Nike Air Max2 Light Review Facts
The original Nike Air Max2 Light was released in 1994 as a follow-up to the brand’s Air Max Light model. It quickly became more popular than its predecessor thanks to its lighter weight, geometric designs, and vibrant colorways. At the beginning of 2019, Nike decided to re-release this beloved running shoe without changing a thing about its design. As a result, buyers were given the same responsive cushioning and stylish running shoe that they had remembered. Its Max Air heel unit aids the full-length Phylon midsole in absorbing each impact and enhancing overall comfort. And, aside from being absolutely eye-catching, its upper’s use of mesh and synthetic leather provides plenty of structure and support.
Nike uses a simple rubber compound to cover the forefoot and heel units of the Air Max2 Light’s outsole, ensuring that its most high-wear areas stay intact for longer. The same triangular, geographic tread pattern as before covers the forefoot and half of the heel, as are the same horizontal bars along the back and sides. While this shoe was not designed for high-intensity running or rugged terrains, it’s still able to offer a decent grip on most everyday surfaces. And the space carved between its forefoot and heel also enables an easier and slightly flexible wear.
The Air Max2 Light’s full-length midsole unit is made from Nike’s Phylon
material, a compression-molded technology made from EVA foam pellets. While this is already incredibly lightweight and responsive on its own, it’s enhanced by the inclusion of its signature Max Air
heel unit. It relies on blow-molding and duel-pressure cushioning to further absorb the impact of each landing and ensure less overall pain and fatigue for the wearer. Aside from adding to the shoe's overall design, it also makes for a much more comfortable and stabilizing wear.
A basic mesh material serves as the main component for the Air Max2 Light’s upper, allowing a decent amount of breathability. Heavy synthetic leather overlays are cut into jagged patterns and placed over much of the shoe, with raised segments along the sides and heel. Not only does this give the shoe its signature look, but it also performs the dual task of maintaining its shape and keeping the foot supported. A suede toe bumper is set into place under the synthetic overlays for extra protection against accidental impact. The padded tongue and collar are still present, as is the traditional lacing system with flat laces
. There are also reflective bumps at the back for safer use in low-light environments.
There are no product listings or reviews that indicate just how much the Air Max2 Light weighs. According to sites such as Runner’s World and The Wired Runner, the average weight of a single running shoe is now around 9.5 oz. But given the materials of this particular model, and the fact that it’s a replica of a decades-old design, it’s more likely that this shoe would be closer to 11 oz. in weight. Regardless, most reviewers have found this shoe to be quite easy to move around in.
Given that half of its mesh material is exposed, especially along the forefoot and sides, the Air Max2 Light is able to give runners a decent amount of breathability. Since air is able to target hotspots where they occur most often, buyers feel noticeably cooler and more comfortable. It should be noted, however, that this shoe will not provide the same level of ventilation
as shoes with more minimal overlays or no overlays at all, so it may not be able to provide enough air flow for some buyers.
The thick, full-length Phylon midsole gives the Air Max2 Light plenty of comfortable
cushioning that also safeguards against impact. And the inclusion of the brand’s Max Air heel unit further ensures that they’ll be experiencing far less chronic pain and fatigue whenever they wear this model. Although its overlays are thick and cover half the upper, enough mesh material is still exposed to ensure plenty of breathability. And the shoe’s soft inner lining, along with the padded tongue and collar, add greatly to the wearer’s level of comfort. The only concern that some reviewers have is that it doesn’t always fit true to size.
The original Air Max2 Light was known for its unique, geometric design and vibrant colorways, so buyers are extremely happy that both of these remain unchanged. Its white synthetic leather overlays are cut into angular, geometric patterns, which better showcase the brightly colored
mesh material underneath. Although its color schemes aren't exactly as they were before, they are still strikingly similar to the original 1994 release and have been joined by some very eye-catching hues. This version's three most popular options are Blue Lagoon, University Gold, and Purple Berry, while all-over colors are also available in Spirit Teal and Grape. Although there is an all-black option for those who prefer neutral footwear, which can also function in work environments, very few retailers carry this particular version.
Most of the Air Max2 Light seems to hold up relatively well against constant wear. Its outsole’s high-wear areas are coated with a protective rubber compound, and the Phylon midsole is compression molded for sturdier support. The Max Air unit in its heel is also designed to give longer-lasting responsiveness, and the synthetic leather overlays of its upper should protect against wear and tear. Unfortunately, according to at least one reviewer, the mesh material along the forefoot can start to wear down and come apart after a very short period of time. Considering its price point, and the fact that it’s garnered mostly positive feedback, this is particularly disappointing.
