The Nike Air Max 95 is Air Max royalty. One of the most popular sneakers in the world, it has been subject to numerous rereleases. Today it's still the strong, well-designed, comfy-as-hell sneaker that we love.
- Part of Nike Street Style Heritage
- Super durable construction
- Speed lace loops offer great fit and comfort
- Easy to clean
- Recycled materials used
- Best for colder seasons
- Great lacing for a secure fit
- A bit heavy
- Takes time to wear in
Built with power in mind, the Nike Air Max 95 has stayed strong until today
It’s no surprise that when designing the Nike Air Max 95 designer Sergio Lozano had some of the world’s most powerful runners in mind. Lozano’s previous silhouettes were focused on Nike’s ACG (All Conditions Gear) department, which makes sense when you look at the 95.
It’s still one of the chunkiest sneakers in the Air Max line but features like the rib-like structured lacing and the mesh upper (original colorway) suggest that the sneaker works on and off-road to take you where you want to go, fast.
It goes without saying that today you should not be planning the run in these anywhere, save your feet, knees, hips, and general health. Nike has recently said their newer Air Max models (the 270 and 720) are their first “lifestyle only” shoe. But looking at the 95 compared to the Zoom Alphafly Next% for example, it’s clear that’s not true.
Year in, year out people just can’t get enough of the 95
The OG Neon colorway of the Air Max 95 has been one of Nike’s most desired designs, prompting 10 re-releases between 1995 and 2015. The neon green lace supports and glowing full-length air bubble all stand in high contrast against the black outer sole, included by Lozano to hide mud and dirt on the shoe.
I didn’t manage to get my hands on an OG colorway, but actually prefer the Classic Green/Electric Green version that I picked up. Lozano, inspired by runners’ connection to the earth, brought in inspiration from both the human body and the natural world and this colorway emulates that.
Although it takes a bit of wearing in, the 95 is worth giving a chance
In terms of fit, the 95 feels a bit on the small side. A combination of the snug fit and the leather toe cap worried me at first. After a couple of days of wearing them in, however, the leather stretched to a perfect fit and I started really appreciating the lacing system.
The outer sole, made from recycled Nike Grind rubber, gives a sense of traction and control on the street and off of it.
Combined with the air cushion, midsole, and lacing the Nike Air Max 95 is a strong sneaker that suggests it’s got the ability to take on winters. This all adds stiffness to the sneaker which isn’t seen often among Air Max’s creations but brings with it a promise of longevity.
The Nike Air Max 95 is a metaphor for the human experience
The lacing system, which connects the speed-lace loops to the sole looks and feels like a rib cage. This hugs the foot, ensuring not slipping and rubbing. The solid, sculpted midsole takes on the role of a spine, strengthening the shoe throughout.
The upper paneling of the Air Max 95 resembles muscle fibers but also takes on the role of eroded earth. The electric green colorway brings this natural human form into a modern, energizing pallet.
The recycled felt upper resembling layers of earth and the human form is my favorite part of the 95. In an age where we’re now asking for responsibility from corporations, and aiming for low-impact manufacturing, Nike is starting a conversation about how our world, our sneakers, and our bodies can be part of that. I think the Classic Green/Electric Green colorway is as relevant to today and the Neon Green was in the 90s.
That being said, the difference in materials between the colorways, as is common with Nike Air Max, will mean different performances in things like breathability, weatherproofing, and the durability of the upper.
The Nike Air Max 95 is made robust enough to tackle the elements, just like us
The Classic Green/Electric Green colorway replaces a mesh upper around the lacing with canvas thick enough to scare a pair of Vans away. While not doing the 95s any favors for breathability, this addition provides some more protection for water.
In testing for weatherproofing, I found that the shoes do keep water our for a while, even over the tongue of the shoe. Issues come once the water has got it; being an already heavy shoe, all the felt and canvas turns into a lead and weighs everything down.
Upper durability initially didn’t concern me, thinking that all of these heavyweight materials would be able to take a beating. In reality, although the 95 can’t stand up for itself, the felt does start to come apart slightly after a bit of friction. That’s probably the nature of the material, but I still think something could have been done to stop it.
You expect the 95 to be easy to look after, and they are
The materials of the industrial upper are incredibly easy to clean if you can wait for them to dry after. No matter how I stained them, with chalk, dyes, and dirt, I could wash pretty much everything out.
To be fair, durability and ease of cleaning are pretty much expected with the price point of the Air Max 95. It has always been one of the more expensive sneakers of the line due to its complex construction and diversity in materials. At least it stands up to the hype.
The Nike Air Max 95 continues to push boundaries
All in all, the Nike Air Max 95 is quite literally a groundbreaking shoe, even today. It’s clearly a perfect canvas for Nike to continue pursuing cultural significance through its Air Max lines. If you don’t mind the bulk and weight, this shoe might just be perfect for the colder seasons.