The Nike Air Vapormax made a comeback in 2023 with an updated edition that we were able to have a closer look at this week. Nike debuted the Air Vapormax in 2016 as a revolutionary new technology, being the first one to feature a full length Air unit. While having the looks and feel of a running shoe the model quickly established itself as a lifestyle sneaker. Several versions were released in the past seven years along with some special editions like the ones with Commes des Garcons and Off White as well as the Nike Air Vapormax Plus spin off that we reviewed not long ago. 

First Impressions 

The pair I got in my hands for this review was the Ultramarine colorway that I was able to get on sale for $150, down from its $210 original price tag. They come in the “Move to Zero” box that Nike has been using recently as part of their eco-friendly marketing campaign. This means, of course, that they are made of at least 20% recycled material. They look very similar with the original pair released in 2016, with some slight changes of course. I was never into these but since the Air Vapormax Plus got me more interested I got curious about this edition as well. The size 11.5 weighs 11.65 oz which is pretty light for a lifestyle sneaker. Nike advertise these as the lightest ever edition of this shoe but I cannot attest to it as I do not have another pair in hand. 

How they fit 

The Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit 2023 fits true to size and it feels slightly wider than its predecessors. The Flyknit upper material makes it so there is extra room in case you have slightly wider feet (like I do) so going a half size up is not necessary in my opinion. There is no need to break them in , they tend to stay the same in terms of comfort, with a slightly clunky midsole which is a hit or miss for many. 




Upper Materials & Tech 

As the name suggests the shoes feature Nike’s signature Flyknit mesh upper which is very durable and accommodating while not too stretchy. This particular edition seems to be a bit more breathable than the 2021 edition which is the last time we saw this shoe. Like the original pair in 2016 these feature the Flywire technology which is made of several wires that go through the knit and connect the lacing system with the midsole for a custom fit. The result is a comfortable and secure lockdown. A nice feature is the furry material that replaces the traditional padding around the heel and tongue area, one that we’ve also seen at the Scorpion. 

Sole Unit 

The sole unit for the Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit 2023 is the same with the 2021 edition, being made entirely from one Air unit. On top sits a perforated EVA insert that if removed you can see the Air unit below which is a cool new feature. The sole unit feels a bit clunky making it feel like you wear soft cleats. It is not the most comfortable or stable sneaker, making it for many a weird shoe while others have fallen in love with it, mainly due to its looks, I assume.  In my opinion the Vapormax is more for sneakerheads, given the exquisite looks and the non-traditional cushioning that also comes with a steep pricing tag. The outsole is basically incorporated in the midsole, with slightly thicker material in the main pressure points. It makes for a squeaky shoe to wear indoors on a neat surface for sure. 



Are Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit 2023 running shoes?

While having an overall look of a running shoe, these are certainly not great for such activity, at least not for long distances. The sole unit was designed mainly for cushioning and less for a springy boost while running. For this review I wore them around the city and for some long walks and they felt good. It took a while to get used to the cushioning but I cannot see myself running in them. 

Are they comfortable?

The upper of the Vapormax has all the elements to make it a very comfortable shoe. The sole unit however, takes some time to get used to and it can be a hit or a miss. It is best to give them a try in the store if you can before buying, especially if you plan on paying the retail price. 

Bottom Line 

Before writing this review I was not crazy for the Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit series and the 2023 edition did not change my opinion much. They are a very cool looking pair of sneakers that are worth checking out, certainly different from many sneakers out there. The Air sole unit that makes up the sole, is one that works well for many in terms of comfort. The price point is clearly a turn off but thankfully for those interested many editions are on sale. Nike is pushing these pretty hard in 2024 along with the new Air Max DN with many new colorways being released which means that there is some demand for sure.