Can walking on air be perfected? Ever since Air cushioning first came into the play in 1979, Nike’s been on a mission to accomplish exactly that; a string of models have been revealed throughout the decades, each more evolved than its predecessor. Arguably one of the bigger leaps forward came with the Air Max Plus in 1998; Sean McDowell’s light-weight runner boasted the first-ever Tuned Air cushioning unit which featured higher PSI on the medial to prevent pronation, but paired with the high innovation was one of the most distinct sneaker designs of all-time.
The same principle of tuning an Air bag to fit specific needs of an athlete is evident in the all-new Air Max Dn, Nike’s latest proposition in the storied Air Max legacy. Noted for its four circular Air “bubbles” peeking out of the midsole, the Air Max Dn features two different PSI level in the unit tailored to the needs of the daily commuter who laughs at the 10k-steps-a-day benchmark.
Nike fans have been absolutely enamored by visible Air since its debut in 1987. The bigger and juicier the bubble, the better the shoe looked, and the indelible impression left behind by sneakers of the past is a large reason why Nike’s Retro business is so robust. Why 1998’s Air Max Plus has yet to fall out of the production cycle in over a quarter century is obvious; the shoes embody that perfect combination of innovation and style that Nike has had a knack for, particularly with Air Max running shoes.
The Air Max Plus family spawned several sequels, although none of them can really stand up to the original. The fifth Air Max Plus model, which arrived at retail in 2002, debuted a highly evolved version of Tuned Air, while visually it appeared like a row of small bubbles popping out of its sides.
Nike Air Max Plus V (2002)
In the same year, the Air Max flagship model of the year dubbed the Air Max 2002 featured a similar row of circular bubbles arranged in full-length format. This was the only time tubular Air units were utilized. In fact, there had been almost no reference to it since it came and went over two decades ago.
The early 2000s were a time when sneaker cushion technology was teetering on the line of gimmicky, despite how far Nike took its testing. Paired with the overly futuristic approach to the upper, the Air Max 2002 is one of the more forgotten chapters of the timeline, although it would be wildly fitting to see a re-issue in today’s market.
Nike Air Max 2002
The Air Max Dn isn’t exactly an extension of the Tuned line from the turn of the century, but the elements are obvious. From the stylized Dn logo to the mid-foot plate, the homage to the Air Max Plus is obvious enough to be a point of conversation and subtle enough where it doesn’t over-power.
The key is the new Air unit, which Nike calls Dynamic Air. The unit is comprised of four tubes — the rear two pressurized higher (15 psi) than the front two (a much softer 5 psi). In total, four tubes are arranged to create an immensely supportive heel-to-toe movement, encased in an injected phylon sole that sandwiches above and below the unit. Furthermore the air within can freely move around in the chambers (but not between the front two and back two); this movement allows for the Air unit to respond to pressure as you move.
Upon testing the shoe for roughly thirty minutes, the Air Max Dn delivers on its promise of comfort.
Nike Air Max Dn Air unit
As with all Air Max footwear, the design of the upper has to match the gusto of the Air Max unit. For the Dn, the design team opted for a futuristic look and feel, arriving at this super-sleek upper achieved via a silicone-like layer. The arrangement of the raised texture creates fluid patterns that allude to the easy movement of the foot.
Other can’t miss details include the lenticular finish on the tongue logo, the miniature Swoosh reminiscent of the ’98 Tuned model, and the external TPU heel counter. Another fun easter egg lives in the mid-foot; mens pairs will have a matte finish, whereas women’s pairs will have a glossy finish.
Nike Air Max Dn
Designated as the official launch colorways of the Air Max Dn are the “All Day” and “All Night” colorways (pictured below). Both speak to the hours-long comfort required by those who are on their feet marauding through the city or taking the scenic path home on foot. Both pairs are confirmed to launch during Air Max Week in 2024 with an MSRP of $170.
Several other colorways are also confirmed to release throughout 2024. They were on display during this official preview with Nike and will be revealed later this year before Air Max Day 2024. Additionally, the Air Max Dn will be a focal point in Nike Sportswear’s collaborative projects, so stay tuned for first looks very soon.
All Day (L) & All Night (R)
All Day (L) & All Night (R)
A final note: this is just the beginning of the Air Max Dn. While you can expect a wide variety of colorway options in 2024, Nike has plans to expand on the Air Max Dn unit, potentially extending the tubed Air cushion to the fore-foot.