material used to keep the tongue closer to the ankle. Overall, this shoe would need to be purchased as a fashion accessory if purchased at all. The durability isn't there, frustrations seem to be high with the number of returns required and for those with wider feet this could cause pain down the road as breaking them in seems to take forever. For those reasons, this shoe does not appear to be worth the cost.


The bottom line is this shoe is hard for us to speak positively about. There are so many negative reviews on the shoe. It seems like everyone that has purchased this shoe experienced the bubbles popping and had to return the shoe on more than one occasion. It seems like the upgrades to the product were more like downgrades because there were reviewers who followed the Max Air line from day one and liked all other versions outside of this one. Switching to the classic sole seems to have caused some major frustrations as the comfort level seems to have gone down as a result of it. The people who could handle the new, more narrow, design and the tightened tongue did find them comfortable but had issues with the overall durability of the shoe. It is hard to break in, the sole seems to not be glued on well and the mesh has been known to rip. Overall, we aren't sure about this shoe. We advise proceeding with caution. Luckily the customer service team at Nike are very helpful and are known to give refunds and exchanges easily so that's a plus if you still want to try out this product.