Are Air Max Good for Running? Best Nike Shoes for Running

The popularity of Nike Air Max shoes has risen dramatically over the years. But are Air Maxes good for running? Are these shoes a great way to get in shape, or is it just hype? This blog will answer whether Nike Air Max shoes are good for running by exploring their design features and popular models.

Have you been wondering, “Are Nike Air Max comfortable?” Find out whether they are worth the hype and if they will help improve your running. Read on to learn more and find your ideal pair of running shoes!

Can you use Air Max for Running?

Are there benefits of using Nike Air Max for running? Most Nike Air Max models are not suitable for running, because they are just daily sneakers. However, the Air Max 90 is a good running shoe that is appropriate for short runs, albeit a bit heavy for distance running. There are also many other Nike running shoes that provide different levels of comfort, support, breathability, and stability for runners to choose from.

The History and Features of Nike Air Max Shoes

Nike’s Air Max technology was launched over 40 years ago, introducing runners to the concept of superior cushioning and shock absorption. It quickly became Nike’s most successful cushioning technology and changed the face of sneaker culture.

The iconic Air Max 1 or Air Max 87 was unveiled in 1987 and featured an all-new design centered around a visible air midsole unit for superior cushioning and increased stability. Since then, the Nike Air Max collection has been constantly evolving and updating its designs.

Man run in air max
Photo by Liliana Drew from Pexels

5 Main Models of Nike Air Max Shoes

Here are the 5 most popular Air Max models. Let’s discuss their features and what they are best suited for:

1. Air Max 90

Are Nike Air Max 90 good for running? Yes! The Nike Air Max 90 is one of the most iconic models in the performance sports shoe world. It’s known for its tremendous cushioning capabilities due to the full-length Max Air unit found in the heel, providing extreme comfort for short runs.
The shoe contours and adjusts during your run. It also stays true to size when it comes to fitting, without sacrificing any comfort or protection.

icon run

Pro Tip:

The Air Max 90 is great for sprints thanks to its good flexibility, shock absorption, stability, traction, and responsiveness. However, despite the fact that Steve Moneghetti has used it for long runs, the modern design is a bit heavy for long distances.

2. Air Max 270

The Nike Air Max 270 is a popular shoe for running errands that boasts many innovative features. Its low-top design makes it easy to slip on and off, while the lightweight upper provides extra comfort. The heel of the shoe also includes extra room, which delivers a plush feel and snug comfort.

These are great shoes for lifestyle wear, but they are not good for running due to their stiffer heel and lack of cushioning.

3. Air Max 2090

The Nike Air Max 2090 offers a range of stylish and colorful options to choose from. It was created as a casual lifestyle shoe, featuring air cushioning technology and lightweight materials to provide optimal comfort and durability.

These shoes work well for everyday use, such as walking around town and enjoying outdoor activities, such as hiking or playing sports. However, they are not good for running because they are very heavy and don’t have enough cushioning for running exercises.

4. Air Max 98

The Nike Air Max 98 is a part of the iconic sneaker line, and was released in 1998. It’s designed for those who prefer style over performance in their shoes. These sneakers make use of a combination of synthetic materials and leather to ensure excellent durability.

The unique design and vibrant color options has made this an integral part of modern footwear trends, offering an elevated look with enough comfort for walking, but not running. They are also heavy and stiff, and lack enough support and cushioning for healthy running.

Man wear in Air Max sneaker
Photo by Grailify on Unsplash

5. Air Max 720

The Air Max 720 from Nike is the tallest of the iconic Air Max shoes, with the full-length Air unit borrowed from the popular Nike Air Max 270, providing stiff cushioning and comfort.

The design features a wavy sole and an upper with components made using lightweight mesh materials. But are Air Max 270 good for running? Despite its aesthetic appeal, this shoe was primarily designed for casual wear instead of running. The high Air unit makes them quite unstable for running, and can even affect your stride.

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Are Nike Air Max Good for Running?

So, are Air Max running shoes? While Air Max shoes offer great comfort and style, it is important to understand their pros and cons before deciding whether they are good for running or not. Let’s summarize the advantages and disadvantages of the various models:

Pros of Nike Air Max for Running

Most Nike Air Max models are not good for running, but are comfortable and stylish daily sneakers.

