We spent 10.2 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what sneaker fanatics think:

13 reasons to buy

  • The majority of the users praised the high-quality materials used in the Nike Air Max 90 Essential.
  • Undeniably, this pair is a head turner, said many users.
  • Most of the users described their experience in wearing these kicks as “comfortable”.
  • Great for running outdoors and doing errands, disclosed by a number of wearers.
  • This pair carries great shock absorbing capacity, said many runners.
  • It has an excellent fit, commended by few athletes.
  • Longtime users revealed that this pair is very durable and reliable.
  • The Nike Air Max 90 Essential runs true to size.
  • The details and quality match the price point, admired by most testers.
  • A real collectible item, claimed by many buyers.
  • Some liked that the Nike Air Max 90 Essential is available in the NikeiD technology where one can personalize his/her pair, from the materials in the upper to the colors and prints.
  • Available in the market at an affordable price.
  • Being sold in multiple colorways.

4 reasons not to buy

  • Some did not like that this pair needs a break in time.
  • Most critics griped about the narrow fit of the Nike Air Max 90 Essential shoes.
  • Some users did not like the bulky profile.
  • The colors of the items posted online are better than in the actual, complained by some buyers.

Bottom line

A classic comfort in an iconic profile. Nike revolutionized athletic footwear forever by releasing the Nike Air Max 90. The chunky profile of the Nike Air Max Essential, one that is based on the first AM90, highlights the Air-Sole unit in the heel which provides a bouncy shock absorbing feel and optimum comfort while cruising or running with it. Made of premium leather upper with Duramesh, a durable and lightweight foam midsole and daring color selections presented, the Nike Air Max 90 Essential is worth adding to one’s collection.


  • Top

    Low Top

    Extremely popular sneakers because of their price range, versatility when it comes to style, and freedom of movement. Almost everyone is guaranteed to have low-top sneakers in their shoe rotation.

    Mid Top

    Mid-top sneakers extend toward the ankle for a little more support and hold. These lie somewhere in the middle between low-top and high-top sneakers in terms of usage and popularity.

    High Top

    Sneakers with collars that go above the ankles for optimal hold and support are some of the most sought-after models in lifestyle shoes. Most of these shoes take their roots from basketball and have easily or fashionably crossed to mainstream wear.

    Good to know

    Regardless of cut, it's always good to start with sneakers that can be worn for the daily grind, also called as "beaters" by some, as these are usually cheaper, easy to clean, and still gives that lifestyle "edge" before going for those wallet-thinning models.

  • Inspired from


    Sneakers dominantly take their heritage from running, basketball, skate, tennis, training, hiking, and football. Still retaining a few of their performance-based technologies, these sneakers have transcended their respective niches and have successfully and popularly transformed themselves as staples of fashion footwear.


    Sneakers designed for a laidback, "cool" vibe that is built for lifestyle wear right from the get-go.

    Good to know

    Brands are now blending elements of performance and casual appeal in basically every sneaker. One can hardly go wrong with a sports-inspired sneaker or a simple casual shoe.

  • Collection

    Good to know

    Shoes sharing the same inspiration, history, materials, or technologies are routinely assembled under one compilation for the convenience of those who may wish to categorize or label their own collection as such. The classic collections like the Adidas Originals, Air Max 1, Air Force 1, new balance classic sneakers, and the Classic Leather head the pack of frequently asked about collections.

  • Price
  • Special editions
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Expert Reviews

Experts are sneaker fanatics, who post reviews at youtube, directly at RunRepeat or at their own websites. Each expert is categorized from level 1 to level 5 based on expertise. See stats on expert reviews and how we calculate scores here.

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  • First look / Unboxing | Anthony Levine

  • First look / Unboxing | T Blake

  • First look / Unboxing | Jason Donnar

  • First look / Unboxing | EXCLUCITY

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Nike Air Max 90 Essential History

In the late 1970s, Nike introduced the Air-Sole unit to the market. The Nike Air Max 1 was the first shoe released in the market with a visible Air-Sole unit in its heel. The succeeding generations of the Air Max shoes were released in various noticeable color combinations making it an instant hit with athletes and collectors.

In 1990, the Nike Air Max 90 was released as the second flagship model in the Air Max line.  It was the brainchild of the legendary Tinker Hatfield as the third installment in the Air Max line and was originally named as the Air Max III. It became famous for its outstanding comfort. The original Air Max 90 was conceived displaying an overlapping Duromesh, synthetic suede a synthetic leather.

27 years after it was launched, the Nike Air Max 90 still maintains its status as the most popular shoe with countless collaborations and hybrids. The Infrared model is still considered the greatest sneaker of all time by most Air Max fanatics.

The Air Max 90 Essential was released in 2016 as the rework of the original Air Max 90. It uses better and lighter materials. Overall, it seems almost the same copy of the original version, but Nike ditched the suede on the upper and the Air-Sole unit used is smaller and compressed.

Nike Air Max 90 Essential Style

The Nike Air Max 90 Essential features unit of Air-Sole in the heel that can be seen through the cutout. Nike wanted the wearers not only feel the air cushioning but also to see it. This feature proved that the prototype Nike Air Max was able to stand the test of time as being one of the most loved classic silhouettes. It found its path from being a simple running shoe to being a streetwear shoe. Highlighting the superb cushioning and timeless profile, this delivers comfort and support fitting for all day walking.
Go casual with the 90 Essential, wear it with shorts, tees and sunnies, street swaggers will surely get the people’s attention by wearing this chunky sneaker.

Fit & Sizing

The men's Nike Air Max 90 Essential has a padded collar and lining to provide comfort for the wearers. It has a massive amount of cushioning in the PU midsole that are working together to deliver a plush air ride to its wearers.  It has the conventional lace-up closure system for a personalized secure fit. The Air Max 90 Essential runs true to size and is available in men’s sizes from 6 to 14 US in medium width.

Notable Features

Who would miss the air bubbles located in the heel of this pair? The Air Max 90 Essential displays the Air-Sole unit in the heel area which provides support and bounces back, thus gives much better energy return to its wearers. Nike uses smaller air units in the 90 Essential model compared to the vintage releases. On the other hand, the huge Nike Air logo found on the heel is something quite noticeable. It is a design typically from the 90s and the Nike revived it through the Air Max line.

Additional Info

  • The Nike Air Max 90 Essential was molded with premium leather upper with mesh overlays for comfort and durability.
  • The heavy-duty foam midsole with Air-Sole unit in the heel provides maximum protection from impact. The Air-Sole unit present in the 90 Essential is smaller compared to classic versions.
  • The outsole is made of rubber with waffle pattern for better ground grip and durability.
  • There is the presence of padded collar and the inner lining for extra comfort.
  • It has the Air Max tab on the lateral and medial side of the shoe.
  • The huge Nike logo is located on the heel tab. This element is usual for the vintage shoes and something that is not common for modern shoes.