On March 26th, 1987, the world was introduced to one of Nike’s most innovative creations to date. A combination of Frank Rudy’s technical concept and Tinker Hatfield’s visionary approach to design, this meeting of minds would go on to revolutionise the idea of comfort within running shoes.
Nike's core mission statement when first designing the original 1987 model was to provide a ‘lightweight, consistent cushioning that lasts’; needless to say that Nike have continued to reiterate this mantra throughout each Air Max releases over the past three decades, which has in turn rewarded them with consistent global success.
As we slowly embark on 30 years of greatness, we begin to dig our teeth into the latest fascinating innovation from Nike, VaporMax. The runner is an unprecedented silhouette that features a complete standalone Air unit running through the entire length of the midsole. Compared to its predecessors the shoe eliminates any need for additional foam layers by conjoining the iconic Flyknit upper straight to the sole. We took a closer look at the VaporMax in our March episode of size? previews with Nike Product Development manager Rory Fraser, who explained the benefits of the shoe from a performance standpoint.
By removing these foam layers it allowed Nike to produce a trainer that is deemed ‘the closest thing to running directly on air’, whilst also providing high levels of comfort, durability and quality through a light-weight finish. Essentially the shoe is only made from four components, the midsole unit, Flyknit clad upper, laces and insole making it an incredibly light finished product.
The men’s shoe weighs in at 8.5 oz (UK 9) with a women’s at 7 oz (UK5.5), creating the lightest Air Max sneaker on the planet. Overall the shoe is extremely sustainable, with 90% of waste from airbag production is in fact recycled into the creation of other airbags. The use of Flyknit also lends itself to reducing the carbon footprint by only producing as much material as is actually required, again resulting in very little waste
The mechanics behind the VaporMax have taken 8 years to master and has undergone constant rigorous 3-D modelling & simulation, within which athletes tested for potential hotspots and issues, determining the need for increased air chambers.
This design is a credit to the Air Max’s 30-year legacy and symbolises Nike’s effort for continuous innovation. The VaporMax is a salute to Nike’s future, while also paying homage to it's past.
The Nike VaporMax will be available online and in selected size? stores on Sunday 26th March, priced at £170.