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Nike Air Max Plus Review
Recently I was able to get a great deal on the Nike Air Max Plus OG and its III version, making it a good time to review their features and compare them a bit. The Nike Air Max Plus, also known simply as the Tn, is one of Nikes most popular Air Max models and is still a popular favorite 22 years after it was first released. The shoe was originally designed by Sean McDowell, who at the time was an inexperienced designer that had been hired just a year before the shoes release. The Air Max Plus is known for its vibrant uppers and its caging, inspired by McDowell’s time in Florida, where he would sketch the sunsets on the beaches. The caging is said to have been based off the palm trees blowing in the wind, and the bright colors are reminiscent of the sunsets that McDowell would have experienced.
The two pairs I grabbed are both part of the Parachute pack, that released alongside an Air Max react 270 and an Air Max 1 in early 2020. The Air Max Plus identifies with the TN technology, being the first ever sneaker from Nike to feature it. It was marketed as a running shoe in 1998 but, as most of the styles from that era, it became a fashion sneaker over time. Even if it has the same TN technology, the III is clearly not a performance running shoe and it falls in the same category with the OG version.
The upper of the Nike Air Max Plus OG is defined by the wavy lines imagined by the designer and put in practice by Nike with synthetic overlays that sit on top of a lightly padded mesh. The result is a catchy, unique look but also results in a snug fit, well in sync with the sole. The III version drops the old pattern and the overlays are horizontal, making it a better fit for those with slightly wide feet. The breathability is moderate, certainly not great if you start sweating in these. However, for an all day casual wear the comfort is ideal. For both versions the upper was created with an attention to detail, making it a The gradient colors have been a predominant theme for this sneaker over the decades and these two are no different in this regard. In fact, for the III version, this and the lacing system are the only elements that were kept from the OG as far as the upper goes.
The midsole of the Nike Air Max Plus is reminiscent of the '95 model as far as the looks. It was a time when Nike started experimenting with the Air Max technology being implemented in the forefoot as well as the heel but also have all air chambers being visible. In 1998 the Air Max Plus was the first sneaker to feature the Tuned Air technology, which focused on how to best implement air, instead of how much air could you implement. The way Tuned Air works is that instead of having pillars for support in the air bubble, the air unit is held up with connecting semicircular foam balls, that compress more easily, therefore providing more comfort. With the TN technology applied in the heel area, this sneaker is able to better adjust to the wearer's pronation and deliver optimal support and stability. Another interesting detail of the sole is the shank, that has been designed to resemble a whale tail, whilst also adding some color to the sole. With the pair we picked up, the whale tail is covered in a blue and red that contrasts well with the otherwise black midsole.
The outsole is somewhat narrow, in sync with the aerodynamic shape of the upper. It has a nice design with details hinting at the TN chambers from the midsole. For the III model Nike modified the visible area from the heel , with the midsole pretty much the same.
Nike Air Max Plus OG vs III
With its one of the kind design the Nike Air Max OG was always about striking looks, with detailing and colors that's impossible not to catch your eye. With the Nike Air Max Plus III the brand took all that at another level. While the upper design is almost completely changed it stays true to its original roots. The synthetic overlays are horizontal this time and the brand introduced a big heel cage that features intermittent lines towards the are where the shank used to be. The III tends to be a bit more roomier than its predecessor, mainly to the way the upper is constructed. It also has a more bold look with detailing and branding all over. The sole is pretty much the same aside of the visible Air Max unit in the heel which was expanded. The III version is also about 1 oz heavier than the OG, mainly to the big heel cage. They are at about 14-15 oz for a size 10.5 which is another reason why these cannot be considered running shoes anymore.
You can’t go wrong with an Air Max Plus, they are great for any kind of casual use, and would even work for some light exercise. Their technology is a bit dated, but the upper especially still provides a very comfortable fit, that is much nicer than a lot of the new knitted uppers brands are pumping out. If you are also interested in the Air Max Plus III, it works as a nice upgrade and might be a better suited shoe for the summer, with its much more breathable design, but if you would prefer the nostalgia of the original, then you can find the Air Max Plus for a retail of $170.