Selecting the best Air Max shoes to add to your collection can be quite a rewarding decision, given the multitude of models available. Fortunately, we're here to simplify your search as we've rounded up the best releases from the last year or so.
Originally introduced as the Nike Air Tailwind, the Air Max series played a pivotal role in propelling Nike's innovative Air cushioning technology into the limelight. However, a lot has changed since 1987, including the Air Max design, which has undergone several transformations to ensure it remains one of the best sneakers on the market.
This constant evolution is what sets the Air Max apart from other iconic sneakers like the Air Force 1. Nike's commitment to reinventing its silhouette has allowed the Air Max to remain a perennial favourite in the world of trainers. The model is still being released to this day, evidenced by the recently dropped "Dark Stucco" 1s, and remains just as popular as ever, hence our list.
With that in mind, here are some of our favourite new designs so far. Just make sure you bookmark this page because we'll be updating our list throughout 2024, and check out the best sneaker deals if you want to know if any of these great shoes are on sale. Before that though, let's actually run through these awesome Air Max sneakers.
Best Air Max sneakers
- Nike Air Max 1 “Shima Shima” - a stylish Air Max 1
- Nike Air Max 90 “Pressure” - best 90s design
- Corteiz x Nike Air Max 95 “Pink Beam” - a top-tier 95 collab
- Nike Air Max 97 "Golden Bullet" - a classic remade for the modern era
- Nike Air VaporMax Plus “Multigradient” - one for VaporMax fans
- Nike Air Max Plus "Baltic Blue" - arctic excellence
- Nike Air Max 1 '86 "Big Bubble" - the original returns
1. Nike Air Max 1 “Shima Shima”
Best Air Max 1
We're kicking things off with a classic. The “Shima Shima" Air Max 1 was brought back at the start of 2023 as a 1:1 remake of the original 2003 release.
The same muted tones return, including Wolf Grey and white across the upper and sole. However, where the shoe really makes its mark is through the inclusion of Plum Eclipse to accent some of the Air Max 1's defining features.
You also get a striped collar and tongue as a callback, once again, to the 2003 original, plus the same unique Japanese-inspired branding on the tongue tab and insole.
On the whole, this "Shima Shima" reissue is an absolute gem - definitely a colourway worth considering adding to your collection.
- Read More: Best sneakers for men
2. Nike Air Max 90 "Pressure"
Best Air Max 90
Stepping into the '90s now with this bright, vibrant, and stylish "Pressure" Air Max 90.
These kicks pay homage to the incredible legacy of Frank Rudy, the genius behind the iconic Air cushioning system. They incorporate subtle nods to the Air's rich history, proudly displaying the release year on the cushioning unit itself. The transparent "Air pocket" heel logo also serves as a visually striking tribute.
These sneakers boast an impressive colour scheme too, blending Summit White, Sesame, and bright orange accents. The midsole, in contrast, features bold black accents around the Air units.
In essence, these sneakers stand as a testament to the relentless pursuit of comfort and offer a captivating lesson in the evolution of cushioning technology. If you're a fan of Air Max history, these are an absolute must-have.
- Read More: Best sneakers for women
3. Corteiz x Nike Air Max 95 “Pink Beam”
Best Air Max 95
There haven't been too many Air Max 95s released over the last year. However, out of those that have debuted, we think the "Pink Beam" Corteiz collaboration is up there as one of the best.
The colourway dropped as part of a larger Corteiz package and was first released in a pop-up store in New York, thus making the design incredibly hard to come by.
Even to this day, the sneaker isn't the easiest or cheapest to buy on the resale market. However, the design is so good that it had to feature in our list.
The upper dominated by black contrasted by bright pink accents is a joy to look at, and of course, the pink Air bubble viewing windows are an excellent touch. Ultimately, this is a great sneaker and one that would fit well in any shoe collection.
- Read More: Best Nike sneakers
4. Nike Air Max 97 "Golden Bullet"
Best Air Max 97
2023 saw Nike bring back an all-time classic Air Max colourway in the "Golden Bullet" 97. First debuted in the '90s, the sneaker has gone on to be one of the most sought-after Air Max on the market.
The design utilises the same colour blocking as the original. It's essentially the exact same as its "Silver Bullet" relative, except the silver upper is switched out for gold counterparts.
Contrasting the gold are bright red accents, specifically utilised for Nike branding. You also get a white midsole and a black outsole to match the interior lining.
On the whole, this is up there as one of the best colourways ever made. So, if you're looking to add a piece of history to your collection.
- Read More: Best low-top sneakers
5. Nike Air VaporMax Plus “Multigradient”
Best Air VaporMax
For a more modern, vibrant vibe, the Nike Air VaporMax Plus “Multigradient” colourway is unrivalled.
Apart from its pristine white laces, the entire design of the shoe showcases an array of neon shades. A gradient of peach, purple, and baby blue spreads across the neoprene upper and tongue, creating a visually striking effect that's bound to stand out on feet.
Around the midfoot, you get a transparent TPU caging, while the leather heel counter features a light blue shade that sets the tone for the decorative elements.
Scarlet swooshes and pull tabs add to the overall aesthetic, while hints of red and orange emanate from the tread to round off this bright, colourful, and out there design.
- Read More: Best high-top sneakers
6. Nike Air Max Plus "Baltic Blue"
Best Air Max Plus
The "Baltic Blue" Air Max Plus is an excellent sneaker that draws inspiration from the frigid temperatures of the Baltic Sea.
