Air Max 97 vs 98 (Main Differences)

When it comes to iconic sneakers, the Nike Air Max series holds a special place in the hearts of sneakerheads and fashion enthusiasts. Among the numerous Air Max models, the Air Max 97 and Air Max 98 are the most confusing ones.

While the Air Max 97 often steals the spotlight, it’s important not to overlook the unique appeal of the Air Max 98.

In this in-depth comparison, we’ll be comparing Air Max 97 vs 98.

By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of both sneakers, enabling you to make an informed choice based on your preferences.

Nike Air Max 97 vs Air Max 98 – A Quick Comparison Table

AspectAir Max 97Air Max 98
Design– Sleeker design– Unorthodox threading and placement of leather patches
Inspiration– Ripple patterns inspired by Japanese bullet trains– Asymmetric design and pattern
Upper Material– Primarily mesh and synthetic materials– Combination of materials such as suede, leather, rubber, and canvas
Colorways– Wide variety with multiple models and color options– More limited selection
Comfort– Some find it less comfortable compared to the Air Max 98– Considered more comfortable by some users due to its texture and shoe structure
Lacing System– Traditional lacing system– Lacing system allows you to avoid tying your shoes
Sizing– Generally stick to true size– No specific sizing adjustments required
Outsole Durability– Firm materials and structure– Utilizes regrind rubber in the outsoles

What’s the Difference Between Air Max 97 and Air Max 98?


One of the notable distinctions between the Air Max 97 and Air Max 98 lies in the materials used in their construction. The Air Max 97 predominantly employs mesh, synthetic materials, foam midsoles, and rubber outsoles.

This combination of materials provides the shoe with a lightweight and breathable feel. In contrast, the Air Max 98 takes a more diverse approach, incorporating a combination of materials such as suede, leather, rubber, and canvas.

This variation in materials not only adds durability but also gives the Air Max 98 a distinct aesthetic and a touch of versatility. The incorporation of different textures and finishes in the Air Max 98 creates a visually appealing sneaker that stands out from the crowd.


Comfort is a crucial factor to consider when selecting sneakers, and both the Air Max 97 and Air Max 98 deliver this aspect.

The Air Max 97 is known for its plush cushioning and excellent shock absorption, providing a comfortable experience with every step.

However, some users find the Air Max 98 slightly more comfortable than its counterpart. The texture and shoe structure of the Air Max 98 contributes to its overall comfort, making it a desirable choice for those seeking enhanced cushioning and support.

The use of different materials in the Air Max 98’s upper, such as suede and leather, adds an extra layer of comfort and a luxurious feel to the shoe.


When it comes to sizing, it is generally recommended to stick to your true size for the Air Max 97.

The mesh upper of the Air Max 97 provides a snug fit that conforms to the shape of your foot, ensuring a secure and comfortable feel.

On the other hand, the Air Max 98 requires no specific sizing adjustments, allowing you to confidently select your usual size. However, it’s always beneficial to try on both models or consult the brand’s sizing charts to find the best fit for your feet.

Each person’s feet have unique characteristics, so it’s essential to prioritize finding the right fit for optimal comfort and performance.


The Air Max 97 boasts a wider range of options with multiple models and colorways available.

This extensive selection enables you to find a design that perfectly matches your personal style. From bold and vibrant color combinations to more understated and classic options, the Air Max 97 offers a plethora of choices.

On the other hand, the Air Max 98 offers a more limited variety, which may appeal to individuals who prefer a more exclusive and distinct look.

The limited availability of certain colorways in the Air Max 98 adds an element of uniqueness to the sneaker, allowing you to stand out from the crowd.

Air Max 97 vs 98: Which One Should You Choose?

Selecting between the Air Max 97 and Air Max 98 ultimately boils down to personal preference and the specific attributes you value in a sneaker.

If you appreciate a sleeker design and are drawn to the unique ripple patterns inspired by Japanese bullet trains that adorn the Air Max 97, it might be the ideal choice for you.

It’s streamlined silhouette and futuristic aesthetic make it a popular option for those seeking a modern and fashion-forward sneaker.

The Air Max 97’s clean lines and attention to detail create a visually striking shoe that exudes elegance and sophistication.

On the other hand, if you’re captivated by unorthodox threading and the placement of leather patches, the Air Max 98 will capture your attention.

The asymmetric design and pattern of the Air Max 98 create a distinctive visual appeal that sets it apart from its counterpart.

Additionally, the more convenient lacing system of the Air Max 98, which allows you to avoid tying your shoes, might be a practical advantage for individuals seeking hassle-free footwear.

The Air Max 98’s unique design elements and unconventional aesthetics make it a statement piece that adds a touch of individuality to your outfit.


In conclusion, both the Air Max 97 and Air Max 98 offer unique features and styles that cater to different preferences.

The Air Max 97’s sleek design, extensive variety, and futuristic ripple patterns make it a popular choice among sneaker enthusiasts who appreciate a modern and streamlined look. 

Whereas, the Air Max 98’s unorthodox threading, placement of leather patches, and convenient lacing system appeal to individuals seeking a distinctive and avant-garde sneaker. Whether you choose the Air Max 97 or Air Max 98, both sneakers are sure to make a stylish statement and provide you with a comfortable and fashionable footwear option.

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