This one’s for the frugal. Originally priced at just $90, you can grab these at even lower now. But is it a good performer? Will it last outdoors and turn out to be a great buy for cheap? Let’s find out everything there’s to know in my detailed 5-month Nike Air Max Impact review.
SHOW TABLE OF CONTENTS
Behind the review: tested by a 6’1 amateur player at ~175 lbs. Explosive two-guard, slasher to the rim. On the athletic side. Wide, thick-footed.
I. SPEC SHEET
Model: Nike Air Max Impact
Weight: 13.23 oz / 375 g. (size 10.5 US)
Retail Price: $90
Cushion: heel Air Max unit & foam midsole
II. FIT & COMFORT
I’ve been to a local retailer of mine a couple of days ago, so I had a chance to try these on before ordering online. The user feedback is true – the shoe does fit on the tighter side. Especially within the initial 1-2 weeks.
I’ve got wide & thick feet – a nightmare combo for a lot of today’s hoop shoes. I’ve gone up half a size and definitely made the right choice. There’s a little bit of room in the toebox height-wise but nothing crazy. Length-wise, things are perfect.
Width-wise, the shoe felt a bit suffocating for my midfoot at first but that’s due to my tall bone of the foot which also made it a chore to put the shoe on the first 1-2 weeks. After that, the materials stretched out a little and these fit just fine now.
No heel slippage, no side-to-side movements inside the footbed, no issues. All good there.
So for regular/narrow footers – I think you’ll get away with your usual size, though expect a snug, near one-to-one fit. If you’re a wide footer or prefer some room, going up half a size will do the trick.
Comfort-wise, the Air Max Impact feels, well, fine. There’s no reason to expect anything luxurious for this price but I have no major complaints. The fit’s fine, there’s some subtle padding around the ankle, and despite the cheap materials, they still sat nicely with my feet after some time.
I did have a few minor issues though.
The tongue is on the thinner side and while it is padded with foam (just a bit), yanking the laces down to a maximum always results in slight pain as the sharp curvature of this tongue digs into the lower portion of my shins.
I never needed to crank the laces down like that though on a real scenario on-court, so I’m fine. Those who perhaps found the fit a little too roomy and really want that lockdown might need to deal with this issue.
And of course, people with more forgiving foot shapes than mine might not experience it the same way as I did but I think the tongue is just a tad bit too thin for the job when pressure is applied. Nowhere near the disaster the LeBron 18’s tongue is but still could be improved.
In addition to that, let me just say that a shoe can be on the average or even the heavier side in terms of weight but a well-built shoe can often feel much lighter than it actually is on paper.
The Air Max Impact felt heavier than it actually is for me. It was never absurd or anything like that but it was always kinda there. You know that feeling when you put a good shoe on, start playing and completely forget you’ve got a pair of ’em on? Well not really the case for this one.
I think another thing to blame for that is the platform. While the forefoot portion can flex to a degree upon a torsional bend, the midfoot and heel portions literally can’t be budged.
That would’ve been fine in some cases but here, my heel actually sits higher than the rest of the foot despite the platform looking flat from an outside view. So, flat sole, elevated heel, minimal flex. This resulted in choppy step transitions for me.
Put on a pair of Curry 8’s and you could immediately feel the difference in how smooth each heel-to-toe stride feels.
Still though, it’s nothing deal-breaking. I was coming off the adidas Harden Vol. 5, so pretty much any step transition is an improvement from that weird a** shoe. Just keep in mind that the Air Max Impact felt more like a light tank rather than a formula.
A classic herringbone pattern is all over the outsoles of the Air Max impact. But surprisingly, it grips the floor fairly well. No deadly bite here, none of that. Just solid grip that took care of movements so I have no real complaints here either.
This tacky rubber definitely catches quite a lot of dust & debris if you’re playing on an iffy surface, and it does reflect on the traction at times. I never slid out to a major level but could feel a slight delay on a slippery spot on the ground or when forgetting to wipe ’em down after some dust accumulation.
Despite all of that, most guys will play just fine in these. I don’t know how these perform indoors but seeing a few reviews – the reported results are pretty much in line with my outdoor experience.
Just wipe these down when you can and you’ll be a-okay.
Nikey’s budget models usually go in-hand with better-than-average durability for outdoors, and this includes the outsoles. The rubber used here isn’t the strongest I’ve ever seen but it should definitely have you covered for a few seasons. Even on the tough blacktop.
I’ve played on concrete and on a rubber surface for just over 5 months. Didn’t play every day but it was enough to see that the rubber used here is resilient. Not a single major scratch in the grooves. Just some leftover nastiness inside the pattern.
We’ve got a decent setup for cushion – a large Air Max unit in the heel along with a standard foam midsole (likely Phylon). But hey, these are $90, so don’t expect clouds underfoot. The Air Max unit is heavily caged in TPU and the foam midsole isn’t your grade-A plush stuff.
However, the ride still felt decent. Especially for the money.
I consider myself to be a good athlete – I play with a lot of explosiveness, quickness, and grit while slashing to the rim.
I’m not a heavy guy by any means but the volume of jumps, cuts, and drives each session can definitely take a toll on the body if the shoes aren’t absorbing impact as they should. Particularly on an outdoor surface.
