The upper of the Nike Air Max Pulse is made of a mesh material with a 360 synthetic leather overlay. This is a move away from the seamless upper of the Nike Air Max 270 which has a much more futuristic look. The mesh is lightly padded and provides excellent breathability to the foot all while looking pretty durable. The leather mudguard gives this sneaker an unique look, especially on how it complements the big Swoosh logo on the mesh with the smaller one. It provides good protection from dirt in bad weather but also adds to the stability of the shoe. What we noticed from the beginning of our Nike Air Max Pulse review is how stable it is. Both the upper and the sole unit have been designed to excel in this department. The Upper and sole unit follow the same flow as with the Air Max 270, with a TPU heel tab that seems prolonged in the lower part of the shoe.
The 270 Air Max unit catches the eye first when it comes to the sole unit of the Nike Air Max Pulse. A soft foam that seems to be Phylon is placed in the front, much like the Air Max 270. However, Nike added to this sneaker a point loaded cushioning system and a higher density foam that goes above the Air Max unit and in between the Phylon foam. The result is a much smoother transition from heel to toe compared to the Air Max 270. The sole also feels more stable, with excellent shock absorption in the heel and cushioning across the whole sole without being too soft. While they are designed to be a lifestyle sneaker for casual wear you can use these for light athletic activities and even in the gym if you’re not planning to run. If you need a shoe to wear all day long this is a great choice. If you need extra support for your feet these are ready to go.
A possible downside for the design of this shoe is the placement of the textile material to the back of the midsole; while it looks good it is glued in and it is prone to get dirty and over time even to come off.
To conclude this review Nike Air Max Pulse is surely a welcomed addition to the Air Max line of sneakers. If you got tired of the colorways Nike comes up with to refresh their retro models or you want to move away from the Air Max 270 and try something new, these are surely a great option. They provide excellent support for long hours of wear, great comfort and they are made to last. The $150 retail price seems fair when comparing it with the other models from this line. Nike already announced several new colorways to be released soon, giving a sign that these will likely become their flagship models for years to come.
If still not convinced check out the On Cloudnova sneaker that is in about the same price range and delivers even better comfort.