Nike’s unique design and inclusion of an air cushion onto its Vapormax Flyknit sneaker have created one of the most renowned and iconic features Nike has ever had. The custom air technology has drawn fans from far and wide, including those with backgrounds in sports, social media, fashion, and more. There have been many different implementations of the legendary air cushioning technology, with the Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit sneaker being the most recent. Keep reading on about this iconic shoe to find more about how it was developed, important features of the vapormax flyknit, what it can be used for, and our top choices of the sneaker.
How the Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit Came to Fruition
The Vapormax Flyknit sneaker didn’t just appear out of nowhere. In fact, it is one of the most recent developments in Nike’s “Air” line, bringing with it a rich history of other “Air” shoes. Let’s take a look at the timeline leading up to the development of this iconic sneaker. *This isn’t an exhaustive list but mentions the most iconic sneakers in the “Air” line.
- 1978 - Release of the Nike Tailwind
- 1987 - The First Air Max Sneaker: The Air Max 1
- 1990 - The Nike Air Max 90
- 1991 - The Nike Air Max 180
- 1993 - The Nike Air Max 93
- 1997 - The Nike Air Max 97
- 2003 - The Nike Air Max 2003
- 2006 - The Nike Air Max 360
- 2014 - The Nike Flyknit Air Max
- 2017 - The Nike Air Vapormax
- Flyknit Fabric Construction
- Vapormax Air Technology
- Modern Design
- Durable Structure
- Comfortable Fitting
- Icons of Pop Culture
- Women's Air Vapormax Flyknit 3 in Black White Metallic Silver
- Nike Men's Air Vapormax Flyknit in White Pure Platinum
- Nike Women's Air Vapormax Flyknit 3 in Black, Anthracite, and White
- The Kids Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit 3 in Black and Gold
1978 – Release of the Nike Tailwind
The Nike Tailwind’s release in 1978 was Nike’s first attempt at adding cushioning to their sneakers. It wasn’t even Nike that thought of the idea. A man named Frank Rudy, an aeronautical engineer for NASA, approached Nike about adding cushioned soles to their shoes. Nike ended up being pleasantly surprised and happy with the idea. To test it out, Nike released a selective portion to runners of the Honolulu Marathon in 1978 before releasing them to the public as part of the Air Max family in 1979.
1987 – The First Air Max Sneaker: The Air Max 1
1987 is the first official year when the Nike Air technology was fully implemented into a sneaker. Legendary architect and Nike sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield was the person who first came up with a prototype for the shoe in 1986. After presenting it to Nike with minor changes, the first official Nike Air Max 1 was released in 1987. It was released in two official colorways – blue and red. This sneaker was what paved the way for innovation and future designs of the Nike Air Max line.
1990 – The Nike Air Max 90
The release of the Air Max 90 in 1990 saw many new features in the Air Max line. The first and most noticeable new feature was the increase in size of Nike’s signature Air Technology bubble on the midsole of the sneaker. Some minor details were also fleshed out, including different panel patterns and how high the shoe is cut. The Nike Air Max 90 was released in an iconic Infrared colorway, which is one of the most well known colorways that Nike has ever released. This sneaker included the neon red/pink color, with other features of black, white and grey to offset the neon.
1991 – The Nike Air Max 180
The Nike Air Max 180 made many improvements to the Air Max line, including both design improvements, new materials used in a Nike sneaker, and of course the Nike Air cushioning. As implied by its name, the Nike Air Max 180 was the first Nike sneaker to feature 180 degrees of visible Air cushioning. The introduction of urethane to the outsole made the air bubble pop made the sneaker pop with more textures and color. The original Nike Air Max 180 was released in one original colorway, called Ultramarine. This colorway featured a white base with bright blue and red accents throughout.
1993 – The Nike Air Max 93
The Nike Air Max 93 saw even more visible air cushioning technology. This time, the sneaker was released with 270 degrees of exposed air. Designer of the shoe, Tinker Hatfield, was inspired by the handle on milk jugs. Another new feature that this sneaker brought to life includes the addition of a neoprene sock liner, which is a material meant to be a good insulator while being resistant to water, heat, and oil. This addition gave the shoe a new space-like look that fans raved about. Originally released in 1993, this shoe came in the iconic colorway Dusty Cactus, which featured a white and black base with an accent color of bright teal on the swoosh and visible air bubble.
