Since there isn’t a proper breakdown on this Nikey’s lesser-known budget basketball line yet, let me present you a detailed Nike Air Max Impact 2 review. For the ones who aren’t looking to throw away a couple of hundred bucks for a pair of sneakers – this might be your jam at just $90 (or even lower)!
But is it really a good purchase? Is it versatile? What are the changes from the first shoe since they appear to be so similar? Let’s break it all down.
NOTE: make sure to check out my review of the first shoe to be better equipped with the differences between the two shoes and make an informed decision.
SHOW TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. SPEC SHEET
click for a full-sized sheet
THE AIR MAX IMPACT 2 IS AVAILABLE ON 🛒
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II. 1-MIN REVIEW 🕒
For those saving time: the Nike Air Max Impact 2 is barely different from the first Air Max Impact while applying a few small tweaks that still make the second shoe slighly superior in my experience.
The shoe offers a snug fit and while most people should stick with TTS, wide footers will be better off stepping a half size up.
Traction’s decent as long as you’ll wipe the outsoles down occassionaly and the rubber should last a while outdoors.
The heel Air Max unit + a basic EVA midsole means that the cushion won’t blow you away but will get the job done for the non-picky of hoopers.
Expect responsiveness, a tiny bit of compression in the heel but be aware of choppy and sometimes slow-feeling step transitions.
Security is the shoe’s strong point without overly restricting movements and despite a cheap mesh upper, I didn’t have any serious complaints performance-wise.
It’s a cheap shoe that delivers in the most critical aspects but if you like your shoes bouncy, mad comfy and deadly gripping the floor – something like the LeBron 18 Low will surely deliver more uumph while achieving a similar feel.
> The full review is below
III. FIT & COMFORT
Do they fit true to size or should you alter? How comfortable are they? Any additional notes?
The fit is extremely similar to the Air Max Impact 1. Since they’re both based on the same build and tooling, you can expect a very familiar experience if you’ve hooped in the first one.
The second shoe started off a little suffocating width-wise but that’s mainly due to my wide feet. There’s a tad bit of extra room height-wise at the toebox area but I personally found that welcoming since I’ve got thick feet. Thick AND wide?
Correct. Couldn’t really ask for anything worse.
In terms of length, all good there – just like the first shoe. About 0.4-0.5 inches of space for my toes. No annoying toe bumps or anything like that.
So, those that are in the same boat as I am (wiiide feet) will need to go up half a size from your regular option. I personally did that and things normalized within 1-2 weeks.
Those that are luckier (regular/narrow footers) can go true to size for a snug fit. You might need a few sessions for the build to adjust to your feet but definitely not as long as I needed.
Weirdly enough, I had some initial heel slippage but that didn’t last very long. Cranking the laces up a bit more than I usually would + giving the shoe some time to adjust helped and the issue went away.
If it doesn’t for you – refer to my heel slippage guide!
Let’s talk comfort. I’m sure you know it’s not worth expecting something spectacular when it comes to a budget shoe from Nike but the Air Max Impact 2 wasn’t terrible in that regard. Super similar to the first one with some minor tweaks.
I noted that the first shoe kinda felt heavier than it actually is which is quite rare in today’s basketball sneakers. The Air Max Impact 2 has a slight improvement here as I’d immediately feel a little bit lighter on my feet after taking the first shoe off and putting the second one on.
Another improvement is the tongue. Even though it’s still fairly thin and cheap, I didn’t experience any digging into my shins as I did with the first model. Not sure the exact reasoning behind it but it’s an improvement in my book.
Let’s touch on the platform since I covered it in the review of the first Air Max Impact.
This is the area that still disappoints me the most as it’s probably the one thing that kept the shoe from providing a seamless, distraction-free experience for me.
It’s one thing to have a flat platform that can help with stability but when there’s really no torsional flex ANYWHERE besides one flex point in the forefoot AND my heel actually sits elevated inside the shoe – this results in some slappy stepping motions.
I’m not saying these are unplayable because of it but stack it against most modern basketball shoes and you’d feel the difference.
Feeling slower than you actually are isn’t a good thing and even though I can’t say I felt dramatically clunkier, someone who’s even lighter and shiftier than me definitely can.
Does it grip various surfaces well? Is debris a factor? How long will these last outside?
The exact same traction pattern and rubber is used for the second Air Max Impact and it plays exactly the same.
A trusty herringbone outsole took care of multi-directional grip with no problem. Not deadly or top 10 level, just a good enough bite to have me covered and not think about it on-court.
However, I suspect it’s the rubber compound that results in slight delays or slips on dirtier/slippery spots on the surface.
