On Air Max Eve, more specifically, March 26 at 9:26 p.m., I headed over to the Bucktown Nike store to get one last run in for the day. Not just any old run in, but a rare opportunity to test drive Nike’s newest gift to the running community, the Air VaporMax. Having been running in Nike’s Air Zoom Structures since they were the Structure Triax 10,  I was very curious to see what this shoe could do for me and my running. There is an old saying that if it ain’t broke don’t fix it; I agree with that to an extent. If something is within reach and has been in development for over seven years though, see if an update will do you good.

Without having run in the shoe yet, automatically I liked that it was really light and that the upper was made of a non-restricting flyknit.  It is as if the shoe fits to your foot instead of your foot fitting to the shoe; this was a huge contrast to my current state Structure.  I also felt like this was not your ordinary running shoe in that it was actually stylish. I could wear them for more than errands and running.  When I swapped my brickhouse-like Structures for the ultra-light VaporMax, I was concerned that I was compromising my stability and support for sleekness and performance.  I remained open minded and put one foot in front of the other as we headed out the door and onward to the SneakEasy 30 Year Celebration of the Air Max.

I have to admit that probably the first quarter of a mile felt foreign, but that is to be expected when you go from old faithful to the newest kid on the block.  The further we got into the run, the more I forgot about my tried and true – with each foot strike, I felt a little springier. I am now eager to ease these in to a 20-week marathon training season to see how they really compare against old faithful. Stay tuned.

What is technologically unique about the VaporMax is that there is no midsole, it’s just a Flyknit upper sitting on top of an Air bag. Hence, you are literally running on Air. The tread of the Air bag has raised lugs that function like pistons. As you hit the ground, these lugs push into the Air bag and take in the pressure. As you push off the ground, that built up pressure then releases generating a spring effect.

The Air Max 1 was designed by Tinker Hatfield.  Running geek side note, Tinker ran for Bill Bowerman at the University of Oregon.  He joined Nike as their Corporate Architect in 1981.  Five and half years later he moved in to the role of shoe designer, designing the Air Max.  Part of his inspiration for this shoe actually came from the Georges Pompidou Centre in Paris.  This building was not very well received because it did not blend in with the traditional architecture of its neighbors nor the architecture of that time.  The buildings insides were exposed so to speak. For instance, the escalators and ducts were visible to the human eye.  When the engineers were having a hard time encasing the airbags into the midsole, Tinker pushed for the air bags to remain visible.  There was a lot of push back against this internally. I guess you can say that Tinker disrupted not just the industry but his own backyard.

Our run that night ended at the SneakEasy Celebration and before I left, I ended up buying a pair.  My Structures aren’t broken, but I decided I might need to go a little more aerobic in my training.  Now, I am very excited to see what Nike does for the 30th Anniversary of the Huarache.

2 models :

The 2 models that were release on Air Max day are the Air VaporMax  Pure Platinum (SOLD OUT) and the Air VaporMax  OG (limited sizes available) Both models retail for $190 USD.

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Coach Denise, aka Marathon Whisperer, has been running since the 4th grade and still loves it as much today as she did back then. Her first marathon finish line back in 1994 Chicago empowered more than she could have imagined. Since then she has run over 200 plus races all over the world, included Wisconsin Ironman. She used to be all about the clock when she ran/raced until a near fatal car accident in 2009 refocused her on the journey of running/racing and not just the destination. She had a marathon coach who believed in her until she believed it and that is who she emulates in working with her clients. She coaches beginners with no running background all the way to Boston qualifiers.


  1. Hi Denise – I’m curious… How did the vapormax flyknit hold-up for the 20 week marathon training program. Appreciate any thoughts you are willing to share.

    Thanks in advance!


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