Performance Review: Nike Air Max Wavy

Performance Review: Nike Air Max Wavy

words_Nick Engvall
images_Zac Dubasik

Nike Air Max Wavy – More Solid Than Its Name Suggests

Sometimes playing in a wide range of basketball shoes can skew my view on what a good shoe is. After all, the promises of a shoe that is priced at $160 is going to have a more to live up to than lower priced models, no matter how much I’d like to convince myself otherwise. With that in mind, in theory the Nike Air Max Wavy should be half of what a shoe like the LeBron VII is considering the retail price of $80. Then again, last year we saw one of the top performing shoes of the year come from this price point in the Nike Zoom KD2 Performance Review.

Nike Air Max Wavy Performance ReviewAside from my own personal distaste for the style of the Air Max Wavy, it over-performed in many more areas than I would have ever anticipated.

From the very first time I put them on, the Air Max Wavy was and remains to be a comfortable fitting shoe. Considering the price point, many would expect materials to be too stiff at first glance but I’d say that misconception was erased the first time I played in the Air Max Wavy. The fit and feel definitely surprised me.

The standout for the Air Max Wavy is the ankle support and stability. It is solid. I would credit this to a few things that I feel really work well together in the design of the shoe. First thing I feel deserves credit for creating this stability is the overall ankle height and the depth at which your heel will sit in the shoe. Your heel will be sitting lower in the shoe than it actually appears. This combined with Achilles support cushion on the back of the ankle area and the wide lace stays which are a part of the quick lace system that is a descendant of the Jordan shoes and Penny shoes of the past, holds everything firmly in place with no worries. In addition the outriggers on the lateral sides of the sole probably help, though I can’t speak to if the “basketball-esque” design of them serves any function.

Of course, one thing that helps with the stability but also comes as a downside is the weight of the Air Max Wavy. It stands in the middle of the road in my opinion when it comes to weight. Which leads me into a couple of areas which leave more to be desired from the Air Max Wavy.

The Max Air in the heel is responsible for cushioning. It doesn’t do a spectacular job, but it is by all means sufficient. The issue I had with the cushioning is in the forefoot. The phylon in the mid and forefoot areas combined with the heavier rubber outsole makes for “slap” that is better suited for your car than it is for your footwear. With that said, the extra weight from the Foamposite-like material and rubber outsole makes heel-to-toe transition lacking in some ways. Depending on how you play, it may or may not work for you. If you land on the balls of your feet it might not be sufficient cushioning, and if you land on your heels, you may feel that it’s on the sloppy or slower side. This makes me want to suggest the Air Max Wavy for someone playing in the 3 or 4 spot over a quick moving guard.

Another area that could use some improvement is the cooling department. I found the Air Max Wavy to be hot. Although the tongue is comprised of mesh it doesn’t compensate for the lack of breathability caused by the material choices. The medial side features perforations but I didn’t find them to be very functional and it just seemed warm compared to other shoes.

Overall the Air Max Wavy when looked at as an $80 basketball shoe is a great value. It might not land on the lists of desire when it comes to sneakerheads and cool factor but it boasts some ties to the late nineties in its design and functionality that you can’t disregard. For me, as it is on the more durable side thanks to the more substantial rubber outsole, it’s a shoe that I’ll grab to play in outdoors more often than indoors.

Available now: Nike Air Max Wavy

Nike Air Max Wavy Performance ReviewNike Air Max Wavy Performance Review
Nike Air Max Wavy Performance Review
Nike Air Max Wavy Performance Reveiw


*Performance Review shoes provided by Eastbay*