Verdict from 5 user reviews

5 reasons to buy

  • Eyecatching: Nike Air Tuned Max makes a splash for its striking wave-like design. Sneaker buffs are stunned by the OG’s “irresistible” iridescent color blocking. 
  • Springy: Even though the air bubble on the sole isn’t as elastic as the foam in Nike React sneakers, it snaps back quickly.
  • Heavy-duty: The triple-stitched layering across the top can endure general wear and tear. 
  • Breathable: Honeycomb mesh lining prevents heat from getting trapped inside the shoe.
  • Adequate toe room: It doesn’t feel cramped around the forefoot. There’s enough wiggle room for the toes.

4 reasons not to buy

  • Snug end: The back squeezes on the heel. One sneaker fan compared the experience to that on the Air Max Plus 2.
  • Hard outsole: The bottom section is “incredibly thick” and “rugged.”
  • Inflexible forefoot: The toe area won’t bend as much as many expect.
  • Weighty: Given the amount of foam housing the air sole, this shoe feels heavy. As per a sneaker geek, it weighs close to the hiker-inspired Nike ACG Mountain Fly Low.

Bottom line

Nike, an innovative storyteller, turns some of its retro sneakers into conversation pieces. If you're in for a shoe that pops in the crowd, the Air Tuned Max might suit you. Its webbing system spells out a retro-futuristic vibe, more fluid-appearing than the undulating finish on the Air Max 97. Given the shoe's cutting-edge silhouette, durability level, and comfort advantages, it possibly won’t be left accruing dust in your sneaker closet.

Tip: see the best sneakers.

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 27% 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.