Air Max 90 vs Air Max 97 (Main Differences)

When it comes to iconic Nike sneakers, the Air Max 90 and Air Max 97 stand out as timeless classics loved by sneakerheads worldwide. These shoes have left an indelible mark on sneaker culture, each boasting its unique design and style. But how do they truly compare against each other?

In this in-depth article, we’ll delve into the key differences between the Air Max 90 vs Air Max 97, exploring their comfort, sizing, materials, durability, variety, cost, availability, and more.

So, lace up your sneakers, and let’s dive into this head-to-head showdown!

What’s the Difference Between Air Max 90 and Air Max 97?


Comfort is a crucial factor when choosing the perfect pair of sneakers, and both the Air Max 90 and Air Max 97 excel in this department, albeit in different ways.

The Air Max 90, with its time-tested design and construction, offers exceptional comfort, especially after the break-in period.

As you wear them more frequently, the shoes mold to the contours of your feet, creating a snug and personalized fit. The combination of synthetic leather and textile-mesh upper provides a good balance between durability and flexibility, allowing for a comfortable stride.

On the other hand, the Air Max 97 boasts a lightweight feel, thanks to its mesh upper. The built-in mesh offers excellent breathability, keeping your feet cool during prolonged wear.

While the shoes might not have the same level of initial comfort as the Air Max 90, they do feel lighter and more breathable, making them an excellent choice for hot summer days or active use.


Both the Air Max 90 and Air Max 97 generally fit true to size, catering to individuals with regular foot width.

If you have a standard foot shape, you can confidently go for your usual size without worry. However, it’s essential to consider your foot width when choosing between the two models, especially if you have wider feet.

For sneaker enthusiasts with wider feet, the Air Max 90 may feel slightly snug at first. In this case, going half a size up might provide a more comfortable fit.

On the other hand, the Air Max 97, with its mesh upper that offers a bit more flexibility, might feel more accommodating for wider feet without requiring a size adjustment.

Ultimately, the best approach is to try both models on if possible or refer to sizing charts for guidance to find the perfect fit for your feet.


The choice of materials in sneakers significantly influences their overall comfort, durability, and style.

Both the Air Max 90 and Air Max 97 come equipped with a mix of synthetic materials and mesh, but their specific compositions differ.

The Air Max 90 features a combination of synthetic leather and textile-mesh in its upper construction.

This blend of materials offers an appealing balance of durability and flexibility. The synthetic leather adds sturdiness to the toe box and sidewalls, while the textile-mesh enhances breathability and lightweight feel.

On the other hand, the Air Max 97 incorporates synthetic and mesh materials into its design. The use of synthetic overlays on the upper creates the wave-like pattern that gives the shoe its distinctive look.

The mesh sections, in addition to improving breathability, add to the overall lightness of the shoe, making it feel almost weightless on the foot.

When comparing the materials, the Air Max 97 stands out for its innovative design, which not only contributes to its unique aesthetic appeal but also ensures a more airy and breathable experience.


Sneaker enthusiasts invest in quality shoes with the expectation that they will last for a considerable amount of time. The durability of the Air Max 90 and Air Max 97 largely depends on the materials used in their construction, as well as how well they are cared for.

Both models demonstrate impressive durability, thanks to their mesh uppers that help prevent creasing. Proper care, such as cleaning and storing them correctly, can further extend their lifespan.

The Air Max 90’s synthetic leather and textile-mesh upper provide a sturdy foundation, making it a reliable choice for daily wear and tear. The synthetic overlays on the Air Max 97’s upper contribute to its overall resilience, ensuring that the unique wave-like design remains intact over time.


One of the joys of being a sneaker enthusiast is the ability to choose from a diverse array of styles and colorways. The variety offered by Nike in the Air Max 90 and Air Max 97 collections caters to different tastes and fashion preferences.

The Air Max 90 reigns supreme when it comes to variety, providing an extensive selection of styles for men, women, and kids. With over 50 different options to choose from, you’re sure to find a design that perfectly complements your personal style.

