The new Nike Vapormax is a pretty damn cool shoe.
An extra-thin, sock-like Flyknit upper sitting on top of what Nike claims is the most advanced Air unit yet? A laceless Comme Des Garcons collab version that dropped at Dover Street Market earlier this month (pictured above)? A lightweight, sleek style? Dope women’s colorways too? Yeah, they’re set up to be a pretty big and important shoe in 2017.
But as we all know, adidas is still the king of the hill in the tech runner market … and one of their most popular shoes, the Ultra Boost, has much more in common than you might think with the Vapormax. They’re both $180. They both feature a woven upper. They both proudly represent their company’s latest and greatest technologies. We don’t think it’s a reach at all to say that the Vapormax is supposed to be an Ultra Boost competitor. But can it succeed?
To beat the Ultra Boost at its own high-end, premium lifestyle/running shoe game, the Vapormax needs to be able to do a couple things. It needs to be able to cross over into the fashion world, which it has with the Comme Des Garcons collab we mentioned at the beginning of this article. It has to have an appealing aesthetic, which it certainly does. And it has to infiltrate street culture … which it hasn’t done just yet.
The Vapormax will succeed or fail in competing with the Ultra Boost depending on how it does as a lifestyle shoe. Sure, Nike Running stans will buy their pairs and rock them heavily … but can the Vapormax cross over into the fashion mainstream in the way that the Ultra Boost did back in 2015? Only time will tell, but initial results are favorable, especially with the CDG collab making waves on the internet. Don’t be surprised if you see these popping up in OutfitGrids (our favorite) or street style shoots. They appear to be a very wearable shoe.
Plus, a little healthy competition never hurt anyone, right? Anything that pushes the envelope and forces competitors to innovate more is cool with us.