Nike’s cultural stock in the runners game has been polarizing as of late – but, if you think about it, when has that not been the case? The Nike Air Max 720 is, if nothing else, ambitious.
It’s Nike’s latest attempt to put a dent in our collective images of the standard runner. Of course, aiming that high also gives you that much longer of a drop if you fall short. But how does Nike’s latest Air Max model stack up?
Don’t worry, we won’t be skipping on the tech and fit of the shoe. We do feel it’s worth getting into some of what went into designing the shoe, though. Nike had an intriguing collection of minds around the creation of the 720.
Narratively, there’s complexity. Right off the bat, the designers admit that the first colorway to drop was iridescent for a reason. It was based on the “beauty and awesomeness” of the Northern Lights. That alone would’ve been fascinating enough, but there’s a bit more to it.
The ‘Night’ version of this iteration is also one that mixes gloom with hope. The backdrop was the sense that heightened political climates around the world had the benefit of inspiring younger people to be more involved and engaged. Specifically, this was expressed via hints of subtle color on a mostly dark colorway.
Interestingly, this shoe also tries to straddle a broader societal line. According to Nike’s Senior Director of Air Max, Dylan Raasch, the 720 is about tech coming together with a human touch. He’d reportedly been pondering difficult questions such as “where do we get our energy from?” He, along with the rest of the team, didn’t want to imply that technology was the only option. The Air Max 720 is their way of locating a middle ground.
Nike continues to expand on the idea of even more Air. One has to assume that the Boost phenomenon had something to do with the dramatic increase in Air beneath our feet. In this effort, the 720 is the Swoosh’s most dramatic step yet.
One of the more popular criticisms you’ll hear about this shoe is how unorthodox it looks. At least part of that is due to the massive Air bag on the heel. Taking things a step further than the AM 270, this latest design sports a 38mm unit. In another example of a crucial design change, that cushion is now in a full-length construction.
What’s also worth noting here is the upper. 75% of the Nike Air Max 720 is reportedly manufactured from recycled materials. It’s an inspiring decision that has also resulted in a memorable aesthetic. Hopefully, this sort of result – along with efforts such as that of adidas and Parley – will inspire more sustainable footwear designs.
The Fit + Feel
That background information is all fine and dandy. But, let’s get down to the more important bits here. While it’s nice to know what inspired the shoe, what can you expect it to feel like on your feet? Well, the shoe’s design is almost entirely about wearability. Memorable aesthetic aside, a few elements come together to help this shoe last as long as your day.
The full-length Air bag is a big part of that, but so are supportive elements such as the reinforced mesh bags along the upper. Beyond that, it’s the simplicity of its build that make the 720 a shoe for your long days. As Jesi Small, Nike’s Senior Footwear Designer of Air Max, stated, the team designed it to provide “anywhere from 12 to 18 hours” of comfort.
Step into the future of runners yourself and see if you’re feeling Nike’s ambitious design.