My nearest outdoor court has a couple of spots that have torn rubber and nasty debris inside there, so stepping on those sometimes resulted in a slip. Everywhere else it was fine with an occasional delay on a stop here and there.
Nothing to write home though about since a quick wipe of the outsoles gets the job done and I’m back at 100%.
I did play outdoors only but you can expect potentially similar performance indoors. Not a lot of feedback on these online, so it’s tough for me to say if they’ll perform well on the hardwood. As soon as I regain access to my local gym and start playing indoors – I’ll update you!
So all in all – decent traction, nothing crazy. Just be aware that dust is a factor for this one and playing on a weary court for a long time does result in slight delays/slippage at times. You’ll have some occasional wiping to do.
Nikey’s budget basketball shoe lines are the ones to go for when looking for a reliable outdoor model that won’t break the bank. The Air Max Impact 2 is yet another of those.
I’m about three months in and couldn’t even pinpoint a single major sign of wear throughout both of the outsoles. And on top of that, I also take care of my outsoles regularly which always helps maintain good traction & prolong the rubber.
And if you really want to ensure you’ve got a variant that will grip the floor the best & last longer – grab the white colorway which features gum-colored outsoles. This is anecdotal evidence though, as it really depends on the brand’s quality control, the actual rubber compound used, etc.
Still though, if you’re feeling picky – that one’s the safe bet.
You can expect excellent mileage out of the traction regardless of your colorway, even for multiple seasons. Just like the first shoe.
How’s the shock absorption? Step comfort? Bounce? Is the cushion stable?
The exact same cushion setup returns from the first shoe.
A Max Air unit in the heel that’s pretty heavily caged up in TPU as well as a foam midsole. Probably Phylon but Nikey didn’t specify it.
The heel unit is definitely nothing special but I never expected awesomeness here. It’s a $90 model – give it a break. Still though, good impact protection for most players, a tad bit of foam rebound upon a harder land/jump but once again, nothing to write home about.
Also remember that Max Air needs some time before it feels the way it was intended. Somewhere around a week was enough to soften it up and the end result was pretty good.
The ride is all about responsiveness in the forefoot & midfoot. I think the midsole used feels a bit nicer than last year’s model but still not your grade-a bouncy stuff or something like Cushlon.
The overall ride is decent but not without its caveats in my opinion. I just don’t get the idea behind the way the platform is set up. It’s flat externally but my heel is elevated inside the shoe, while from there, there’s a downward slope towards the front.
This probably would’ve been fine on its own but pair that with the lack of any real flex torsionally + mediocre cushion and each step feels, well, meh.
Even an adidas D Rose 11 had a completely flat base but the way it was handled was better.
While here, I’d feel the weight of each step almost. Each heel-to-toe stride feels like it could be slightly faster than it is right now, plus the slappy motions. Not a deal-breaking setup but definitely not my cup of tea.
How much security does it offer? What about lockdown and stability? Any restrictions?
Just like last year’s Air Max Impact, all-around security is where the shoe makes its money.
We’ve got a strong external heel counter for ankle & heel lockdown, a flat platform for stability, the forefoot portions of the shoe slightly protrude acting as outriggers for lateral protection, and lockdown via straps makes a return from last year’s model.
The whole strap system is changed up a bit now though.
This time, one strap in the heel and one in the midfoot go through the laces and pull down the upper once you crank up the laces as opposed to a single large piece doing the job. The idea is the same as last year’s but executed in a more lightweight fashion, which I like.
I could definitely feel my heel being pushed back in a secure manner once I pulled down on the laces and while the midfoot strap barely did anything, the end result was still great. Lockdown for days.
The heel counter is toned down a bit which reduced clunkiness in that area but just a tad bit. Barely felt a difference there.
Overall, support is kick-ass in the Air Max Impact 2. Stellar lockdown that didn’t overly restrict my foot, no containment issues, no B.S.
VII. THE BUILD
What are the material choices? How well do they perform on-court? How’s the reliability of the build?
Lightweight mesh returns to dominate the build but there are some changes to the build. The synthetic leather piece was scrapped entirely which helped shed a bit of weight.
The straps are your standard elastic stuff, while the piece that’s stitched around the Swoosh and the back is a synthetic finish. There’s very little foam padding around the ankle & tongue just like the previous shoe but I didn’t find that as an issue.
Lastly, the front portion is reinforced with Fuse for durability.
The lacing system is nothing we haven’t seen before and the shoe’s construction is a standard lace-and-tongue build. Putting the shoe on is hard enough for me, I don’t know what would’ve happened if this was a bootie upper.
