The Nike Air Max 2017 has arrived, somewhat quietly. And with it less fanfare, less bustle than the previous yearly Air Max flagships. Ever since 1987, when Tinker did the un-imaginable and removed a small pocket, a cigar shaped pocket to be precise, out of the then conceptual Air Max 1/87 aft-midsole section, he exposed a see through, Air filled midsole unit, and thus the long and ubiquitous range of the Air Max line of sneakers was born. The sneakers since, produced throughout the last 3 decades has amounted to a collection that is nothing short of a sneaker design haven. Peppered with true innovations, mis-matches, quirky experiments, near hits and of course back then future/ retro classics. Many models were way ahead of its time, and like the, say, Air Max 1,BW, 90, 98’s, models which seemed to have enjoyed a constantly repeat cycle of renewed fervour with collectors, some even surpassing unexpectedly huge popularity through timely re-issues, premium makeovers, and crossing over into fashion lifestyle arenas with well placed non-athletic designer and brand collaborations. All sharing in common, their passion and keen interpretation of the Nike sneaker with the see through Air unit.
And now it’s a big welcome to the Nike Air Max 2017, which on first appearance, seems visually much softer than its Flywire/Flymesh era predecessors. Gone are crisscrossing external Flywires, separate lace loops, layered taped seam uppers and oversized, reversed swooshes. Less now, is certainly more it seems, more organic form and more focus on simplicity. The upper, impressively, minus stitch attached tongue, is all one piece (think colourways!) On touch and inspection, it feels less fabric tech reliant than the Flywire/Flymesh led 2016 & 2015 Air Max (incl the rather good mid 2015 Flyknit Max model). The lack of any visible Flywire technology so prominent on the aforementioned models takes getting used to as a 2017 successor. The big, 360′ fully visible sole unit is ever present, utilising an updated outsole first introduced on the Air Max 2014. Deep, forward flex channels spaced between micro waffle lugs giving a solid grip surface, providing ample traction as always, and flex/bend with correct firmness. The Air Max’s entire sole unit works well, and its good to see its only been modified slightly. A balanced, well cushioned base remains.
”.. Ultralight support comes from the one-piece Flymesh upper, while maximum comfort is achieved through the plush collar update and the soft, flexible cushioning of the full-length Max Air unit. The result? You can go lighter—and go longer.” from Nike UK
The upper function requirements don’t change much, in sports leisure or urban wear, staying dry needs good moisture evap and wicking properties are handled efficiently. The toebox area is covered with multi-layer Flymesh which flex and open while bending, offer good ventilation which is immediately noticeable. The simple lacing, with lack of Flywire bracing is not missed as the midfoot wrap when tied, feels very secure and firm as the Flymesh/moulded foam layer provides good midfoot grip and the heel fit/cup is soft but tight also. The exterior flex grooves on all sides are anatomical from heel to midfoot, providing enough firmness and protection/stability support in both freefall motion and upon impact, staying firm while the previous Flywire braced models would often give out uneven tension, needing adjustment. The vastly improved wider sized tongue is now a thickly padded layer filling out excess space, providing a better overall closer fit and removing direct (uneven) lace pressure, as felt through the thinner Flymesh tongues on the 2015/16 Air Max. The overall aim of the Air Max 2017 is a design to offer the ultimate in lightweight, longer lasting comfort. Believe it.
The Nike Air Max 2017, is a return to an aesthetic that takes us back a little to the Air Max’95/’97, with a sleek silhouette displaying good form with clean simple lines with a build class firmly in 2017, and we definitely think it is a good one.