While the Air Max 97 also offers a commendable selection of styles, it may seem relatively limited compared to the Air Max 90. With 18 styles available for men and women, some sneakerheads might find themselves wanting more options to choose from.


Cost is a significant consideration for sneaker enthusiasts, and the price range of the Air Max 90 and Air Max 97 reflects their distinct characteristics and appeal.

The Air Max 90 stands out as the more affordable option, making it an attractive choice for those seeking quality sneakers without breaking the bank. The price of Air Max 90 shoes starts at $23 for kids’ sizes and $73 for adult sizes, offering exceptional value for the iconic design and comfort it provides.

On the other hand, the Air Max 97 comes with a slightly higher price range. With a starting price of $100 for standard models and going up to $215 for customizable options, the Air Max 97 might be seen as a premium choice for sneaker enthusiasts who are captivated by its distinctive wave-like design.


As popular and sought-after sneakers, both the Air Max 90 and Air Max 97 may experience fluctuations in availability, especially for the most sought-after styles and sizes. However, sneakerheads need not worry, as Nike periodically restocks both models on their official website and at various retail outlets.

To increase your chances of snagging your desired pair, staying updated on restock announcements and release dates is essential. Additionally, checking with authorized Nike retailers or visiting Nike’s official website regularly can lead to rewarding discoveries.

Other Factors

Beyond comfort, sizing, materials, durability, variety, and cost, there are a few other factors that set the Air Max 90 and Air Max 97 apart.

The Air Max 97 boasts convenient pull tabs on both the front and back of the opening. These pull tabs facilitate quick adjustments when putting on or taking off the shoes, providing added convenience and ease of wear.

On the other hand, the Air Max 90’s lace eyelets are situated on the exterior, providing an opportunity for customizable lacing options. The extra lace holes enable wearers to experiment with different lacing styles, making the Air Max 90 a canvas for expressing individual style.

Also Check: Nike Air Max Excee vs Air Max 90 (Detailed Comparison)

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Air Max 90 Fits the Same as Air Max 97?

Both the Air Max 90 and Air Max 97 are known for their consistent fit, generally running true to size.

However, individual preferences and foot shapes can vary, so it’s essential to consider your own comfort when choosing between the two models. For those with regular feet, sticking to your usual size should provide a comfortable fit in either sneaker.

Do Air Max 97 Make You Taller?

One distinct feature of the Air Max 97 is its air-cushioned outsoles with elevated heels, which contribute to a subtle height increase when wearing the sneakers. On average, the Air Max 97 adds approximately 1.6 inches to your height.

This height-enhancing aspect of the Air Max 97 is a significant draw for some individuals who appreciate a slight boost in stature while still enjoying the comfort and style of these iconic sneakers.

Are Air Max 90s Still in Style?

Absolutely! The Air Max 90 has transcended time and trends, establishing itself as a classic and evergreen style that continues to be relevant and fashionable.

Its iconic design, featuring the Nike logo on the side and “Air Max” branding above the heels, has captured the hearts of sneaker enthusiasts for decades. Whether you’re a seasoned sneakerhead or new to the sneaker scene, the Air Max 90’s timeless appeal ensures that it remains a popular choice and an essential addition to any sneaker collection.

Are Nike Air Max 90 Comfortable?

Comfort is a top priority for any sneaker enthusiast, and the Nike Air Max 90 delivers on this front. The shoe’s design incorporates a combination of synthetic leather and textile-mesh upper, providing both durability and flexibility.

Once broken in, the Air Max 90 molds comfortably to your feet, offering a snug fit that enhances the overall wearing experience. The sneaker’s cushioning, in the form of waffle-patterned outsoles, not only provides excellent support but also enhances traction for added stability during various activities.

Are Air Max 90 Shoes Comfortable?

Yes, the Air Max 90 has earned a reputation for its comfort and long-lasting support, making it a sought-after option among sneaker enthusiasts.

Whether you’re wearing them for casual outings, running errands, or exploring the great outdoors, the Air Max 90’s comfort and reliable performance ensure that your feet stay happy and supported throughout the day.