1997 – The Nike Air Max 97
The Nike Air Max 97 was released in 1997 and was the first Air Max sneaker to feature almost full visible air cushioning. This wasn’t the only extravagant feature of the Air Max 97 – the entire body of it changed. Designer Christian Tresser was inspired by the way water ripples in a pond, so he included sleek lines on the shoe to pay homage to the water. The original colorway that he donned as ‘Silver Bullet’ was representative of the metal finishes appearing on fast BMX bikes at the time. It featured a silver upper with lighter and darker colors throughout the rest of the shoe. The full look of this sneaker completely embodied a fast, futuristic look, and is still popular today with many more releases and colorways to date.
2003 – The Nike Air Max 2003
The Nike Air Max 2003 is one of a few designs that haven’t been rereleased since its inception in 2003. Designer Sergio Lozano, who is the same designer of the Air Max 95, designed this sneaker with running, comfort, and style in mind. This edition also has a fully visible air unit, similar to the Air Max 97. It’s also made of a carbon-based fiber that was manufactured in Japan in order to provide maximum breathability and waterproof aspects. This truly minimalistic sneaker was released in a monochromatic white and silver colorway and was popular among runners at the time.
2006 – The Nike Air Max 360
As its name may suggest, the Nike Air Max 360 was released with a full 360 degree air cushioning unit on the midsole, without any EVA materials at all. Because of this, people were able see the interior of the shoe, which made for a really fun addition to the Air Max line. This shoe was also very lightweight, weighing under a pound. This sneaker appealed to many different kinds of people, including runners and basketball players who wanted to feel like they were standing on a cloud. The original design featured a white mesh upper with a red line design just above the midsole.
2014 – The Nike Flyknit Air Max
The first Air Max sneaker featuring lightweight flyknit material was released in 2014, and featured 360 degrees of air cushioning, just like the Air Max 360. This collaboration of ultra-flexible material with a cloud-like step made for the perfect lightweight running sneaker. Its release in early 2014 took the internet by storm, as this sneaker was released in 6 original colorways. And the original price definitely reflected its high quality – at $225.
2017 – The Nike Air Vapormax
Here’s the shoe you’ve all been waiting for- the Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit. This sneaker is one of the most anticipated pairs of sneakers Nike has ever released. When it was developed, its details were kept private for almost 7 years. The Vapormax Flyknit is one of the lightest and most formfitting sneakers that exist on the market, and will leave you feeling like you’re only wearing a pair of socks. The combination of extremely light flyknit material with the air cushioning technology all around the shoe will require some breaking in, but is very comfortable once you’re used to it. It also has great traction, providing for good running conditions on many textured surfaces. The original flyknit sneaker weighed in at just about 13 oz., and this one is nearly 1/2 the weight at 8.5 oz. This sneaker definitely lived up to the hype, and was released in these six colorways:
- Pale Grey
- OG (a university red and white colorway)
- Cookies and Cream
- Triple Black
- Pure Platinum
All The Best Features of the Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit
Let’s face it. There’s a lot to dig into with all the different features of the Nike Air Vapormax shoe. Let’s take a look at some of them, and more importantly, what makes the shoe so unique.
Flyknit Fabric Construction
One of the first, and perhaps most noticeable, features of the Air Vapormax Flyknit shoe is the upper, which is made of extremely lightweight flyknit material. A fun fact about the flyknit material is that it creates up to 60% less waste than normal footwear manufacturing. So not only is the Vapormax Flyknit super lightweight, it is made with sustainable materials that help environmental sustainability.
Vapormax Air Technology
The vapormax air units are featured all the way around the sneaker. The addition of the air unit allows for a light, cushioned step with every run. Nike’s Vapormax Air Technology is also created using sustainable materials, by reusing more than 90% of the other waste produced by Nike shoes.
Another feature of the Nike Vapormax Flyknit that fans love is the sneaker’s modern design. With the incorporation of full air max technology, sleek lines, a rounded heel, and well thought out colorways, this shoe screams that it’s from the future.
