Nike Air Max 90 Leather

The Nike Air Max 90 Leather is a high-quality running and fashion shoe that is designed with the true Nike enthusiast in mind. This shoe harkens back to the original Nike Air-Sole. The first Air-Sole was sold in 1978, and it wasn’t until 1987 that Nike updated the style to make the Air-Max cushioning visible. This shoe has a retro look and feel that runners will love. Although this shoe can be used as a high quality, every day running companion, many wearers loved it purely as a fashion accessory. The colors offered in the Leather addition are limited, but for an additional price, runners can design their own signature color and style option on Nike's website. This is a bulkier shoe with a plush bouncy cushioning that isn’t ideal for the runner who is looking for a minimalist look or feel. Even though this shoe is a style icon, the price is surprisingly reasonable. There is no reason to not add the Air Max 90 Leather to your road running collection.

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Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons

Durable rubber

Added Traction

Extremely comfortable with the added cushioning

Leather provides durability and protection

Vintage 90’s style with a modern flair

Great value for the price


Not very breathable

Slightly heavy

Not very flexible

Key Features
The outsole of the Nike Air Max 90 Leather utilizes a unique waffle pattern to provide added traction. Runners reported feeling secure regardless of the weather conditions. The material used in this design is a durable rubber that stands up against excessive use, making this shoe an overall great value. The outsole is designed to provide a sturdy base for a runner who is logging long miles or for someone who is walking around New York City all night.
Nike is known for making shoes that are as functional as they are fashionable. This shoe uses an old-school midsole foam to go along with its vintage look. The key features of this shoe is the Air Sole Cushioning found in the midsole. This shoe comes with a heavy duty foam midsole that makes this a plush and comfortable midsole. This midsole provides the runner added protection by absorbing the shock of each footfall. Although this Air-cushioning unit is smaller than the original design of the 90’s, it is still plush and bulky and helps to keep runners stable and secure during their workouts or night outs.
The unique feature of the Air Max 90 is the leather upper. The Air Max 90 comes in a variety of colors, materials, and styles, but only the Leather version has a leather upper. Although this material is leather, it is lightweight and runners reported that although the shoe is very stylish, it still manages to be breathable and keep the foot comfortable. In addition to the patented leather upper, there are also mesh overlays that lace the top of the shoe to help hold the foot in place and support the runner through their workouts. This upper also comes with a padded collar and tongue for added comfort and an overall reduction in friction.
This shoe has a solid feel to it. Runners appreciated the cushioned base that provided more comfort and protection, but also adds a little more weight to the shoe. In addition to this, the leather upper adds a few ounces too. This shoe is not a heavy shoe by any means, but it lacks that feather-light feel of some other popular Nike road running shoes on the market today.
While the leather upper offers a unique and stylish look to the Nike Air 90, it isn’t exactly the most breathable material. While Nike tries to increase the breathability by adding in ventilation holes along the upper, by nature, leather is not a breathable material, so runners should expect that this shoe will not offer the same airy feel as a shoe with a mesh upper. This makes this shoe a poor choice for running in extremely warm conditions.
Runners rave about the overall comfort that the Nike Air 90 Leather provides. This is a great shoe for runners who like a more plush and cushioned midsole. The Air Cushioning is famous for not only its cool and stylish look but its overall cushioning and comfort. This material increases the comfort of the ride by absorbing the shock of each footfall and providing a plush base for the runner’s foot. This shoes also utilizes Dura mesh in the midsole to conform to the shape of the foot, creating a customizable fit for the runner. The tongue and the collar of the shoe are also padded to provide more comfort for the runner by reducing the risk of friction and irritation.
Many runners will buy this shoe just for its retro, stylish look. The shoe is offered in classic white or black, but for an extra cost, runners have the option of designing their own, one of a kind, design. The leather upper gives the shoe a fashionable, retro look. The Air Max tab can be found on both the lateral and medial side. Runners also liked how the Nike logo can be found on the heel tab of the shoe. This is a throwback detail that gives the shoe a vintage look.
The leather upper isn’t only for style, it is also to add durability to the shoe. This leather upper is practically puncture-proof and helps the shoe maintain a newer look for much longer than a mesh upper would. Additionally, the rubber outsole provides lasting protection against the elements of the road. These high-quality materials help this shoe maintain a new look and help the shoe last for miles and miles without needing to be replaced.
In terms of protection, a key feature is the Air Max cushioning. This visible air bubble works to absorb the harmful shock of each foot fall. While many runners will purchase this shoe for its stylish look, it is also a great choice for runners who are injury prone. The shock absorbing feature eases the pressure on the joints and helps to reduce the rate of injury. However, the shoe does not come with any reflective details to help keep runners safe during their evening runs, so that is something that should be taken into consideration.
Since this shoe has a thicker midsole and outsole, it is not known for a high level of responsiveness. This shoe is suggested for high mileage, but not speed drills or other dynamic cross-training activities that require a lot of quick paced, changes in direction or speed.
Runners were pleased with the high level of support that the Nike Air 90 Leather provides. For starters, the leather upper provides a snug fit to runners that helps to keep the foot locked in place. Additionally, the upper utilizes a traditional lacing system that allows runners to create a fit that is customized to their unique needs. The Air Cushioning midsole helps to keep the foot in place and the plush cushioning rises up to provide moderate arch support for runners.
This shoe is suggested for road running. Since this shoe is a style icon among shoe collectors, many runners will purchase this shoe solely as a fashion accessory to be worn while out with friends. Either way, it is best to keep this shoe reserved for urban adventures and choose a different shoe for messy off road running or hiking.
Runners were surprised with how affordable this shoe is, especially since this is an iconic shoe for Nike shoe collectors. The standard styles that are offered are a classic white or black option, but for an added cost, runners have the option to design their own shoe. This, of course, will greatly increase the overall price of the shoe, but it worth it to the shoe enthusiast who wants a one of a kind design.
This shoe is not designed to tackle off road terrains, and for that reason, it is not designed to provide a high level of traction to the runner. It comes with a waffle design in the outsole which helps the runner stay upright, but overall, it lacks the lug system needed for off-road running. It is made with a high-quality rubber that provides a standard amount of traction for the average road running shoe.

