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as of September 21, 2023 12:39 am

Just released in a new wave of colorways, the Nike Air Max 90 is back again, making it a good time to review its features. Originally called the Air Max III, this was one of the defining sneakers of the 90’s, with its streamlined style and bold accents. As the name suggests, it was released in 1990, 3 years after Air Max cushioning was first revealed and in the same year with the Nike Air Trainer SC III.The silhouette is a large part of the reason the technology has managed to stick around for the last 3 decades, being used on countless styles, including the Nike Air Max series, Nike Air Max Uptempo 96, Air Jordan Retro series and many more. Designed by the great Tinker Hatfield, who also designed the Nike Huarache,  the shoe was originally created to be a performance running shoe, which offered a light frame and responsive Air Max cushioning that would propel you forward.

At this point the sneaker has released in plenty of different bright colorways, but I decided to pick up a pair in an Iron Grey and White color scheme. The upper came predominantly in grey, with the two main side panels and TPU accents in black, and the Nike branding dressed in white. Out of the box the shoes look a bit bulky but that first impression went away once I tried them on. Decades after its release this sneaker does not feel outdated as it’s still very lightweight for a casual shoe, stylish and comfortable out of the box.


The upper of the Nike Air Max 90 consists of a breathable mesh, with leather and nubuck panels giving the sneaker some structure, whilst also adding to its aesthetic. While outdated as technology, the several pieces of materials sewn together still manage to offer plenty of comfort and breathability. The shoe molds to your feet without any break-in time and makes up for the somewhat narrow sole. Nike has been getting better at the materials used for this shoe and nowadays it looks and feels even more solid than before. 

The sneaker features TPU accents on the heel and eye stays, and Nike’s swoosh branding is situated on both the medial and lateral sides of the sneaker. Not only does the upper look great, but it’s plush feel and padded tongue makes for a comfortable fit. You also won’t have to worry about your feet overheating, as the mesh gives the sneaker enough air flow for the inside to stay cool.  And of course there is the Swoosh and the heel cup Air branding that we’ve seen at many other models in the following years, including the Air Max Solo in 2023. 

Sole Unit

Like any Air Max silhouette, the most exciting part of the Nike Air Max 90 is its sole unit. Constructed from a standard foam midsole and a rubber outsole, the Air Max 90 provides cushioning in the heel using a visible Air unit. Looks wise, the streamlined aesthetic of the sole has served as inspiration for plenty of casual running shoes since its release, and for good reason. The visible Air Unit gives the sneaker a sporty feel, and the TPU detailing around it allows it to stand out, whilst also breaking up the otherwise plain foam midsole. Lastly, the outsole features the classic waffle sole traction we have gotten used to on classic Nike models, and so far, its rubber compound has held up nicely.

All in all, the technology in the sole is quite outdated compared to its contemporary counterparts. While still comfortable, the shoe offers limited support, enough for casual use, for light runs or in the gym. It is a fashion icon that still rocks some performance power but it best shines as an everyday sneaker at this point in time.

How Much Are Nike Air Max 90

The price for the Nike Air Max 90 has been only going up over the time, especially lately. These use to be $110 just a year or two ago in 2019 but now, in 2020 the base price is $120 and it only goes up from here for special collaborations or special editions. The price went up for the entire Air Max line due to high demand in a time when the supply chain is affected by the pandemic. Unfortunately, we do not expect for the price to go down again soon. Luckily there is no shortage on eBay of pairs at lower prices for both men and women. 

Bottom Line

Overall, the Nike Air Max 90 is one of the most iconic sneakers to ever release, and for $120, it’s also one of the more reasonably priced pairs too given its character. The only serious downside I found while doing this Nike Air Max 90 review it’s performance in terms of support on long runs or cross training in the gym, but if that is really an issue, newer releases like the Air Max 2090 or the Air Max Pulse might be a better choice. If you don’t mind a stiffer sole however, then the Nike Air Max 90 is a solid sneaker that looks great in nearly every situation and it comes in almost every color. Given its popularity Nike comes up with new colorways constantly. In terms of the Air Max series it’s certainly one of the most iconic ones, along with Air Max 1 , 95 and 97.  With such a classic model, you really can’t go wrong. It is a sneaker that you can wear anywhere , casually or in school. You can check out this Nike size chart if not sure about your size. 

Nike Air max 90

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