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The Nike Air Max MX-720-818 is a space-age update on an already futuristic sneaker

The Air Max MX-720-818 marks Nike staying true to its promise of focusing on true lifestyle sneakers in the Air Max lineup. While arguably promoting a more experimental move in mainstream sneakers, I wonder whether the 720 is the best platform on which to do it.

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Nike offer individuality with every colorway

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I picked up the Metallic Silver colorway, although it’s more than that. Every few colorways with the MX-720-818 offers a new style, material, and history. These are maybe the most visible, inspired (obviously) by spacesuits.

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Nike is clearly moving their Air Max line-up towards fashion runways with streetwear inspiration from around the world. It’s really exciting to see new silhouettes like the MX-720-818 and different breeds of the AM 270 in recent years. 

Walking in the Air Max MX-720-818 is a new experience, but that’s not necessarily a good thing

The 818s are built on a 720 air pocket but with a reconfigured AM 98 padded/insulated upper, sectioned off with contrast stitching throughout. 

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While the base of the shoe is similar, it lacks the tighter lacing system and reinforced side panels of the original 720. Because of this, the already super-high (38mm heel height) MX-720-818 feels unstable at times. 

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The oversized air pocket goes some way to stabilize the shoe, and after a few hours, I got used to the height. As usually with Nike, the MX-720-818 fits true to size and is super comfortable to wear all day. 

I actually found it more comfortable than the 720 in some situations because the upper is made of softer material. 

Creativity in the uppers gives more than expected

The insulated, sleeping-bag-like material of the upper is really comfortable and hugs the foot. That being said, it’s not very breathable. After a few hours of walking around, I started to notice the heat in there. 

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A plus, however, is that the upper material is water and stain-resistant, making the Air Max MX-720-818 a really interesting warm choice as a winter sneaker. Most things just run off of it and they’re easy to keep looking fresh. 

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The Nike Air Max MX-720-818 is paradoxically stiff

The 720 air pocket is one of the most popular selling points of the shoe, but it falls into the same issues that I’ve found with the original 720. The sneaker ends up stiff as hell because of how hard it is to bend the full-length air bubble. 

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Even though the air bubble is super-comfortable to stand on top of, walking all day in such a stiff shoe can take its toll. I guess this is collateral for a focus on fashion and lifestyle rather than performance. 

Strong enough for the vacuum of space

On that note though, looking at the material of the metallic colorway, I expected the fabric to fall apart the second I took a wire brush to it. In actual fact, it stood up really well to a beating and the biggest casualty was the frayed outer stitching.  

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Nike is ushering in a new frontier with the Air Max MX-720-818

Overall though, I kind of love the shoe. The colorways are specific enough that you’d need to style them well, but any narrow silhouette is going to lend itself to the sleek lines of the Sneaker. 

The Air Max MX-720-818 is giving hints that it’s going to be an interesting few years of Nike raising the bar on mainstream sneaker fashion.

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Facts / Specs

Style: Sporty, Futuristic, Chunky
Top: Low
Inspired from: Running
Collection: Nike Air Max, Nike Air, Nike Air Max 720
Closure: Laces
Material: Mesh, Rubber Sole, EVA, Nylon / Fabric
Technology: Air Cushion

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Author
Doug Turner
Doug Turner

Doug is a Scottish documentary and fashion photographer and filmmaker. Stumbling into the sneaker game later than usual, he started out behind a camera through long hiking expeditions around the world. Seeking a cleaner aesthetic, Doug now works mostly in fashion and sport, opting for outdoor locations rather than a studio.