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The VaporMax range is one of the most expensive sneakers Nike manufactures, some pairs retail for $250 (£220) or more. 

The Nike VaporMax range is based on the Air Max 1 trainers that were first released in 1987 and designed by Tinker Hatfield. The original Air Max was inspired by the Pompidou Center, in Paris, France. 

Rumour has it that the VaporMax contains the most air of any Nike Air Max ever produced. When the engineers at Nike were designing the VaporMax it took them 5 years to develop the air bubble two-part midsole. They are made of Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) nitrogen gas fill air units at the heel and front with a durable rubber sole. 

Related Article: Do your trainers sometimes hurt? Here’s a list of the Best Nike Shoes For Wide Feet; start walking in comfort.

Reasons Nike VaporMax is expensive

Research and Development


Air Bubble Midsole – ​​”The Air soles are constructed of 75% recycled material and are made exclusively at two Air Manufacturing Innovation Plants located in Beaverton, Oregon, and St. Louis.” (Hypebeast, 2018) Manufacturing plants are dedicated to Nike Air shoes only and the mold for the VaporMax has 39000 different components. 

The research and development that went into designing required 350 runners to test the sneakers. The combined distance it took to test the VaporMax sneakers is equal to running around the earth 5 times approximately 124,505 miles (200,375 kilometers).

Nike Air Patents – According to, Insights By GreyB Nike has a total of 25,762 patents globally. Out of 25,762 patents, 28,755 patents are active. Specific patents related to Nike Air Technology are active, the cost associated with managing patents makes VaporMax trainers expensive. 

Air Bag Development – The Airbag or air pockets are a vital component that goes into Nike sportswear shoes. Custom machines with ovens, heat plastic film into an Airbag and pop out at the other end as a complete piece. Machines are constantly running with production line workers rotating shifts to make sure the production line doesn’t stop. 

Related Article: Did you know the Nike Dunk costs £100 ($115) less than the VaporMax? Here are 5 Fascinating Reason To Save Money.

Limited Releases and Collaborations


Any Quickstrike (limited edition release) VaporMax released usually commands a higher price than the general release pair it is inspired by. For example, the Nike VaporMax OFF-WHITE 2018 was released in two separate black and white colourways for a retail price of $240 (£210). Since being released in March 2018, the Air Vapormx The Ten has sold for an average of $910 (£785) on the StockX resell marketplace. Usually, such limited models require more creative development another reason why the Vapormax is so expensive. 

Related Article: Save some money with these Nike Sneakers That Add Extra Height for a fraction of the price.

Supply and Demand 


General release Nike Vapormax is expensive because only certain retailers with Tier 0 accounts get certain premium sneakers. Tier accounts (retailers) are chosen by Nike. The markup is determined by Nike but as they are only in selected stores demand for such pairs is high which makes them pricey. 

Similar to a limited edition, collaborations and endorsement pairs their scarcity makes them expensive. To meet demand most retailers like END, Footlocker, and Size? rely on raffles to make the process of buying in-demand sneakers fair. 



From the various models of Nike VaporMax released the marketing campaigns around the sneaker are centered around the target audience. The Nike Air VaporMax Moc 2 X Acronym 2018 release saw a promotional video featuring Acronym ® founder Errolson Hugh and guest-starring John Mayer (Singer, Songwriter). Such marketing strategies and materials require a large upfront initial investment that adds to the Nike Vapormax cost.

Resell Marketplaces 


Whether it’s a general release, limited edition, or collaboration model Nike VaporMax command high resell price due to the hype around the sneakers. A reason Nike VaporMax are so expensive is that sneaker enthusiast are willing to pay above retail for them.

Cheaper Nike VaporMax Alternatives

Related Article: Check out other cheaper Nike trainers that are eco-friendly (vegan).

Less than £200 ($230)

Not feeling to spend $250 (£220) or more on VaporMax, below are Nike Air Max trainers you can pick for a fraction of the price. You’ll even have change leftover. 

  • Nike Air Max 1
  • Nike Air Max 95
  • Nike Air Max 97

Less than £100 ($115)

  • Nike Dunk Low
  • Nike Blazer Low Jumbo
  • Nike Waffle One

Nike VaporMax Models List

  1. VaporMax 360 
  2. VaporMax 97
  3. VaporMax 95
  4. VaporMax 360
  5. VaporMax Plus
  6. VaporMax MOC
  7. VaporMax MOC 2
  8. VaporMax 2019
  9. VaporMax 2019 Utility
  10. VaporMax Gliese
  11. VaporMax FK2020
  12. VaporMax CPFM WMNS VM 2019
  13. VaporMax Light 2
  14. VaporMax 2021 FK

Nike VaporMax FAQs

Is it good to run in VaporMax?

No! Nike designed them runners but sadly wears have suggested they are unstable at times. Also, professional athletes hardly wear Vapormax to run, more of a lifestyle fashion sneaker. 

Can you work out in VaporMax?

You can work out in VaporMax. But there are better trainers that offer cushioning, stability, and ankle support in the Nike Air Zoom range. 

Can you return Nikes of the air bubble pops?

Yes, if the air bubble in your Nike shoes pops (material flaw) contact Nike or return them to authorised retailers. Within 60 days of purchase, you can return to Nike for a full refund. Longer than 60 days and less than two years since the manufacture date contact Nike.

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