Our verdict

The Nike Air Max Impact 4 managed to go beyond the already high standards set by the Air Max Impact 3 performance-wise. Traction, cushioning, support, and comfort - we found that the Air Max Impact 4 surely delivers on aspects that matter, making it a perfect value-for-money option for an entry-level player.

Pros

  • Traction is consistently good
  • Responsive cushioning
  • Decent impact protection
  • Comfortable and well-ventilated upper
  • Dependable foot containment
  • Great for outdoor use
  • Value for money

Cons

  • Needs to be broken in
  • Not for wide-footers

Audience verdict

81
Good!

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Who should buy the Nike Air Max Impact 4

Being a budget model, the Air Max Impact 4 from Nike is a great match for the following folks:

  • beginner players
  • thriftier buyers
  • people who usually take their games outdoors

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Who should NOT buy this budget basketball shoe model from Nike

This basketball shoe is definitely not for players with wide feet. They can go at least half a size up or go for a different shoe altogether. The Nike Ja 1 is a good alternative.

Athletes who do not have the time to break in their shoes are also not fans of the Air Max Impact 4. They are better off with the Luka 1 from Jordan or the Zoom Freak 3 from Nike.

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Overall performance? The Air Max Impact 4 simply is it!

We are happy with how this budget shoe performs. For a pair under a hundred bucks, we are very impressed at how it works, especially in the court. 

A perfect example would be the wear resistance of this shoe's upper.

After being exposed to a Dremel for 10 seconds at a speed of 10000 RMP, we observed that the Air Max Impact 4 came out less damaged than its more expensive counterpart, the Lebron Witness 7.

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We put a piece of white material inside both shoes to prevent the shoe's colorway from getting in the way of the test. As you can see, the Dremel never got to the white part in the Impact 4 (left).

In addition, the microscope shot reveals some durable-looking threads woven into the shoe's upper fabric.

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Upper: Not premium but truly comfortable

While we found that the upper is made of cheap materials, this does not stop the upper from providing comfort that many have grown to appreciate.

We recognised the breathability of the mesh although it needed a little break-in time.

Nike did make sure to supply this shoe with sufficient ventilation. Based on the amount of smoke passing through its upper in our breathability test below, we rated it as 3 out of 5 (5 being the most breathable).

Nike Air Max Impact 4 (quite breathable) vs. Nike Lebron NXXT GEN (barely breathable)

And just look at the shoe's massive tongue! With a thickness of 11.7 mm, it is notably more padded than the average 9.5 mm.

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...and it's quite supportive, too!

Besides providing comfort, the upper materials also deliver dependable foot containment.

The lockdown we experienced on this shoe is just on point.

The shoe's various support features effectively work together to keep our feet securely in their place even during aggressive motion.

Some of these features include:

  • moderately stiff heel counter (we rated it as 3 out of 5)
  • supportive panels on each side: rubber in the forefoot and foam in the heel

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  • outriggers on the sole (measuring 113.6 mm in the widest part of the forefoot, the Impact 4 is right at the average of basketball shoes)

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Consistently great grip, anyone?

We were also in awe of the outsole of the Air Max Impact 4 as it has really great multi-directional coverage.

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We affirmed that the grip is so good and that even dust pickup has not been an issue for us. There is no need to keep on wiping the sole just to keep it grippy.

Amazing spring back with the Air Max Impact 4!

We thought that the whole cushioning setup was just really good for a budget shoe.

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We found the shoe bouncy and reactive around the forefoot, making it truly suitable for quick changes in direction and aggressive sprints toward the basket.

Based on our lab test of the shoe's cushioning, the foam used on the Impact 4 is 12% softer than the average of our tested basketball shoes.

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Disclaimer: We repeat the durometer measurement four times, excluding the outliers, and take the average number for our final result. The photo above shows just one of such measurements.

There is compression right below the heel

As you can see, the Air Max unit right underneath the heel is even softer and more compressive than the foam. It provides that area with the impact protection that it needs during harsh landings and aggressive strikes.

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The use of Air Max also increases the stack height of this basketball shoe, elevating the heel for extra comfort.

Using a pair of callipers, we measured the heel stack height at 33.3 mm (4.6 mm thicker than average) and its forefoot at 23.8 mm (2.3 mm thicker).

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This also means that the Nike Air Max Impact 4 has a higher-than-average drop of 9.5 mm. The average for basketball shoes is 7.2 mm.

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Approved for outdoor use

Based on our games, the Nike Air Max Impact 4, especially its outsole, offers plenty of durability. Due to this, we also believe that it's a really wonderful outdoor option.

For its moderate price, this hoop shoe from Nike boasts a fairly thick and hard rubber outsole.

We measured its thickness at 3.4 mm in the heel (the average is 3.9 mm)

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But it's the hardness that impressed us the most. Based on our durometer measurement, the Impact 4's rubber is harder than 88% of our lab-tested hoop shoes! That is a clear go signal for outdoor courts.

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A good flex is there too

Stiffness is not something we were worried about in the Nike Air Max Impact 4. There is a good amount of flex where you most need it - under the ball of the foot.

Disclaimer: We take four measurements with the gauge and calculate the average, excluding the outliers. The video above shows one of the measurements.

Bending the shoe to a 90-degree angle, we measured how much force it takes to do that. In the case of the Impact 4, it is 25.5% less resistant (=more flexible) compared to other basketball shoes.

In addition to the gauge test above, we also perform a manual assessment. Bending the shoe, we rated its longitudinal flexibility as 3 out of 5 (where 5 is the stiffest). And twisting it, we assessed torsional flex as 4 out 5 (a little more stiffness here is good for stability).

Air Max Impact 4: Worth every penny!

The Air Max Impact 4 from Nike is enduring proof that a shoe does not have to be expensive to be effective on the court.

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As mentioned, it is made only of budget-appropriate materials and technologies, but it still ends up as a shoe that can hold its own candle even when compared to far more expensive models from Nike and other brands. Purchasing this is not a bad decision.

Going true to size is the most reasonable thing that we did as far as the Nike Air Max Impact 4 is concerned.

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However, we advise those with wider feet to go up at least half a size since the midfoot is a little narrow, and the fit there is expectedly very close to the skin.

Having measured the shoe's toebox in both its widest part (101.1 mm) and around the big toe (77.4 mm), we can confirm that the Nike Air Max Impact 4 has an average width and can be classified as medium.

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