The shoe's appearance is exceptionally sleek, featuring a gradient of icy blue-to-white on the upper that provides a strong foundation for the design. The white midsole and laces are a classic touch, while the black accents provide a stark contrast, outlining the mini Swoosh and appearing on the mudguard and outsole.
Interestingly, the shoe also features a semi-translucent caged lattice that almost mimics the increasing depth of the Baltic waters. This further enforces their theme, and gives them a unique twist over other Air Max designs.
Ultimately, the shoe is stunning and would no doubt turn heads when worn on feet.
- Read More: Best black sneakers
7. Nike Air Max 1 '86 "Big Bubble"
Best retro Air Max
As part of Air Max Day 2023, Nike brought back the ultimate OG sneaker in the Air Max 1 '86 "Big Bubble", providing a near-identical replica of the original Air Max design.
To achieve this, Nike CT scanned one of maybe only 400,000 released pairs of the "Big Bubble" to gain an accurate replication of that old-school Air bubble window.
The rest of the shoe follows suit, combining white mesh with grey and bright red overlays to round off what is an all-time classic design. So, if you're after a piece of sneaker history, make sure you consider adding the "Big Bubble" 1 to your collection.
- Read More: Best white sneakers
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
With so many Air Max sneakers to choose from, you may have a few questions about them. Don't worry though because we've answered some of the most commonly asked queries right here.
Where can you buy Air Max sneakers?
There are several places we'd recommend exploring for new Air Max shoes, many of which we go more in-depth on in our list of the best places to buy sneakers right here.
Our first recommendation is to visit the Nike store directly as it tends to be the first place you'll find new Air Max drops, plus Nike offers a 60-day (30 in the UK) returns policy in case you're not 100% satisfied with your order.
Nike also has a useful launch page called SNKRS. New Air Max colourways usually get listed here ahead of their release, with the website allowing you to sign up for push notifications about specific sneaker drops as well.
If the Air Max sneakers you're after are sold out at Nike, then we'd suggest heading over to the resale market on websites like StockX and GOAT. Both authenticate every purchase to ensure the second-hand sneakers you're buying are legit.
When do new Air Max sneakers drop?
There's no specific date or time when Nike releases new Air Max sneakers. Nike tends to drop new shoes seemingly at random throughout the year, thus making it hard to keep up with the latest drops.
That said, the aforementioned SNKRS launch page is worth checking from time to time as Nike lists its most sought-after upcoming releases here ahead of time.
However, we try to cover any new drops ahead of time on RealKit. So, if you're looking for the latest Nike Air Max, make sure you check in with us to see what's on the horizon.
Are Air Max sneakers comfortable?
In terms of comfort, Air Max sneakers are renowned for their exceptional feel, thanks to Nike's innovative air bubble technology integrated into the soles.
Nevertheless, it is crucial to select the appropriate size to ensure optimal comfort for your feet.
The easiest method is to trace an outline around your foot, measure its length and width, and then compare your measurements with one of Nike's size charts. This will help determine the right size of Air Max sneakers for you.
It's important to note that there may be variations in sizing between Nike and adidas, so be mindful of that when purchasing sneakers.
Do Air Max sneakers fit true to size?
Air Max sneakers generally run true to size. However, it's important to note that fit can vary slightly depending on the specific model and individual preferences.
Some people may find that certain Air Max models have a snugger fit, while others may have a slightly looser fit depending on the shape of your feet.
It's always a good idea to refer to the sizing charts provided by Nike or consult customer reviews for specific Air Max models to get an idea of the best size to choose. If you're unsure, you can also visit a physical store to try on different sizes and determine the most comfortable fit for you.
What's the best way to lace Air Max sneakers?
One popular method for lacing Air Max sneakers is a technique we previously discussed in our guide on lacing Jordan 1s.
Begin by placing your shoelace straight across the first row of eyelets to create a horizontal bar.
Next, cross the two lace ends in the middle and thread them through the next set of eyelets, alternating sides. Continue this pattern until you reach the top of the sneaker, where you can then tie a knot.
How long do Air Max sneakers typically last?
The lifespan of Air Max sneakers can vary depending on various factors such as frequency of use, intensity of activities, maintenance, and personal wear patterns. However, on average, Air Max sneakers can last years if stored and maintained correctly.
It's important to note that this estimate is just a general guideline, and individual experiences may vary. Some people may find that their Air Max sneakers last longer, especially if they primarily use them for casual wear rather than intense physical activities.
To ensure the longevity of your Air Max sneakers, it's recommended to follow proper care and maintenance guidelines provided by Nike. This includes cleaning them regularly, avoiding exposure to extreme conditions like direct heat, and replacing them when signs of excessive wear and tear, such as worn-out soles or reduced cushioning, become noticeable.
Are Air Max sneakers suitable for both men and women?
Yes, Air Max sneakers are suitable for both men and women. The Air Max line offers a wide range of styles, including unisex designs, as well as models specifically designed for men or women.
The availability of certain models will vary, but, generally speaking, you can pick up Air Max sneakers from Nike and other trusted retailers in both men's and women's sizing.
Can Air Max shoes be customised?
Yes, Nike Air Max shoes can be customized through Nike's customisation platform known as "Nike By You" (formerly known as NikeID). This platform allows you to personalise various aspects of your Air Max shoes, including colours, materials, patterns, and sometimes even additional design elements like text or graphics.
With Nike By You, you can create unique pairs of Air Max shoes that reflect your style and preferences. Keep in mind that the extent of customisation options may vary depending on the specific Air Max model and current offerings on the Nike By You platform.
At the time of writing, you can customise the likes of the Air Max 90, 95, and 97 if you desire. Just head on over to the Nike website and Nike By You and start customising!