The combination of durable materials, thoughtful design, and exceptional cushioning makes the Air Max 90 a dependable choice for everyday wear.

Are Nike Air Max 90 Good for Standing All Day?

While the Air Max 90 excels in comfort for various activities, it may not be the most suitable option for prolonged standing throughout the day.

Although the sneaker’s cushioning provides adequate support for everyday wear and casual activities, standing for extended periods often requires specialized footwear with additional features focused on maximizing support and reducing fatigue.

For scenarios that involve significant standing, consider exploring shoes specifically designed for all-day comfort, such as those tailored for standing or walking occupations.

Air Max 90 vs Air Max 97 – A Quick Comparison Table:

To help you make an informed decision between the Air Max 90 and Air Max 97, let’s break down their key features side by side in this comprehensive comparison table:

CriteriaAir Max 90Air Max 97
DesignClassic Nike pattern with logo on the side and “Air Max” above heelsWave-like pattern on sides with a smaller Nike logo above midsoles, inspired by bullet trains in Japan
Pull TabsAbsentPresent on the front and back of the opening for quick adjustments
Lace EyeletsOutside with extra holes for customizable lacingBuilt inside for a cleaner look
ComfortOffers better fit after break-in periodFeels lightweight with built-in mesh upper
SizingGenerally true to sizeGenerally true to size
MaterialSynthetic leather and textile-mesh upper with rubber outsolesSynthetic and mesh materials with foam-based midsoles and rubber outsoles
DurabilityDurable with mesh uppers that avoid creasingDurable with mesh uppers that avoid creasing
VarietyOffers 50 styles for men, women, and kidsOffers 18 styles for men and women
CostMore affordable, starting at $23 for kids’ shoes and $73 for adult shoesStarts at $100 and goes up to $215 for customizable options
AvailabilityRestocks periodically on the official websiteRestocks periodically on the official website
Height IncreaseN/AAdds about 1.6 inches to height with air-cushioned outsoles
StyleEvergreen style, versatile and always in fashionUnique wave-like design, a standout choice
UsageComfortable for casual wear, not ideal for intense workoutsComfortable for casual wear, not ideal for intense workouts
Target AudienceSneaker enthusiasts looking for classic stylesThose who prefer a unique and distinctive design
CushioningOffers better cushioning with waffle-patterned outsoles, enhancing traction and supportProvides cushioning with air-cushioned outsoles for a lightweight feel

Air Max 90 vs Air Max 97: Which One Should You Choose?

Air Max 90 or Air Max 97, which one suits you best? The choice depends on your style, comfort preferences, and intended usage. For classic enthusiasts seeking versatility, the evergreen Air Max 90 with its timeless design and comfortable fit is the perfect match. With numerous options available, it effortlessly complements any outfit.

For those who crave a bolder, futuristic look, the Air Max 97 is ideal. Inspired by bullet trains, its wave-like design stands out, and the air-cushioned outsoles add height and style. Whether you prioritize comfort and classic appeal or desire a unique, eye-catching design, both sneakers have their charm. Consider your taste and needs to select the perfect pair, and rest assured, you’ll rock a fashion-forward look that celebrates Nike’s iconic Air Max collection.


In conclusion, the Air Max 90 and Air Max 97 both hold a special place in the hearts of sneaker enthusiasts worldwide.

Each sneaker offers unique features and design elements that cater to different style preferences and needs. The Air Max 90 is a classic choice, providing exceptional comfort and a wide array of options to suit any outfit.

Meanwhile, the Air Max 97 captivates with its futuristic wave-like design and additional height boost, making it a distinct and fashion-forward option.

Ultimately, the choice between these two iconic Nike sneakers comes down to personal taste, style preferences, and intended use.

Whether you opt for the timeless appeal of the Air Max 90 or the daring look of the Air Max 97, you’re bound to rock a fashion statement that stands the test of time. So, lace up your chosen pair, hit the streets, and let your style shine with every step you take.

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