The Nike Air Max 90 Leather has a more stable and supportive feel than a flexible, free-flowing feel. For starters, the leather upper is much less flexible than a mesh upper would be. The leather provides a snug fit that is more supportive than flexible. The Air Cushioning provides a high level of comfort, but the visible air bubbles that absorb the shock from each footfall don’t provide that flexible feel that some runners are looking for. This is not the shoe for the runner looking for a minimalist, natural feel.
Although this shoe is marketed as a neutral running shoe, runners found that the overly cushioned and supportive midsole provided moderate assistance to the runner struggling with pronation issues. While this shoe doesn’t provide specific technology to address the issue of pronation, the thicker midsole and the supportive upper help to keep the foot in place and reduce the chances of the foot rolling inward during the gait cycle.
This shoe features a traditional heel drop. The higher heel drop helps to provides forward propulsion to runners during their gait cycle. It is also a more cushioned shoe and the air max cushion raises the heel higher than the forefoot at a considerable height. This is not a shoe for the runner who is looking for a zero drop racing shoe or a minimalist fit or feel.
Key Features
- Retro style
- Nike logo located on the heel tab
- Air Max tab found on both the lateral and medial sides of the shoe
- Reasonably priced for a collector shoe
- Nike Air Max cushioning that is visible in the heel
- Rubber outsole
- Vintage leather upper
- Dura-mesh midsole foam
- Waffle pattern in the outsole
Bottom Line
The Nike Air Max 90 Leather is a shoe for the Nike enthusiast in every way. This is a high quality athletic shoe that is designed to take runners through long runs and workouts. It is also a preferred choice for the sneaker collector who is looking to add a retro look to their collection. The leather upper sets this shoe apart from the other shoes in the Air Max line in both their fit and feel and in their super stylish look. The shoe comes in either the classic white or black option, but for an added price, this shoe can be designed to fit the unique aesthetic of each runner. This shoe is perfect for the runner who needs more support and prefers a firm cushioning over a flexible, minimalist fit. Although this shoe is a collector’s item and is perfect for the hardcore Nike collector, the price point is surprisingly reasonable. The shoe comes with a traditional heel drop and a weight that is slightly higher than some other traditional road running shoes on the market today.
Where to Buy
By Stacey O'Connor
Last updated:
Where to buy
Best offer on: Jul. 27. 2021

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