So as you can probably guess, this build really isn’t anything special. The materials feel fairly cheap to the touch, have decent stitch work, and acceptable overall build quality.
However, I’ve had no issues you’d commonly see on cheaper builds like bubbling, pinch spots, or areas that result in excessive wear rates. It’s a pretty “plasticy” upper and this is definitely not the soft, premium mesh you’d get on a more expensive sneaker but it still works.
90 dollars or not, there are some strong suits to the build. It barely requires any time to break it in, it’s light, simple, and easy to take care of.
While I never recommend throwing any pair of sneakers in the washing machine, you can get away with some shoes and both Air Max Impact shoes are in that club.
The main downsides would be, of course, mainly the lack of any premium components such as genuine leather or a high-quality knit that wraps around your foot like crazy. In addition, there’s not a lot of structure to this upper which has two sides of the coin.
If you’re a heavy dude that runs into the lane like LeBron, you’d likely need something stronger. But if you’re like me or don’t utilize an athletic or shifty playstyle, chances are you won’t ever feel a need for more.
How about longevity? It’s fine.
Just like the first shoe, I’ve only got a couple of cosmetic signs of wear & tear such as fading logos on the tongues, slightly banged up mesh in the forefoot where toe-drags happen, and a couple of the lace aglets got wrecked.
Pretty unsurprising for a cheaper shoe that cut costs on certain areas like the laces. I don’t see a reason why these would break down on you any time soon, even after a full season.
It’ll depend on your mileage of course and you can expect some cosmetic damage but not much else.
Who’s best suited for the shoe? Is it a good deal amongst the competition? What are the alternatives?
The Nike Air Max Impact 2 is another budget entry to the Swoosh’s lineup that didn’t bring in anything new, nor did it tarnish the name of the first shoe in the series.
It’s basic but it’s cost-effective. It’s cheap but it gets the job done. You get the idea.
The Air Max Impact 2 fits snug, so most wide footers should go up half a size, while regular/narrow footers should be fine with TTS. Expect a snug fit though.
Traction’s fine – just as last year’s shoe. Good for long-term outdoor play too.
Cushion is mediocre and while it gets the job done in terms of performance, it’s nothing to write home about in terms of feel. I didn’t really like the choppy step transitions either but it wasn’t unplayable.
Support is great without over-encumbering you, and while the build isn’t premium, I didn’t personally have any major complaints about it performance-wise.
IX. ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS
Here are some additional shoes that could potentially be better for you
Should you get this one over the first shoe? Well, the only clear differences I’ve noticed from last year’s model are:
- The tongue no longer digs into my shins
- I guess the foam midsole used is a tad bit plusher
- Slight weight reduction
- The heel was a tad bit less clunky
Those are really not huge differences on-court. If you believe these are worth an upgrade – go for it! If you don’t have either of the shoes yet, I don’t think there’s any reason to get the first one.
With that being said, if you’re only able to get the first shoe, you won’t be losing much either.
Or, if you can afford to spend more on a pair but looking for similar qualities to the Air Max Impact 2, except more refined and improved, I think you’ll like the LeBron 18 Low.
A much bigger chunk of Max Air is used there, similarly strong and well-structured support and versatile performance that should accommodate most players’ needs.
BEST DEALS OF THE AIR MAX IMPACT 2 🛒
LOOKING FOR MORE BUDGET OPTIONS?
There are plenty at your fingertips!
That wraps up the Nike Air Max Impact 2 review! I truly hope you’ve got something useful from it, as there’s really not a lot of information about this shoe. A potential bang for your buck for some!
With that being said, I have plenty more for ya if you’re looking to squeeze every ounce of performance per dollar. There’s A LOT of great basketball shoes that don’t cost a fortune. You just have to know what to look for.
Luckily, I’ve done that for you.
Check out some of the budget guides & lists below!
As usual, I’m hyped to hear your thoughts on the Air Max Impact 2 since barely anyone’s talking about it. Have you tried ’em? Which of the two do you like more? Perhaps you’ve got a question I haven’t answered yet?
Drop a comment below!
X. NIKE AIR MAX IMPACT 2 REVIEW: THE VERDICT
My personal ratings, takeaways, and notes
Nike Air Max Impact 2$90
Fit & Comfort7.0/10
Value for the Price7.5/10
- True to size for a snug fit
- Wide footers or those preferring a roomier fit: 1/2 size up
- 1-2 weeks to fully break in the upper & cushion
- Feels near-identical to the first shoe
- Positions 1-4
- Players not relying on athleticism & shifty moves
- Those preferring a flat ride