Is It a Fact? Do Vapormax Run Small?

After seven years in the design phase, the Nike VaporMax made its official retail debut in 2017. And this is after an apparent 11 tries from conception to making the design and functionality just right.

The VaporMax boasts as the first sneaker to be foamless, maintaining its form through its elasticity. The sole is its unique feature, being mostly clear and composed of over 30000 components.

Sneakerheads have debated the main objective of the VaporMax—fashion or functionality? To the unsurprising conclusion, why not both?

This article hopes to serve as an informative guide about these innovative shoes and a guide to get the right fit the first time.

In this article we’ll look at:

  • The Origin of the Nike VaporMax
  • Do Nike VaporMax Shoes Run Small?
  • Which VaporMax Is Best for You?
  • Frequently Asked Questions
Why choose Nike Air Vapormax running shoes infographic

The Origin of the Nike VaporMax

The VaporMax was a radical change-up from their original sneakers. However, a change solely in design was not their primary agenda; performance was also a sensitive issue for Nike.

What started as an engineering challenge quickly grew to one of the best-selling shoes in Nike’s line. The challenge? How much air can you put under your foot, and how? Thus began the attempts of the replacement of the typical rubber sole with a plastic one.

The shoe’s plastic design is borrowed from airbags but woven into a thicker, more resilient material. This proved to be more reliable and resilient than the traditional rubber sole.

Structurally, these shoes have no foam lining, which most rubber sole Nike shoes have. The foam is replaced by air pods placed intricately where the pressure points of your foot will be. The air bubbles are spread throughout the sole, and the air pockets are strategically placed at the points of your feet that take the most weight.

The VaporMax, a product of about seven years of work, was noted as one of the most anticipated shoe releases of 2017. Reviewers and the public alike were amazed, and went as far as to call it a “marvel of shoe engineering.” 

As unique as it was, the design saw some slightly negative reviews for its odd look. However, VaporMax has proven to be far more comfortable than rubber-soled Nikes, and rubber-soled shoes in general. 

The public soon warmed to the shoe and it has become one of Nike’s bestsellers. The VaporMax confirmed why Nike was regarded so highly in the first place.

Black and white Nike sneakers

Do Nike VaporMax Shoes Run Small? 

It’s no surprise that the VaporMax shook up the sneakerhead community with its unique design.

Generally, the VaporMax and their hybrids fit true to size as they are designed to have a snug fit, just as your usual sneakers would. But, if you have particularly wide feet, the toe box might be a bit too tight for your liking, so it’s worth your trouble (and comfort, of course) to go up by 0.5 of your usual size.

The knitted upper side of the shoe will stretch to the shape of your feet over time. Like most shoes, they might be a little too tight to begin with, but they will feel incredibly comfortable after a few wears.

Which VaporMax Is Best for You?

If you’re looking for a running shoe, then the Nike Air Vapormax range is a perfect choice, thanks to its sleek, unique, and sophisticated design.

Unlike other running shoes, the Air VaporMax has no foam whatsoever, which is rather unusual. However, by replacing the typical rubber sole with airpods and pairing them with plastic, the shoe becomes more comfortable and durable than before. It also has a better grip on pavement and is incredibly sturdy and reliable.

For unisex wear, the Nike Air Vapormax 2020 FK works perfectly. The neutral grey towards the front of the shoe is met with a splash of color near the sole, giving it an attractive, contemporary style. 

You can wear these shoes indoors to go with a smart casual look and outdoors for a more sporty appearance along with running bottoms or shorts. 

The Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit 3 would be perfect for a more feminine or softer look. The simple design coupled with the cool mix of the pink and blue colors brings the whole design together to give it a fun and exciting look.

For an edgier design than the norm, the Nike Air VaporMax Plus Blue Black Chrome is ideal. It’s no surprise it’s a preferred choice for young men and adults alike. 

Additionally, to this great choice, the Nike Air Vapormax is made with sustainable materials, which is an added plus if you want to be kind to the environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is VaporMax Pricier than Other Sneakers?

Yes, they are pricier. This is due to the development costs, materials and innovation used to make the VaporMax shoe that gives it a firmer grip than most sneakers.

Blue Nike Sneakers

Can I Use VaporMax as Running Shoes?

Yes, and no. VaporMax isn’t a run-specific shoe and was initially meant for more casual wear. But, spotting a pair at your gym or your local running trail wouldn’t hurt anyone.

The air-filled sole gives you a bit of ‘bounce’ while still giving you a firmer grip than you’d expect. The plastic sole makes the shoe more resilient and reliable than regular rubber sole shoes.

Although you probably shouldn’t attempt a marathon in them, a slight jog of fewer than 10 kilometers should be no problem.

How Do I Style VaporMax Shoes? 

Nike VaporMax shoes are designed to be unisex and worn by all age groups alike. Although some have shied away from them at first glance because of their unique form, they often succumb to buying these unique shoes.

For a sporty look, you can pair it with a sweatshirt, a nice pair of leggings or shorts, and a baseball cap. But if you want a casual look, pair the shoes with fitting jeans, a shirt, a jacket (optional), and a choice pair of VaporMax to top it all off would work out splendidly.


There is no debate that since their retail debut in 2017, the unique look of the Nike VaporMax, coupled with its comfort and versatility all due to its innovative design, makes it one of Nike’s bestsellers in such a short period of its existence. The time, effort, innovation that went into creating the shoe do not go unnoticed.

Most VaporMax fans agree that it would be best to go half a size higher if you have wide feet for the shoes to fit right. This will guarantee your toes’ comfort as the toe box is relatively narrow. Otherwise, it fits very well and is snug.

Vapormax has proven to be quite versatile in the usability stakes. Unlike the typical rubber-soled shoe, its air pocket design makes running pretty seamless due to its bounce. Furthermore, it doubles up as a fashion statement with its vast array of designs fit for edgy, sporty, and more casual looks.

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