The original Nike Air Max debuted in 1987, and was the first shoe to showcase a large, visible Air-cushioning unit. It was ground-breaking, and apparently internally questioned at Nike, extensively. In 1997 we saw the Air Max 97 launch with an Air unit along the entire sole. Incremental steps followed, and 30-years later Nike have released the Air VaporMax.

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In the Air VaporMax new technologies allow the Air unit to act as a standalone outsole- where previous Air units had to be insulated by a secondary rubber layer for protection and improved durability. And where previous units needed to be shaped with inflexible structural areas, the new unit can independently maintain its given form, with elasticity. New capabilities wholly eliminate the need for a traditional foam midsole.

The benefits include shedding the weight and bulk of a foam layer, meaning the new midsole achieves greater flexibility and spring without compromising structure, while also reducing weight and waste. And by placing the Flyknit upper directly on the VaporMax Air unit, a pillowy sensation and greater energy response are produced.

Nike Air VaporMax, £170 at NIKE.COM