Not only does this sneaker look amazing, it lasts for a long time too. This is in part to the genius durability that the shoe offers. One may think that because it’s so lightweight, it won’t last long – but they’d be wrong. The high quality materials created with sustainability in mind create a very durable structure that allows for as much use out of the shoe as possible.
This sneaker is a true representation of comfort. Not only are they extremely lightweight, the air cushioning technology creates a bounce with every step. They fit in all the right places, including the heels, laces, and toes, making for one of the most comfortable shoes around.
Versatility of the VaporMax Flyknit
This sneaker looks as though it is out of this world. So, what can it be used for? The answer is simple- just about anything imaginable. Now we’ll go into detail about some of the many functions of the Vapormax Flyknit shoe.
One of the largest uses of the vapormax flyknit is for running. Between the lightweight flyknit material or the bouncy air cushioning technology, runners love to use this sneaker to run long distances or shorter distances. It can also be made useful in different track and field events, where there is frequent starting, stopping, and jumping.
Basketball is another one of the many uses for the Vapormax Flyknit sneaker. Similar to running, basketball players like this shoe because of the air cushioning technology with every step and jump. Not to mention it’s extremely lightweight, so players won’t be constricted around the ankles, toes, or heels when they’re trying to make their plays.
Utility aside, the vapormax flyknit sneaker is very versatile in that it is also very fashionable. You can pair it with about any outfit, ranging from streetwear to luxury. There are also many different colorways that you have to work with. If you wanted to, you could have a pair for every color of the rainbow and beyond – the possibilities are truly endless.
Icons of Pop Culture
Last but definitely not least, the Vapormax Flyknit is sneaker that is an icon in pop culture all over the world. From women’s and men’s specific colorways to celebrities, all the way to fashion runway shows, there is no limit to the uses of the Vapormax Flyknit sneaker. This shoe also makes a statement on social media – whether it be Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, or Facebook, it truly stands out.
The Nike Air Vapormax – Our Top Choices
There are many different colorways, designs, and styles of the Vapormax Flyknit. In no particular order, we’ll identify our top picks.
Women’s Air Vapormax Flyknit 3 in Black White Metallic Silver
The women’s Air Vapormax Flyknit 3 is one of the latest releases of the vapormax series. The black, white, metallic silver colorway creates a fresh look for women’s sneakers. A metallic silver/white color is seen on the air cushioning technology, as well as the Nike swoosh. Black detailing is featured on the heel, padding, tongue, laces, and toe cap. Both black and white colors are intertwined on the upper of the sneaker. This shoe can be purchased on Amazon, starting at just $158.
Nike Men’s Air Vapormax Flyknit in White Pure Platinum
This modern men’s Vapormax Flyknit shoe can revolutionize your collection of sneaker. The bold white platinum color is seen on all portions of the shoe, except for a slightly darker white on the air max unit and heel. Be careful not to get it dirty, though – the shoe is so white that stains may be hard to remove. This sneaker is a little rarer than the others, and can be found under “Nike Men’s Track & Field Shoes” starting at a price of $249.97 on Amazon.
Nike Women’s Air Vapormax Flyknit 3 in Black, Anthracite, and White
The Nike Women’s Air Vapormax Flyknit 3 in Black, Anthracite, and White is another one of our top picks. The entire outside of the shoe is a deep black color, even on the air unit, Nike swoosh, and heel. The tongue has brief white branding on it, but other than that this monochromatic look makes for a fan favorite. This iconic sneaker can be found on Amazon starting at $229.99.
The Kids Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit 3 in Black and Gold
Nike didn’t forget about kids when they released the Vapormax Flyknit shoe. The Kids’ Nike Air Vapormax Flyiknit 3 in black and gold is our last pick out of the Vapormax sneakers collection. Even though this shoe is smaller, the design and purpose of the shoe is not forgotten. Accents of gold are found on the Nike swoosh, portions of the flyknit upper, and the tongue. The rest of the shoe is blacked out, created a slick color that kids are sure to love. This pair can be found on Amazon starting at $179.99.
The Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit sneaker is one of the most iconic designs of sneaker that Nike has released in their Air Max line. Although a recent inception, there are already more releases in the works, as runner, collectors, and pop culture influencers alike love this shoe. There’s many different colorways out there today, so you’re sure to find one that you love.