The Nike Air VaporMax Plus, the fusion shoe that worked

Nike Air VaporMax Plus

Photo: Nike

The Nike Air VaporMax Plus was released at the start of 2018, after the astounding success of the original VaporMax, that came out just a year before. Taking design aspects from the Air Max Plus, that came out two decades earlier, Nike described the shoes influence as “Looking to the past to propel you into the future.” The model has taken off, reaching the heights of its parent shoes, and as a result, new colorways are still being pumped out two years later, with highlights such as the “Paris Works In Progress,” version and a rainbow colored pair as part of the 2018 Nike BETRUE collection.

The shoe features the same cushioning as the VaporMax, made up entirely of a few comfortable air units, however this is where the VaporMax influence stops. The upper is made up of a cushioned synthetic material, with the same floating cage used on the 1998 Air Max Plus. Another reference to the classic silhouette is the “Whale Tail,” design on the shank plate, as well as the original heel logo, with the letters Tn replaced for Vm, to stand for Vapor Max. Although the shoe has now been made in all kinds of colorways, there has been a common theme of very bright and faded colorways, similar to the original color schemes of the Air Max Plus.

This hybrid sneaker was a very risky move from Nike, as in the past sneaker mash ups have not gone down well with fans. Jordan Brand have tried it plenty of times, originally succeeding in the 2000’s, but as they carried it on into the 2010’s, the hype quickly died down causing the shoes to sit on shelves. Recent cases such as the Jordan Legacy 312’s and the Jordan 6 Rings have been very unpopular, so Nike would have definitely had to bear this in mind before releasing the VaporMax Plus.

What is also interesting about this shoe, is that it is a combination of two shoes, one new and one old, that were both intended for running, yet the model is clearly seen as a lifestyle model. Although the VaporMax’s cushioning set up works well performance wise, it is also very popular for its unique style and comfort. Furthermore, although the upper of the Air Max Plus was designed for running, its technology is severely outdated compared to the likes of the FlyKnit on the original VaporMax, so if you wanted a VaporMax for running in, you would be less likely to go with the Plus version. Lastly, since the VaporMax’s release, Nike has produced many different versions Epic React’s, as well as making a lot more shoes with ZoomX. These cushions seem to be preferred by runners, so it looks like Nike has decided to take the Air Max line in a more lifestyle focused direction.

The Nike Air VaporMax Plus has been a success story, that gives hope to any fans of hybrid shoes. Nike have shown the world the blueprints of how to successfully blend two sneakers together to fit the market of today, and as a fan of brands taking risks, I am all for it.