Nike Air Max+ 2011 Review
The Air Max+ 2011 running shoe delivers maximum cushioning along with innovative design elements to provide the ultimate in performance and style. Innovative Fuse technology and a notched inner sleeve deliver lightweight, flexible support and seamless comfort. A molded collar helps reduce heel slip. Cushion foam midsole with a full-length Max Air unit adds carbon rubber under the heel. Solid rubber with strategically placed lugs covers the rest of the outsole to give durable traction.
The Air Max has somewhat of a unique fit. The upper is comprised of two layers that are completely separate from each other. The outside layer is a thin, plastic-like mesh with some rubber support bands that are melted in to the material. It allows for some very good airflow and will also be a little more durable than having a straight mesh upper. The inside layer is also kind of strange in that it feels like a mesh sock. It isn’t attached to the outside layer, so it fits a lot tighter to your foot than most running shoes. I wore my usual size 9.5US in these shoes, but they did feel a little tighter than most other shoes in the same size. They don’t fit small, they just fit differently, so if you’re looking to get a pair, go with your normal size. The mid foot area is not the widest, as it does tend to hug the instep a little, but as long as you don’t have overly wide feet, these should be fine. The tongue is also a little thinner than what you might see in other high-end running, but I had no problems with lace bite or discomfort.
These are on the heavier side for a pair of high-end running shoes, weighing in at 13.8 ounces. All of this weight is in the Air Max sole, and it gives the shoe somewhat of a bulky feeling when running. I would have liked these to be a little lighter, especially given the high price.
Given that this is a running shoe, it is really only good for short distance running. The Air Max sole is a no good for long distance running and the overall weight of the shoe doesn’t help either. I wouldn’t recommend this shoe for any speed training or cross training as the sole of the shoe is pretty high, and the upper provides very little lateral support. As an everyday shoe, these are great and will provide some awesome comfort for casual use. The rubber sole of this shoe has some very minor traction and is best suited for running on pavement or any other smooth, flat surfaces.
The whole concept of Nike’s Air Max technology has been around for years, and has grown to become one the “biggest” technologies ever implemented in to a running shoe. The idea of running on air, it sounds like a great idea, but I didn’t find the effects to be all that incredible. If you are not familiar with the Air Max sole that Nike has developed, basically it is hollow sole, filled with air, making for a sole that is supported by tightly packed air, trapped in a bubble. While this sounds like the greatest idea ever for a running shoe, in reality, the concept is still not perfect, which makes this shoe perhaps not as comfortable as one might expect. Since the sole is filled with air, a lot of stress is placed on the sidewalls of the sole. So when weight is placed on the shoe, the sidewalls of the bubble sole expand, causing the sole to compress and then rebound when the weight is released. Think about pushing down on a balloon, it will compress but the sides will expand because the trapped air inside has to move somewhere else. Now to the problem with the Air Max sole. Using the balloon example again, if you push down too hard on the balloon, it will eventually pop. Since the Air Max sole is also a balloon, there had to be a way to restrict the balloon from popping, by adding restricting supports. If you look through the clear sidewalls of the Air Max sole, you will see interior supports running through the middle of the sole. These supports are what restrict the bubble from compressing too much and popping. So essentially, you are only running on air to a point where you begin to be restricted.
Now that you understand the make up of the Air Max sole, I can tell you why it isn’t what it should be. When you first put these shoes on your feet and walk around for the first time, they do feel very cushioned. You can see the sidewalls of the sole expand when you step down and feel you foot sink in to the sole ever so slightly. Admittedly, this is a cool feeling, but unfortunately this feeling doesn’t last. When I started running, the cushioned feeling stuck around for a little bit, but after about 30 to 45 minutes of running, the cushion seemed to disappear and discomfort began to set in. You begin to no longer feel cushion but instead feel like you are running on a shoe with a very narrow sole. This sounds strange but I can explain. Like I talked about earlier, in order to prevent the sole from popping, restrictor supports had to be placed through the middle of the shoe. Once you start running, every step causes the sole to expand. All of this compressed air is pushed in to the sidewalls of the sole that must expand with every step. This repeated impact eventually causes the sidewalls to heat up, which will allow them the ability to stretch even further with every step. Once the sidewalls of the shoe heat up enough, the air in the sole will not stop your foot from sinking in to the sole before hitting the restrictor supports. So what was a very cushioned running experience turned in to a feeling that I can only describe as running on a tight rope. Instead of your foot hitting the ground flat when stepping down, you feel just the middle supports going through the middle of the sole, making for some severe discomfort. It is also worth noting that the stiffness of the sole changes from being very stiff, to being quite flexible after 30 minutes of running.
With all that being said, the question has to be asked, is the Air Max a good running shoe? The answer is yes and no. If you intend on running short distances or just looking for a running shoe that you can wear as an everyday shoe, these will be great. If you intend on using these as a dedicated running shoe, I would stay away, as they are not a very good choice.
For what this shoe costs, I expected a lot more. This shoe will impress you from the first time that you slip them on your feet, but will fall short of the high expectations after running in them. The Air Max sole is a very unique feature and is a great idea, but unfortunately it just doesn’t perform to the same level as other high-end running shoes that cost a lot less. If you need a dedicated running shoe, I would not go for the Nike Air Max+ 2011, as there are much better options for less than half the price. If you are looking for an appealing running shoe that you can use more as a casual shoe, the Air Max+ 2011 is great and you will definitely be happy with them. I can’t really recommend them as a dedicated running shoe, but if you really want a pair I can only recommend them as casual shoes.
Fit 8 out of 10
Weight 5 out of 10
Function/ Versatility 6 out of 10
Running/Comfort 5 out of 10
Final Score 24 out of 40 or 60%