Even though it seems to focus more on fashion than functionality, the Air Max2 Light is still able to keep the wearer protected against most everyday hazards
. Its textured, geographic tread pattern ensures a safe and secure grip on paved roads and sidewalks. The full-length Phylon midsole is compression-molded to better safeguard against both impact and rough concrete. And the Max Air heel unit enhances this by providing greater shock absorption in the area that it’s needed most. And while the upper’s mesh material gives the runner plenty of breathability, reducing the likelihood of skin irritations
, its heavy synthetic leather overlays shield against accidental impact and ensure a longer-lasting wear.
By combining two of their technologies into its midsole, Nike gives the Air Max2 Light an incredibly responsive wear. The act of heating and then compression-molding EVA foam pellets has already given this unit a greater amount of shock absorption than standard EVA foam. And the inclusion of its blow-molded Max Air unit provides the runner with even greater protection against impact where it’s most needed. Although reviews and descriptions don’t detail how strong its energy return is, the use of duel-pressure cushioning still encourages a smoother and more powered-up gait cycle
Buyers say that they feel perfectly supported while wearing the Air Max2 Light, which greatly adds to the shoe’s overall comfort level. Its full-length Phylon midsole stays sturdy to cushion the underfoot for longer, and the Max Air unit adds a much-needed layer of heel support. The padded feel of the shoe’s soft and breathable upper already secures most of the foot properly. But this inclusion of heavy synthetic overlays further hugs the foot in order to keep it locked into place and prevent possible over-flexing. And, of course, the padded tongue and collar give the wearer some very necessary ankle support
Since it's focused more on street fashion, the Air Max2 Light is definitely meant for everyday environments. Its tread pattern seems to work especially well on paved surfaces such as concrete and cement, enabling it to be used for both casual walks and basic outdoor workouts. Furthermore, its balanced use of both mesh and synthetic leather enables it to be worn comfortably in both warmer and cooler weather. Unfortunately, its overall design does limit its usage quite a bit, since it’s unfit for racing or more rugged outdoor activities. And considering this shoe’s high price tag and lack of durability, this might cause several buyers to reconsider making a purchase.
As with many of Nike’s special releases, the Air Max2 Light is definitely on the pricier side. It can be found on the brand’s website and other online retailers for $140, well above the average price range for a running shoe. Some reviewers aren’t so sure about spending this much on such a flashy shoe that can’t be worn in certain situations, and its lack of durability and inconsistent sizing only further this doubt. However, there are still plenty of buyers who are willing to pay full-price for a special edition, especially lovers of 90’s fashion or those who remember the original design.
While reviews don’t go into specifics about how good the Air Max2 Light’s level of traction is, its geometric tread pattern still enables an easy and secure-enough run across everyday surfaces such as concrete and cement. The triangular shapes on its forefoot and heel keep it steady, while horizontal lines on its sides and rear strengthen its overall grip. It should be noted, however, that there’s no indication of how it performs on wet surfaces.
Given its overall construction, it’s safe to assume that the Air Max2 Light isn’t as flexible as some of the more recent street fashion shoes on the market. While the shape of its outsole may allow for easier bending and flexing, the use of compression model materials does give it a more rigid wear. And its heavy use of synthetic leather overlays gives it more structure with less pliability. Still, enough of the mesh material is exposed to make this shoe flexible and comfortable enough to be worn in casual settings.
A supportive midsole and structured upper allow the Air Max2 Light to be surprisingly stabilizing. The combination of full-length Phylon with a Max Air heel unit efficiently absorbs each impact to keep the wearer’s gait cycle as smooth and steady as possible. The upper also features thick, synthetic leather overlays that form a toe bumper, midfoot cage, and aggressive heel counter to help the shoe maintain its shape and aid the lacing system in keeping the foot locked into place. Although this shoe does not come with any corrective features, buyers still feel supported and secure whenever they wear it.
The Air Max2 Light’s exact heel-to-toe drop height isn’t mentioned on any of the product listings or reviews. Most running shoes seem to have a drop measurement of 10mm, as this provides runners with plenty of heel cushioning and support without impeding too much on the natural gait cycle. When comparing its product photos to shoes with this specific feature, it’s safe to assume that this model also has a 10mm drop height.
-Rubber compound outsole
-Full-length Phylon midsole
-Responsive Max Air heel unit
-Mesh and synthetic leather upper
-Traditional lacing system
-Vibrant color options
-Hefty $140 price tag
Those who enjoy street fashion and 90's throwbacks would definitely love this re-release of Nike's Air Max2 Light. All of its original design features are still present, from its tread pattern and Max Air heel unit to its vibrant mesh and synthetic leather upper. Buyers are still just as happy with its stylish design and comfortable underfoot cushioning as they were back in 1994, and the revival has given this model plenty of brand new fans. With all of this said, however, the shoe still has a few setbacks that could drive buyers away. Its inconsistent sizing is the most obvious issue, as is the upper's lack of durability. Still, as reviews indicate, many are still more than happy to add this model to their collection of street shoes.