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REVIEW: NIKE AIR MAX 2016

Arguably the most hyped sporting shoe on the planet for decades and with this years model being a huge hit(again), I decided to take a closer look at the performance and design of the Nike Air Max 2016. First of all lets's get acquainted with it's heritage, design and product details.

Nike Air Max origins.
Nike's revolutionary Air-Sole unit made its way into Nike footwear in the late '70s. In 1987, the Nike Air Max 1 debuted with visible air in its heel, allowing fans more than just the feel of Air-Sole comfort suddenly they could see it. Since then, next-generation Nike Air Max shoes have become a hit with athletes and collectors by offering striking colour combinations and reliable, lightweight cushioning.

Nike-Air-Max-2016-design squareAir Max 2016 red

Design.
The full-length Max Air unit is designed with a tubular construction that enhances flexibility while putting more air underfoot for an ultra-smooth ride. Engineered mesh provides ventilation for your forefoot while supporting your mid foot. The partial mesh inner sleeve enhances breathability while offering a sock-like fit. Flywire cables integrate with the laces and wrap your arch for an adaptive, supportive fit

Product details.
-Plush foam and mesh tongue for breathable comfort.
-Midsole flex grooves provide greater forefoot flexibility.
-Waffle outsole for durability and great multi-surface traction.
-Reflective details enhance visibility in low light.
-Weight: approximately 289 grams(women's size 39).

First look.
I was in the market for pair of functional trainers when i first saw this shoe and this where the biggest 'problem', if you wanna call it that, of the 2016 Air Max lies. Although officially a running shoe I had no intention of running on them whatsoever but i liked the look so i tried them on anyway. And in that very instant I was sold really,  the comfort and support I experienced was greater than any trainer I have ever worn in my life(and I wore quite a few). It's literally feels like you're putting on a sock and when standing or walking you feel instantly grounded. Personally I find a lot of the Nike Air models a bit too soft on the heel but this one isn't. It somehow has the feel of equal damping across the entire length on the foot. It is also a shoe that looks better on the foot than on the shelf or on a picture. Some people may find the sole a bit bulky but that somehow magically disappears when you put them on. I was now faced with a dilemma, I really wanted them, but had no intention of using them for their actual purpose, which I normally do not recommend. And at 190 euros it gave me something to think about. When i was able to get a good deal i finally pulled the trigger and bought them. Was this a smart decision? Continue to read and find out for yourself.

Performance.
-Running: I'm not a great runner and I only ran with the Air Max's on a treadmill for a couple of times specially for this review, they felt pretty firm and damping and support are great. There are more purpose designed and lighter runners out there, Nike Frees for example. But if you are heavier than average and run on a hard surface these are definitely worth trying, shock absorption is excellent.
-Training: Performs really excellent as a trainer. Lightweight, comfortable and great support. Offers superb grip on sometimes slippery gym floors. I mostly use them on days when i have to do heavy lifting in the gym(squats or dead-lifts) when i need that rock-solid stability. It boasts ample flexibility if you wanna do lunges for example(which you would expect from a runner). I highly recommend them for everyday training.
-Daily use: I do not wear them for daily use except for ging to and from the gym. But i see and know quite a few people who do and with it's great looks and comfort why wouldn't you. Some styles are very well suited for casual wear.

Price tag.
With a starting price of 190 euros, going all the way up to 285 euros for a pair of Flyknit ID's Nike's flagship model is downright expensive. You can get a good deal if you're a bit creative, visit Nike's own website for example. They regularly have offers on certain styles and colors and if you have recently shopped in a Nike factory store and filled out the customer feedback questionnaire (check your receipt) you will get a so called 'pulse code' that will get you an additional 20 percent discount on top of that(on sales up to 500 euros). This means that you can grab a pair for around 120 euros and have it delivered at your home, which seems a far more reasonable price tag to me.

Rating(1-10).
-Style: 9,5. This shoe looks stellar and with so many color combinations and styles available and even the option to design your own on Nike's website there's probably one for everybody's taste. I never hand out 10's because that would mean it cannot be bettered and who knows what 2017 will bring?
-Comfort: 9. Easily the most comfortable shoe i have worn in a long time. Almost feels like coming home, this shoe has a near perfect balance between support and cushioning.
-Performance: 8,5. Awesome for training and daily wear too if it's your style. Yes you can run on them, but would I use it as a long distance runner? probably not.
-Durability: 8,5. I've owned a pair for a couple of months and using them in the intense the way that I do I've had no issues at all. Why an 8,5 then you might ask? I use a lot of Nike products and have encountered quality issues from time to time which you wouldn't expect from a premium brand. Having said that, you cannot fault this shoe for that and what isn't widely known is that Nike's customer service is second to none. The few instances I have experienced issues in the past the product was replaced right away without any hassle.
-Price: 6. The big and in my opinion only real drawback for this shoe. Is any trainer really worth a 190 euros? Yeah it's a great shoe and off course Nike is a premium brand and some money is paid for that. You could argue that this buys some exclusivity but you see them all over the place. So obviously a lot of people think it's value for money. My advice: be on the lookout for a good deal, who doesn't like a discount?

-Overall: 8. Highly recommended a great training shoe that performs excellent all round with looks to match, only the hefty price tag brings it down.

Conclusion.
Form should follow function, but that doesn't mean a functional shoe cannot look good. If there is one thing the latest iteration of Nike's legendary annual Air Max shoe proofs it's just that. Although officially a running shoe I found it to be very versatile, it's extremely comfortable and it offers great support and shock absorption at the same time. For the sole purpose of running perhaps there are better performing shoes out there. But for training and casual wear it's hard to beat. I highly recommend this awesome shoe. The only thing bringing it down is its price tag, decide for yourself if you think it's worth it. I'm seriously considering buying a second pair, enough said...

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"Make your workout count, train smart not just hard!"