BEHIND THE DESIGNThe Air VaporMax represents a new era in Nike innovation. “It’s changed our whole philosophy on how we design for Air,” says Cushioning Innovation Designer Zachary Elder. With the VaporMax, the designers wanted to truly capture the feeling of ‘running on air.’ The designers started by restructuring the Air unit so they could attach it directly to the upper. “That was the biggest challenge,” says Tom Minami, Senior Footwear Designer – but it was worth it. “Without any midsole or sockliner, you get to feel the Air in a whole new way.” In previous Air Max models, the goal was to fill the sole with as much Air as possible, but with the VaporMax, the focus is on using the Air efficiently. “As you step down, each lug gets pushed into the Air unit, ramping up the pressure,” Elder explains. “As you step off, the pressure releases, creating that springy bounce.” After the seven-year journey from ideation to release, Elder and Minami are excited for what’s to come. “I’m super proud of the product," Elder says. “This new approach is going to be a huge turning point for Air – and for Nike.”NIKE AIR MAX ORIGINSNike's revolutionary Air-Sole unit made its way into Nike footwear in 1978. In 1987, the Nike Air Max 1 debuted with visible air in its heel, allowing fans more than just the feel of Air-Sole comfort—suddenly they could see it. Since then, next-generation Nike Air Max shoes have become a hit with athletes and collectors by offering striking color combinations and reliable, lightweight cushioning.FLYKNIT ORIGINSNike Flyknit technology was inspired by feedback from runners seeking a shoe with the snug (and virtually unnoticed) fit of a sock. Nike embarked on a four-year mission with teams of programmers, engineers and designers to create the technology needed to make the knit upper with static properties for structure and durability. Then the precise placement of support, flexibility and breathability—all in one layer—was refined. The result is a featherweight, formfitting and virtually seamless upper. This unprecedented precision maximizes performance while reducing material waste by an average of 60% compared to traditional cut and sew, saving millions of pounds of material from reaching landfills.