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Air max dn in hand

Nike Air Max Dn Review: The Future of Nike Air?

I bought the Nike Air Max Dn ($230 AUD) to see if this really is the turning point for Nike footwear innovation. For this article, I’ll be answering your burning questions: How comfy are the Dn’s? How do they compare to other Air Maxes? Do they signal a significant innovation shift? But first, let’s talk about how we got here.

With a stale line-up of retros and runners, Nike has made it clear that they want us to feel like we’re “walking on air” again, and they’re doing so with the release of the Nike Air Max Dn for Air Max Day on the 26th of March, 2024. This is the first in a long line of new silhouettes that will join the brand’s line-up over the next few years as they strategically target innovation after a slower financial year that resulted in job cuts for 2% of the workforce in February, 2024.

Competition is also increasing, as noted by Nike CEO John Donahoe. “While interest in sport, health, wellness and comfort has never been stronger, we are in a highly competitive industry where speed and end-to-end execution is critical to win,” he said in an e-mail to the company. “To compete, we must edit, shift and divest less critical work to create greater focus and capacity for what matters most.”

What the brand landed on was this, the Nike Air Max Dn. The new silhouette debuts ‘Dynamic Air’ in a new dual-chamber, four-tubed Nike Air unit that the brand says is “designed for unreal comfort, a smooth stride and max bounce.” Let’s see if they’re on to something or if this is another Nike Adapt BB.

RELATED: These are the best Nike Air Max 90s of all time, according to us.

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Nike Air Max Dn | Image: Ben McKimm

So What’s the Deal With This Massive Air Unit?

It’s a proper mullet design, courtesy of a new dual-chamber, four-tubed Nike Air unit party in the back. There are two pressurized chambers, each with two tubes. The back two tubes are specifically tuned with higher pressure (15 psi) while the front has a lower pressure (5 psi) for a natural transition between the heel and forefoot. “We call it ‘dynamic motion,'” said Reggie Hunter, Product Director for Nike Lifestyle Footwear.

“The independent setup of the chambers means that the air unit can respond to the load of your body with each step. The feeling of heel-to-toe movement is seamless because the air unit is interacting in real time with your foot and moves with you.”

Is it comfortable? Well, I’ve been wearing the sneaker for a full day now and can confirm it’s exceptionally comfortable. The overall fit is like a modern Air Max 97, but I’d liken the comfort to an Air Max 1 ’86 ‘Big Bubble’ or Air Max 90 but with a real engineered transition between the heel and forefoot. You’re not getting the full-foot comfort of a Hoka Bondi 8 or New Balance Fresh Foam X More Trail v3. However, this is a lifestyle sneaker and it’s one of the comfiest I’ve put on my feet.

Under the skin, there’s a TPU shank arch clip that provides structure and support around the midfoot, while a TPU heel counter supports the Achilles. Finally, I wouldn’t be expecting excessive wear as the team used something called ‘Finite Element Analysis’ to digitally simulate a year’s worth of wear and tear on the shoe in just a few hours. It feels sturdy in hand and on foot.

The Design is… Interesting

I actually really like the way the sneaker looks both in hand and on foot. It’s unapologetic in its design, it’s not here to conform to a specific fashion moment in time *cough, cough* Zoom Vomero 5. Instead, it pushes the boundaries, asks questions, leads to curiosity, and disrupts and reimagines what Nike Air could look like in the future. It’s a bit (I can’t believe I’m going to say this), Cybertruck. At least, it is in the thought process.

“Ultimately, being disruptive enables you to create a new conversation,” said Reggie Hunter, Product Director for Nike Lifestyle Footwear. “Being disruptive also opens the door for curiosity. If a generation of people who love Air Max are shocked by the Dn, we know we’re doing something right. But the reason we made Dn is less about appealing to a specific demographic and more about designing a shoe that people want to pick up, interact with it, learn about it and wear. And wear. And wear.”

When I went in-store to purchase the shoe I had a choice between two colourways: ‘All Night’ (DV3337-008) or ‘Sail and Coconut Milk’ (DV3337-100). I ultimately chose the Dark Smoke colourway as I preferred the muted grey and anthracite tones that helped bring out the light crimson Air bubbles. There’s also a handful of other colourways releasing in full sizes for both men and women in the near future.

Nike air max dn in hand air unit
Nike Air Max Dn | Image: Ben McKimm

Is This the Future of Nike Air?

With them on my feet right now, the Nike Air Max Dn certainly feels like the future of Nike Air. They’re cool-looking, comfortable, and disruptive enough to garner questions from everyone in and outside the sneaker subculture. It’s looking like the sneaker that the brand so desperately needs, but only time and sales will determine if this technology is enough to attract attention from the mass market. I think it will.

Anecdotally, this is the first modern Nike release that has captured my attention (and my money) since Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge’s Nike Vaporfly sneakers were banned after becoming the first person to run a marathon distance in under two hours.

I’d also love to see this technology make its way into other lifestyle sneakers in the future, but for now, you can pick up a pair for yourself at the links below for $230 AUD.

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