However, runners do love the Air Max 90 because this shoe comes with all the features that are usually desired when searching for a reliable running shoe. They have a comfortable yet snug fit and lightweight but highly supportive upper material.

Their responsive sole provides maximum energy return during runs, as well as a stabilizing grip at critical points for high performance. Nike Air Max 90 shoes are also a great choice for running due to their superior cushioning and impact absorption, providing runners with enhanced comfort and support.

Cons of Nike Air Max for Running

Nike Air Max 270, 2090, 98, and 720 are not good for runners, especially those who need specialized performance. The non-specialized design of these Air Max models makes them unsuitable for running compared to other performance and racing shoes, which have been specifically designed for longer distances or speed training.

These Air max models do not provide much impact absorption, due to their lack of midsole cushioning technology. Finally, as classic sneakers, they are too heavy for running and lack stability and flexibility.

How to Choose Nike Running Shoes to Fit the Needs of the Runner

Now you know that most Air Max shoes won’t fit your running needs. But don’t despair! Nike has many great running models that can suit every runner’s feet. Let’s look at a few of them, considering the most commonly discussed criteria.

1. Materials and Construction

Nike running shoes are made using top-quality materials and construction methods to ensure they offer the ultimate in performance and comfort. Nike utilizes lightweight yet robust technology such as Flyknit for uppers that provide breathability while maintaining shape. For midsole cushioning technologies, there is Cushlon foam or Zoom. This is supported by a reinforced plastic plate like an Air Zoom Structure for stability.

Though all Nike running models have these beneficial features, our top choice here is the Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit 4. It features a breathable and water-repellent liner and React X foam midsole. The Flyknit 4 offers you good stability and high energy return, without excess weight and stiffness.

2. Pronation Control and Stability

When it comes to Nike running shoes, those who are looking for pronation control can find various models to suit their needs. Having a good amount of pronation control helps reduce injury risk and improves overall stability when running.

In terms of Nike shoes, some top choices include the Nike Air Zoom Structure, React Miler, and Infinity Run, which all offer varying levels of support based on how much control is required.

3. Support

For those seeking maximum support, there are two main models from Nike’s series that are well-regarded for their superior quality and cushioning.

The Nike Pegasus 40 offers an especially supportive shoe with reliable arch construction, bendable sole cushioning, strategic heel cutout for foot stability, and motion guidance features in the midsole.

Meanwhile, Nike’s Vaporfly 3 serves as the preferred choice among marathoners due to its ingenious combination of stiffness in the forefoot and flexibility at the toes, along with extended foam for just enough shock absorption.

4. Durability

When it comes to durability, Nike running shoes are built with specialized materials and technologically advanced construction methods.

Nike’s revolutionary React technology is featured in several extra-durable models, such as the Downshifter 10, Pegasus 40, and Vomero 16, all of which provide excellent energy return without sacrificing comfort or stability.

Our Recommendation of Nike Running Shoes

Here are our top 3 recommendations for athletes looking for a shoe that can help take their performance level up a notch:

Good for Easy Runs

Nike Revolution 5

Nike Men’s Revolution 5

The Nike Men’s Revolution 5 Running Shoe is a great option for those who are just starting out with running. It provides comfort and protection thanks to the soft foam cushioning, lightweight knit textile upper, and reinforced heel construction.

The shoe is designed to provide stability and support during your runs, while its durable construction ensures that it will last through miles of use.

  • Material: Lightweight and breathable mesh upper
  • Sole Material: Foam midsole for cushioning
  • Outsole (tread feature): Durable rubber with flex grooves for traction
  • Comfort: Soft and responsive cushioning
  • Breathability: Enhanced airflow for comfort
  • Special Features: Minimalist design for versatile use
  • Type: Entry-level running and lifestyle shoe
Nike Revolution

Good for Long Runs

Nike Air Zoom Vomero 16

NIKE AIR Zoom Vomero 16 For Men

The NIKE Air Zoom Vomero 16 running shoe has earned itself a solid place among the most popular Nike models. It is designed for cushioning and comfort, as well as stability and support, due to its full rubber outsole. This shoe provides durability and traction, which are essential in every runner’s movements.

