As far as contemporary sneakers go, it’s hard to beat the Nike Air Vapormax. Here is a shoe that took the idea of visible AIR and made it, well, even more visible! The revolutionary design only got unveiled a mere 4 years ago yet that doesn’t make this silhouette any less influential. In fact, the Vapormax is just as popular as any of Nike’s icons and it’s not hard to see why. Not only ultra-comfy, this is one of those pairs that merges the line between sports and everyday wear. They don’t look out of place in the gym but they also look bangin’ with a pair of cuffed jeans!
Today, there’s more choice than ever when it comes to colourways not to mention the variety of models that have released over the years. Here we look back on 25 of our favourites ranging from high-heat collabs to general releases!
Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit "Black" (2017)
Dialling it back to the very first colourway, Nike kept things simple and stealthy for the debut Vapormax. Everything got drenched in a deep shade of Black from that chunky bubble of Air underfoot to those soft Primeknit uppers. These arrived during Air Max Day and not surprisingly were quick to sellout!
Off-White x Nike Air Vapormax (2017)
The arrival of Virgil Abloh’s “The Ten” collection in 2017 brought a whole new look to a handful of old school silhouettes. But it wasn’t just the icons that got the deconstructed treatment; Virgil chose the Vapormax as one of the more contemporary pairs. He somehow managed to make the look even more contemporary thanks to a stitched Swoosh and oversized tongue. Each pair also came with a multitude of lace colours to choose from.
Cactus Plant Flea Market x Nike Air Vapormax (2019)
Few Vapormaxes are more radical than this unique rendition at the hands of Cactus Plant Flea Market. Taking the ultra-durable Vapormax which features synthetic uppers, they accentuate the iconic Nike features such as the Swoosh which features chunky and colourful piping. It’s a playful take and one that makes these a best-seller on the resell market.
Nike Air Vapormax "Be True" (2017)
In celebration of the LGBTQ+ movement, Nike gave the full rainbow treatment to the Vapormax air unit. That gradient colour scheme still hasn’t been replicated making this one of the most unique styles in the range. The look was perfectly complimented with a deep blue coloured Primeknit.
Nike Air Vapormax 97 "Japan" (2018)
Hybrid sneakers weren’t really a thing before 2018 so you might have expected something more questionable at the thought of a Vapormax and Air Max 97 sole-swap. That said, it seems us sneakerheads were in for a surprise. Not only was this a great looking shoe but the homage to an old school colour scheme made it even more unmissable.
Acronym x Nike Air Vapormax Moc 2 (2018)
Released during Air Max Day 2018, this pack of three silhouettes is just as eye-catching as you’d expect for an Acronym collab. Each of the three showcases a different patterned design along with other quirky details from synthetic moulds covering the underneath to tech-wear inspired logos added throughout. This was also one of the few moc Vapormax styles, completely void of laces.
Nike Air Vapormax Plus “Triple Black” (2018)
Who knew the radically contemporary Vapormax would spawn so many hybrid trainers. Just take the Vapormax Plus which somehow effortlessly combines both the upper of the vintage Nike Tn with the sole unit of a Vapormax. More than 30 colourways have released over the years but the stealthy triple black remains a best-seller.
CLOT x Nike Air Vapormax (2017)
Asian retailer CLOT didn’t hold back on their Nike collaboration opting for an outrageous colour scheme from head to toe. What made these so impressive was the full length coloured midsole not to mention the subtle hits of black as a deep contrast to those red uppers. Size runs were limited which would explain why these can sell for as much as £800.
Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit 2 “Chinese New Year” (2019)
Chinese New Year has inspired countless iconic styles and now we can add the Vapormax to that growing list. As a homage to the Year Of The Pig, an oriental colourway sees the stylish combination of black, red and gold all, all finished off with a Chinese emblem across the tongue.
Nike Air Vapormax Plus "Paris Works in Progress" (2019)
Released as part of the Nike: On Air contest, winner Lou Matheron got their chance to create something entirely unique from the ground upwards. This high-top design is actually inspired by a Parisian courthouse which is still under-construction. From the bolted-on yellow Swoosh to the buckled strap, these are arguably one of the most unique Vapormax designs ever!
Off-White x Nike Air Vapormax “White” (2018)
How can you possibly follow on from “The Ten” Vapormax?! If you thought it couldn’t get any better, Virgil went an unveiled this clean white rendition. It launched alongside another black pair but getting a more summer-friendly alternative to the original design made this one of the most exciting releases back in Spring 2018.
Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit 3 “Multi-Colour” (2019)
The ever-evolving Vapormax transitioned to its third make-up in 2019 with subtle differences including an embossed Swoosh and a more prominent synthetic heel panel. That’s not to say it wasn’t just as striking especially in the new colourways such as this full-on multi-coloured release.
Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit “Oreo” (2017)
Not long after the debut styles came another instantly popular colourway. This time it was a merge of black, grey and white – otherwise known to sneakerheads as the “oreo”. This tasty theme was finished with an icy Swoosh and completely transparent air unit.
Nike Air Vapormax 2 Flyknit "Tiger" (2018)
The orange stripes of a tiger inspire this special-edition colourway which launched alongside a wider collection of animal-themed pairs. There was a Zebra rendition and a croc-inspired design but it’s hard to beat this striking blend of orange and black. A tiger print is added to the synthetic decal which sits on the heel.
Nike Air Vapormax Leather "Triple Black" (2017)
Arguably one of the most understated pairs on this list also happens to be one of the more simple colourways. But there was something completely unique about this Vapormax. Instead of the conventional Flyknit or synthetic uppers, Nike crafted this pair with premium and perforated leather. These were surprisingly under-hyped when they released but today, due to the rarity, it’s still difficult to source a pair on marketplaces.
CDG x Nike Air Vapormax “Black” (2017)
It was the entirely laceless design that made this such a hyped release when they got unveiled in 2017, soon after the debut collection. As a luxury collaboration, Comme Des Garcons brought some high-fashion flair with an entirely understated upper matched with a subtle branded overlay. The versatile look went someway to justifying the inflated price tag.
Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit 3 "Moon Landing" (2019)
Here’s a colourway which boldly goes where no Vapormax has gone before, well at least it’s the first in the line-up to showcase a moon-inspired theme. As a subtle nod to other Nike classics, like the Air Max 90 “Mars Landing”, this pair delivers an out of this world aesthetic thanks to moon graphics and a eerie glow of red underfoot.
Marc Newson x Nike Air VaporMax (2017)
Nike’s VISION AIR campaign enlisted the help of several designers from across the globe to bring some unconventional flair to their most popular silhouettes. Marc Newson’s Vapormax was arguably the most striking of the bunch. Although these won’t be for everyone you cannot deny the lux appeal from the tan coloured leather to the stretchy green coloured fabric.
Nike Air Vapormax 95 "Neon" (2018)
2018 was a big year for hybrids with several models fusing the upper of a iconic shoe with the revolutionary comfort of the Vapormax. It wasn’t surprising to see an Air Max 95 sold-swap given this remains of the most popular Nike shoes in existence. Several OG colourways were unveiled including the “Neon” which features an identical upper to the original.
Nike Air Vapormax “Black History Month” (2018)
Pulling inspiration from the Pan-African flag, this Vapormax joined a collection of Jordans in 2018, all featuring an unmistakable mix of black, red and green. To complete the look, the date 08/20/1993 got printed on the heel as a homage to Nike athlete Colin Jackson.
Nike Air Vapormax Moc "Triple Black" (2017)
One of the most expensive general release Vapormax colourways on the resell market, prices will set you back more than £500 for this blacked-out rendition. It’s the rare design which would explain the hype. This is one of only a handful to feature an elasticated strap instead of the conventional lacing system.
Nike Air Vapormax Doernbecher (2017)
Each year Nike gives a handful of children, patients of the Doernbecher Hospital in Oregon, the opportunity to design their very own sneaker from the ground upwards. In 2018, it was Andrew Merydith who borrowed a colour scheme from his favourite BMX jersey for this Vapormax. Showing some love to his family, he also added the insignia “#ilovethefam” across the heel. All proceeds from the sale went to benefit OHSU Doernbecher.
Nike Air Vapormax Flyknit "Pure Platinum” (2017)
Another one of the debut colourways deserves special mention given the simple execution. Released alongside the triple black pair, this was a refined theme and the perfect introduction to a sneaker that would go on to release in hundreds of colours and styles.
Nike Air Vapormax 97 "Silver Bullet" (2018)
The mad scientists at Nike transplant one of the all time greatest Air Max 97 colourways above a Vapormax sole unit. It’s a bizarre concept but one that somehow works. This was one of several iconic Air Max 97/ Vapormax hybrids including a “Varsity Purple” “Gold” and “Japan”.
Nike Air Vapormax 2020 Flyknit "Dark Grey" (2020)
Looking back on the best-ever Vapormax colourways it’s clear to see an ever-changing design that never stands still. As we look to the future, Nike continue to reinvent the model whether that’s with a slightly more streamlined Air Unit or the addition of new features such as a contemporary lacing system. Seen on the Vapormax 2020, it’s these new features that continues to make the Vapormax more relevant than ever.