Nike Air Tuned Max: A luxe old school charmer

Nike Air Tuned Max is for you if you want a splash of the old-school charm in your usual sneaker rotation. This comeback silhouette from 1999 still bears the amazing air bubbles in pods, a breakaway from what was commonly seen in the Air Max series. Much like the initial concept with a visible full-length Air cushioning, the Tuned Max 99 offers a glitzy high-fashion look, a departure from the traditional running shoe design. 

It bears a good mix of fine-tuned comfort in a sleek package, the kind you’ll get from the Air Presto and Air Flightposite. These two sneakers and the original Air Tuned Max were part of Nike’s short-lived Alpha Project. As an added trivia, the five dots on the Air Tuned Max’s heel, insole, and outsole represent the defunct project’s logo. 

Nike TN Air Max vs. Nike Air Max Plus 

Before we jump to their notable features and benefits, it's good to note that the Tuned Air encapsulated bubble is the imaginary link that binds the Air Tuned Max and Air Max Plus (aka Nike TN) together. Unlike the Air Maxes, these kicks come with a network of tuned pods filled with gas for enhanced shock absorption. Below are the factors that set them apart:

  • Design. Nike Air Max Plus offers a sporty rib-like upper, a mixture of leather rubber and mesh, while the Air Tuned Max comes with a high-end mix of synthetic materials in a wavy pattern. The former offers enhanced breathability compared to the other shoe.
  • Flexibility. The Air Max Plus’ bottom layer is more pliable than the subsequent model. 
  • Value. Both fall within the bracket of average-priced sneakers, with the Air Tuned Max getting a little pricier than the retroed Nike TN.


How Nike Air Tuned Max ranks compared to all other shoes
Bottom 21% sneakers
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Bottom 28% Nike sneakers
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Bottom 20% low sneakers
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The current trend of Nike Air Tuned Max.
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Danny McLoughlin
Danny McLoughlin

Danny is a sports nut with a particular interest in football and running. He loves to watch sports as much as he loves to play. Danny was lead researcher on RunRepeat and The PFA’s report into Racial Bias in Football Commentary. His football and running research has been featured in The Guardian, BBC, New York Times and Washington Post.