Are Nike Vapormax Plus Good for Running?

The Nike Vapormax Plus is one of Nike’s most unique running shoes, featuring a bubble cushioning system that provides a springy, responsive feel. But are the Vapormax Plus actually good running shoes?

Here’s a detailed look at the key features and performance of the Nike Vapormax Plus to help you decide if they’re the right running shoe for you.

Cushioning & Comfort

The standout feature of the Vapormax Plus is the full-length bubble cushioning along the midsole. These air bubbles are designed to compress on impact and spring back into shape, providing a lightweight, well-cushioned feel. This gives the Vapormax Plus a distinctly bouncy, responsive stride.

The bubble cushioning system also enhances comfort and shock absorption. The air bubbles adapt to your foot strike and cushion impacts from heel to toe. Reviewers generally praise the Vapormax Plus as one of Nike’s most comfortable running shoes thanks to the plush bubble cushioning.

That said, some runners have noted the bubble sensation takes some getting used to. The bubbly bounce underfoot is dramatically different from the feel of traditional foam or gel cushioning systems. So test running the Vapormax Plus before longer runs is recommended.

The upper uses a flexible Flyknit material that molds comfortably around the foot for a sock-like fit. An external heel counter and midfoot bands provide stability. While not the most generously cushioned for recovery runs, the Vapormax Plus offers responsive comfort ideal for faster paced training.

Performance & Durability

In terms of running performance, testers give the Nike Vapormax Plus high marks for energy return, flexibility, and transition. The innovative bubble cushioning delivers an especially springy, propulsive toe-off motion.

The mobility of the full-length air bubbles enables smooth transitions through the gait cycle. The bubbles compress and rebound independently, allowing your foot to move naturally. Traction and grip are also excellent thanks to the segmented rubber outsole.

The Vapormax Plus holds up well for running with an average lifespan of 300 to 500 miles. The Flyknit upper maintains its flexible support over time. And while the bubbles can eventually lose some rebound, the cushioning remains functional beyond typical foam breakdown. The TPU layer encasing each bubble also enhances durability.

As a high-performance lightweight trainer, the Vapormax Plus works best for tempo runs, speed workouts, and racing from 5K to half marathon distances. The energetic, flexible cushioning gives runners an advantage when picking up the pace.


One of the advantages of Nike’s Vapormax cushioning technology is minimal weight. The men’s Vapormax Plus comes in around 9.5 oz, while the women’s model is approximately 7.5 oz.

This puts the Vapormax Plus in the lightweight performance trainer category, lighter than many classic daily trainers but not as feathery as racing flats. The lack of heavy foam materials helps keep the weight down.

So runners can enjoy responsive, nimble performance in the Vapormax Plus without dragging their feet. The lightweight build combined with the propulsive cushioning makes these great marathon and race day shoes.

Just be aware the minimalist Vapormax may not provide enough cushioning for recovery runs if you prefer more padded daily trainers.

Traction & Grip

Rubber outsoles with traction patterns are segmented to match the Vapormax air bubbles along the midsole. This configuration enables flexibility while still providing multi-surface traction.

Reviewers note the grip and traction of the Vapormax Plus perform well on roads, tracks, light trails, and treadmills. The segmented rubber also means you shouldn’t experience stiff or unresponsive areas underfoot.

However, the Vapormax Plus is not designed for aggressive trail running. The gaps between rubber lugs can let small rocks and debris get caught. And the thin outsole has only moderate protection against sharper objects.


The Nike Vapormax Plus is classified as a neutral running shoe, best suited for runners with medium to high arches who don’t need pronation control features.

While not specifically a stability shoe, the Vapormax Plus does provide some midfoot support from the Flywire cables integrated into the upper. This helps secure the foot over the bubble cushioning platform.

An external heel counter also helps lock down the rearfoot to prevent sliding. So while not made for overpronators, the Vapormax Plus can accommodate mild stability needs for neutral runners.

Those with very flat feet or who need maximum motion control would be better off in dedicated stability models from Nike or other brands. But the Vapormax Plus offers a reasonably secure, steady ride for neutral pronation.

Fit & Sizing

The Vapormax Plus runs true to size in most cases, based on Nike’s data averaging foot dimensions. But some runners note the stretchy Flyknit upper fits slightly small. Trying them on in-person is recommended if possible.

Nike offers the Vapormax Plus in the standard D medium width for men and B medium width for women. The stretch Flyknit material does adapt well to different foot volumes. However, wide footer runners may find the toe box tight.

As with all Nike shoes, it’s a good idea to compare the Vapormax Plus sizing to other models you currently run in. Sizing up a half or full size may be preferred if you like a roomier toe box.

For best fit, runners recommend lacing up snugly and wearing the Vapormax Plus for a few shorter runs to break-in. The Flyknit will adjust and molds closely to your foot shape over time.


  • Unique full-length Vapormax bubble cushioning for responsive feel
  • Lightweight, flexible performance ideal for faster paces
  • Excellent energy return for propulsion
  • Breathable, foot-hugging Flyknit upper


  • Takes time to adjust to bouncy bubble sensation
  • Limited pronation support features
  • Higher price point than traditional foam cushioned trainers

Similar Shoe Options

  • Nike Zoom Fly – A lightweight responsive racer/trainer with Zoom Air heel unit, lower cost
  • Brooks Launch – Traditional neutral cushioning shoe with BioMoGo DNA midsole
  • New Balance FuelCell Rebel – Soft, bouncy cushioning from FuelCell foam, similar energy
  • Saucony Kinvara – Lower drop racing flat with Everun foam, good for tempo runs


Are the Nike Vapormax Plus good for long distance running?

The lightweight, responsive cushioning makes the Vapormax a solid choice for marathon training and racing. Some runners may prefer more padding for recovery runs over 20 miles. But the energy return is excellent for race day.

Are the Vapormax Plus good for walking?

Yes, the flexible Vapormax cushioning and traction outsole also perform well for walking. The low-profile sole feels more natural for active walking than bulkier shoes.

Do the Vapormax Plus run small or large?

Most runners find the Vapormax Plus runs true to size but some report the Flyknit upper fits small initially before breaking in. Consider sizing up a half size if you prefer roomier toe boxes.

Can I use the Vapormax Plus for CrossFit or HIIT training?

The flexible cushioning and grip make the Vapormax a good option for varied functional training. The Flyknit upper also provides breathable support during high intensity intervals and lifting.

Are the Vapormax Plus good for overpronators?

No, as a neutral shoe the Vapormax Plus lacks stability features for pronation control. Severe overpronators would be better off in dedicated motion control running shoes.

In summary, the Nike Vapormax Plus is an excellent lightweight running shoe best suited for faster training paces and race day performance. The innovative Vapormax bubble cushioning delivers energetic, responsive propulsion with each stride. Just be prepared for a running sensation that’s delightfully bouncy compared to traditional foam shoes.

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