The comfortable fit of this model ensures that even if used all day long, runners won’t experience pain or discomfort thanks to their roomy interior design.

  • Material: Lightweight and breathable upper
  • Sole Material: Air Zoom cushioning for responsive comfort
  • Outsole (tread feature): Durable rubber with flex grooves for traction
  • Comfort: Plush cushioning and support
  • Breathability: Enhanced airflow for comfort
  • Special Features: Dynamic Fit technology for a secure fit
  • Type: Neutral running shoe for versatile use
Nike Air Zoom Vomero 16

Good for All Distances

Nike Zoom Fly 4 Wolf

Nike Men’s Zoom Fly 4 Low

The Nike Men’s Zoom Fly 4 Low running shoe is a great choice for runners looking for a balance of convenience, comfort, and performance. Designed with a combination of React foam and Air Zoom technology, the shoe offers comfortable support that also helps absorb impact to reduce fatigue.

The carbon plate provides good energy return and enhanced durability during long runs, while the durable foam used in the midsole adds bounciness for easier training sessions.

  • Material: Lightweight and breathable upper
  • Sole Material: Responsive foam midsole
  • Outsole (tread feature): Durable rubber with traction pattern
  • Comfort: Plush cushioning for a comfortable ride
  • Breathability: Enhanced airflow for cooling
  • Special Features: Carbon fiber plate for propulsion
  • Type: Racing and training running shoe
Nike Zoom Fly 4 Wolf

Frequently Asked Questions About Nike Air Max for Running

Is It Good to Workout in Air Max?

Nike Air Max shoes have always been very popular amongst athletes and fitness enthusiasts. You can wear them for your gym session if you plan on doing some low-impact exercises or upper body workout. However, they are generally not stable enough for running or intense cardio.

What Are Air Maxes Made for?

The first Nike Air Max was made for runners in 1987. However, they soon evolved into casual, stylish sneakers, unsuitable for running due to their heavy weight and lack of stability and cushioning.

Are Nike Air Max Plus Good for Running?

The Nike Air Max Plus does not provide the same level of cushioning as some other shoes in the Nike running line, but its stability and comfort features still make it a good choice for easy, short runs.

Final Thoughts on Nike Air Max for Running

Nike Air Max shoes have been around for many years, and are a popular choice when it comes to casual sneakers. Most of the models are not good for running, although the Air Max 90 is an appropriate running shoe. This shoe offers plenty of cushioning, support, and great design features, which makes it comfortable enough to wear for running, in addition to being stylish and fashionable.

There are other models of Nike running shoes that offer different levels of comfort and performance, so it is important to find the right one for your needs.

Have you tried any Air Max models for running? Please share your experience in the comments below.

Also Read:


  1. Honert, Eric C et al. “Shoe feature recommendations for different running levels: A Delphi study.” PloS one vol. 15,7 e0236047. 16 Jul. 2020 https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0236047
  2. Fu, Fengqin et al. “Effect of the Innovative Running Shoes With the Special Midsole Structure on the Female Runners’ Lower Limb Biomechanics.” Frontiers in bioengineering and biotechnology vol. 10 866321. 6 Jun. 2022, https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fbioe.2022.866321/full
  3. Rodrigo-Carranza, Víctor et al. “Influence of advanced shoe technology on the top 100 annual performances in men’s marathon from 2015 to 2019.” Scientific reports vol. 11,1 22458. 17 Nov. 2021 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-01807-0
  4. Sun, Xiaole et al. “Systematic Review of the Role of Footwear Constructions in Running Biomechanics: Implications for Running-Related Injury and Performance.” Journal of sports science & medicine vol. 19,1 20-37. 24 Feb. 2020 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7039038/
  5. Agresta, Cristine et al. “Running Injury Paradigms and Their Influence on Footwear Design Features and Runner Assessment Methods: A Focused Review to Advance Evidence-Based Practice for Running Medicine Clinicians.” Frontiers in sports and active living vol. 4 815675. 9 Mar. 2022 https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fspor.2022.815675/full

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