Behind the secretive walls of Nike’s Air Manufacturing Innovation (NAMI) facilities in Oregon and Missouri, over 140 innovation and engineering experts, eight PhDs and a highly-skilled workforce of 1,300 people banded together to give us Nike’s most advanced shoe yet: The Nike Air VaporMax.
According to Andreas Harlow, VP and Creative Director of Footwear Design for Nike Running, it was all about “amplifying the feeling of running on air.”
The Nike Air Vapor Max is essentially a Flyknit upper and an Air Max unit fused for optimum performance. But don’t let its simplicity fool you. The sole is composed of over 39,000 components and is more complex than a high-powered car engine, making it an engineering wonder.
Building on over 30 years of science and research (the original Nike Air Max debuted in 1987), Nike has worked specifically on the development of the VaporMax for close to eight years. After approximately fifteen attempts to fuse the material directly to the Air bag, rigorous inspection processes, testing each sole to the equivalent of almost 650 kilometres, Nike has perfected the VaporMax and the result is a lightweight (113 grams lighter than previous Air Max running silhouettes), extremely responsive and flexible shoe. “The Nike Air VaporMax is really the intersection of performance and style, delivering performance benefits with an all-new, clean, modern aesthetic,” says Brett Holts, VP of Running Footwear at Nike.
There are a lot of numbers and information to absorb but here’s what you really need to know about the Nike Air VaporMax:
- This is Nike’s most advanced shoe yet (and that’s saying a lot!)
- It is Nike’s closest manifestation to “running on air”
- It maximizes the benefits of Nike Air: ultra-light, consistent and protective cushioning and the snug fit of the Flyknit
- It is the lightest Air Max running shoe ever: 113 grams lighter than previous Air Max running silhouettes
- With no foam, no glue and no unnecessary layers, the new mid-sole achieves greater flexibility and spring
As Canadian Olympic Nike 800 metre Track athlete Melissa Bishop says, “The Nike Air VaporMax is not a shoe for everyone, it’s for those who dream about running on air.”
Faze was invited to the launch event at the Nike Loft in Toronto, and enjoyed a run in the new Nike Air VaporMax. Fun times!
(We also had the chance to attend another significant paradigm-shifting launch back in 2004 for the unveiling of Nike Free at the University of Cologne in Germany, shoes which we also have sworn by and still buy/wear to this day!)
Photos courtesy of Nike