The Air VaporMax represents a new era in Nike innovation. "It's changed our whole philosophy on how we design for Air", says Cushioning Innovation Designer Zachary Elder. With the VaporMax, the designers wanted to truly capture the feeling of "running on air". The designers started by restructuring the Air unit so they could attach it directly to the upper. "That was the biggest challenge", says Tom Minami, Senior Footwear Designer—but it was worth it. "Without any midsole or sockliner, you get to feel the Air in a whole new way". In previous Air Max models, the goal was to fill the sole with as much Air as possible, but in the VaporMax, the focus is on using the Air efficiently. "As you step down, each lug gets pushed into the Air unit, ramping up the pressure", Elder explains. "As you step off, the pressure releases, creating that springy bounce". After the seven-year journey from ideation to release, Elder and Minami are excited for what's to come. "I'm super proud of the product", Elder says. "This new approach is going to be a huge turning point for Air—and for Nike". .