Nike’s Air Max technology has come a long way since 1987. What started as a visible air unit in the heel eventually turned into a full-length sole. Air Max is going to another level next year with the VaporMax, a running sneaker that represents the apex of Nike’s proprietary tech. Not only is this new innovation catered to flex with the natural motion of your foot, it also fulfills the promise of actually running on air without any foam or other layers in between. It isn’t set to launch until the spring of 2017, but Nike’s VP of Innovation Seana Hannah broke down how the brand made this product possible.
5 Things You Need to Know About the Nike VaporMax
Behind the next generation of Nike Air Max.
Creating the Nike VaporMax took over seven years.
“It’s been a journey and it’s been super exciting. But, there’s also a lot of incredible problem solving,” Hannah said. “The sneaker is an engineering masterpiece.”
Essentially, the Vapor Max is a Flyknit upper + an Air Max unit with no other parts or tooling.
“What we’ve done here is eliminate layers,” Hannah said. “In traditional shoes, you have a lot of foam between the upper and the midsole.”
This is the closest you’ll get to actually running directly on air.
“The Air sole itself is contoured at the top so we can put the upper directly on it,” Hannah said, adding the the outsole of the shoe is an extension of the air unit without extra materials.
The Vapor Max will change how Nike develops Air Max sneakers going forward.
“We really had to rethink the engineering, manufacturing, and shoe construction to make this happen,” Hannah said. “What we found is that we can engineer the Air units so that it’s super flexible and that we can engineer these more extreme geometries to get air in the place where the runner needs it.”
It’s the lightest Air Max sneaker ever made.
A men’s size 9 weighs about 8.5 oz, while a women’s 8 weighs about 7 oz. “The result is this very bouncy sensation. It’s soft, extremely flexible and really, really light,” Hannah said.