The Air Max Impact did its job fairly well: good impact protection in the heel but this is definitely not a soft, plush unit. There’s a tad bit of bounce upon a harder jump/land but it’s mainly here to deliver performance, not leave you in awe comfort-wise.
You’ll need some good ol’ Zoom Air for that. And a bit more cash.
And don’t forget that Air Max needs a bit more time to soften up and do its job at an optimal level. Give these a week or two before fully judging the cushion.
The forefoot portion offers nothing except responsiveness and court feel. The Phylon midsole used here is pretty stubborn but these kinds of setups can last a long time since they don’t bottom out as fast.
The end result is, once again, decent. As I’ve mentioned, I’m not a huge fan of the unnatural elevation in the heel and a flat slope down to the front. This made the heel-to-toe strides feel just acceptable rather than smooth and it could even make certain guys feel slower than they actually are.
I didn’t personally feel that way but someone who’s even lighter, quicker, and shiftier than me might. Something to keep in mind.
All in all, not an other-worldly setup by any means but you definitely get what you pay for here. A ride that should complement most players/positions is a good one in my book. Just don’t be expecting crazy bounce or pillows under your feet.
All-around security is where the Nikey Air Max Impact did the best job. Despite the cheap materials, everything else just works.
Of course, it all begins with a proper fit and this one’s a pass – no extra room to be found if you get the size right (which shouldn’t be hard here). The platform of the shoe is flat and while there’s no hardcore outrigger to catch ankle rolls, the protrusion of the outsole in the forefoot portion was enough.
There’s also a MASSIVE external heel counter that cups the heel very nicely. The lacing system is traditional but with a twist that’s the real MVP of this shoe’s lockdown. Nikey calls this “4 fingers of lockdown”.
It’s basically a synthetic piece that’s on top of the upper which is being pulled down once you crank up the laces. 2 bands on each side connect the laces with the synthetic piece and the result is lockdown for days.
Foot containment was also fine – I never rolled out of the footbed and the same piece helped hold the build together.
I feel like everything else could’ve been scrapped and this piece would’ve still been enough to strap you in for a secure ride. There were also no restrictions, pinching or any other issues – just good lockdown.
Definitely the shoe’s strongest point in my opinion.
VI. MATERIALS & BUILD
The upper is your standard 90-dollar stuff: lightweight mesh is all throughout the build, while the white piece is synthetic leather. The tongue is a textile that is slightly padded with foam. The lining inside the ankle area is nice and smooth. The heel area has a synthetic finish to it.
While I’ve played in uppers that are more comfortable and feel even nicer to the foot while having better properties to wrap around it, the experience the Air Max Impact offered was solid.
The strong suits of such a build are minimal break-in time, no added bulk or weight to keep you secure, and decent ventilation. The downsides would be the amount of structure it provides and of course, the lack of “premium” on the build.
Not everyone will need more structure than what’s found here but big, explosive dudes that are freight trains running to the rim would likely need something a bit beefier. For the rest of us though, I don’t think you’ll have a problem here. I didn’t.
What about durability? 5 months in and I’ve yet to come across a major issue. Nothing’s breaking down on me besides some cosmetic damage. The heel portion is scratched up, the logos on the tongue are pretty faded and the mesh on the toebox area looks a bit weary.
But that’s about it – and none of it affected how I played so I say we’re good. I expect these to last a few good seasons, even outdoors.
If you can get past the fact that the shoe feels cheap to the touch and doesn’t offer any premium components such as genuine, raw materials, or a smooth knit, you’ll be fine as there’s really nothing wrong with the upper. It’s not bubbling on me as some cheaper shoes tend to do, nor does it feel cheap when my foot’s in there.
The Nike Air Max Impact is yet another basketball shoe from Nikey’s massive collection that offers players just the things they need on the court without paying top dollar.
If you want a luxury pair of hoop kicks, you’ll need to look elsewhere but considering the prices, these are sitting at right now, this can be a fantastic pickup for those who can’t afford to spend $140+ on a sneaker.
The shoe offers a snug, near one-to-one fit while going TTS. For wide footers – most of you will need to step up 1/2 size. Traction’s fine (nothing crazy) and will last a while outdoors. Cushion’s fine too – nothing special in terms of the way it feels but performance-wise, it took care of me no matter how long the session was.
Security is the shoe’s toughest area, as it provided stellar lockdown without feeling overly restrictive or clunky. And if you can look past the cheap material choices and decent build quality – they simply get the job done when it’s time to play.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?
I’m stoked you’ve made it all the way to the end! I hope you found the review informative! For more budget-friendly options like this one, check out my shoe lists below.
And as always, I’m super curious to hear your thoughts on it. Have you tried the shoe yourself? What’s your take? Do you have a question I haven’t answered in the review?
Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as quickly as I can!
VIII. THE VERDICT
Nike Air Max Impact$90
Fit & Comfort7.0/10
Value for the Price7.5/10
- True to size for a snug fit
- If you prefer more room or you're a wide footer - go up 1/2 size
- Pulling the laces down to a maximum can result in the tongue digging into your shins
- Give these 1-3 weeks before fully judging the fit and cushion
- Positions 1-4
- Players not relying on shifty moves
- Those who prefer a flat ride