Nike Air Span 2

The Nike Air Span 2 is the brand’s revamp of the famous runner from the eighties. The Air Span saw its first release in 1988 and the second one around 1900/1991. This chunky, retro sneaker comes in great colorways with an even better design, and while some are lauding it for its comfort, others are not satisfied with the lack of support the shoe has to offer. One way or another, the 2018 Air Span 2 is a refreshment in the overbearingly no-sew, no-overlay uppers we’ve been seeing this year.

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Where to Buy
Where to Buy
Pros & Cons
  • Retro-looking
  • Great design overall
  • Nike Air unit and EVA foam midsole
  • Rubber outsole
  • Good traction on dry surfaces
  • Responsive
  • Versatile
  • Flexible, easy toe-off
  • Cushioned sole protects from shock impact
  • Very comfortable
  • Medium drop suitable for heel strikers and midfoot strikers
  • Breathable, yet warm
  • Cons
    • A bit heavy
    • Not supportive
    • Average-quality materials
    • You have to really like the design to find the price affordable
    • Key Features
      The outsole of this throwback shoe is made out of a rubber compound that looks and feels durable and sturdy. The rubber tread is interesting, to say the least. The forefoot features five sections separated by flex grooves, with the last flex groove going much deeper than the others, for easier toe-off. The whole forefoot is made to make the heel-to-toe transition as smooth as possible. In the midfoot area, the outsole features a retro-looking zigzag and rectangular patterns, aimed at distributing the impact force equally throughout the foot. On the back, the same compound rubber can be found encircling the heel, with smaller grooves that are able to provide good traction. The logo of the midsole’s Nike Air unit can be seen on the bottom of the heel, indicating the brand’s revolutionary cushion sitting on top of the rubber outsole.
      The Nike Air Span 2 features the revolutionary Max Air technology that kick-started the famous Nike Air sneaker cult. This technology uses pressurized air inside a sturdy and flexible bag, and by those two elements working in unison, the midsole is made both cushioned and responsive at the same time, due to the fact that you’re quite literally walking on air – in the heel area, that is. The rest of the midsole is comprised of the EVA foam compound that also provides cushioning, as well as elasticity and overall comfort. All Nike Air soles contain a minimum of 50% of recycled material and are made with 100% renewable energy, which will make the environmentally conscious love this sole even more.
      The upper of the Nike Air Span 2 is reminiscent of the original, dating all the way back to the eighties. It features a combination of synthetic leather overlays with a breathable knit upper on the top front of the shoe, on the collar and on the sides as well. Taking a stand against the modern, no-sew overlays that tend to blend in with the sock-like upper, the soft overlays of the Air Span 2 are anything but unnoticeable, discreet and smooth. They don white stitches (single or double) proudly, making the upper look old-school and sturdy. The laces are wide and they go through a mid-tongue tab in order to make the fit a little bit more snug on the top of the foot. The tongue and the collar are padded, creating a warm and comfy environment for the foot. The overall quality of the upper materials is satisfactory, but nothing to rave about, so if you’re into high-quality materials, you might be disappointed by the Air Span 2.
      The Air unit in the outsole might lead you to think that this is a lightweight shoe overall. However, the heavy overlays and the abundant use of synthetic suede leather in the upper, as well as the padded tongue and collar, have contributed to this being a medium-weight shoe that some have even described as just “heavy”. If you have a sedentary job and you need a comfy shoe to wear to and off work, the weight won’t be an issue. But, if you’d like to take the Air Span 2 for long walks, you might end up with tired and aching feet.
      The Nike Air Span 2 is a fall/winter shoe that has just enough air flow so as to prevent your feet from sweating and overheating when you’re indoors. On the other hand, the suede overlays encase the entire bottom half of the upper, so taking this shoe outside for a jog or a walk won’t be an issue, even in brusque weather.
      Those who don’t mind a heavier pair of shoes have only words of praise for the level of comfort the Air Span 2 offers. Some have even described the shoe as the most comfortable they have ever worn. Indeed, the soft EVA midsole and the Air unit in the heel make for a good combination and combined with the padded collar and the warm and sturdy upper, it’s no wonder why people wear this shoe all day, every day. However, keep in mind that you should order a half-size up if you’re ordering online because even though the shoe looks wide and chunky, it’s actually smaller in person.
      The 2018 version of this vintage-inspired sneaker will come in original colorways, as well as a few new ones, which will keep the ‘90s vibe and stay true to the Air Span roots. The Air Span 2 features a chunky, loud look that is bound to turn heads wherever you go. The signature Air swoosh can be found on both sides of the sneaker, while the tongue and the midsole heel have Nike branding on them. The vast majority of people were all-in when it comes to the design of the Air Span 2, with some even saying it can be worn not only with edgy, modern jeans outfits but with dresses, too. All in all, the shoe looks great, especially if you’re a fan of the late ‘80s and the ‘90s style. If, however, you tend to lean towards more minimal options, skip this one entirely.
      The durability of the Nike Air Span 2 is satisfactory, especially if you use it as a fashion/walking shoe, instead of a running shoe. The upper materials aren’t top-notch quality, but that doesn’t mean they’ll tear and lose all of the original sturdiness. The rubber compound used on the outsole is durable and won’t wear down easily, although the heel will start to deteriorate faster than the other parts of the outsole, due to very shallow grooves positioned in the rearfoot. The midsole isn’t as protected by the outsole from scratches and tearing, so you can expect to see some wear and tear on the sides of the midsole, which is normal for the EVA foam compound. However, the Air unit will last you a long time without losing the cushion, so if you intend to wear this as an everyday walk shoe, you can expect them to serve you well for two or three seasons without an issue.
      The Nike Air unit in the midsole offers great cushioning and dampens the ground feel, protecting the feet from any pain or tiredness at the end of the day. The front toe bumper offers basic toe protection and gives additional structure to the upper, but other than protecting you from lighter impacts and smaller stones, it won’t do wonders for you. Also, while the upper overlays will offer protection from the cold, they won’t be useful in the rain or snow, so if you need a shoe that can protect you from the elements, don’t count on the Air Span 2 to be your pick.
      The responsiveness of the Nike Air units is exactly what started the sneaker revolution all those decades ago. And while the Nike Air isn’t as responsive as the Air Zoom midsole, the bounce, springiness and the energy return that the Nike Air Span 2 has to offer are more than satisfactory, especially because this isn’t a typical running shoe, but primarily a lifestyle shoe that can be used for running as well.
      Despite the stylishness of the Air Span two, a lot of people expressed disappointment over the shoe not being more supportive. The shoe is made for people who don’t need any additional support, so it will be well-suited for those who have normal, medium-high or high arches. However, due to the complete lack of support in the insole, it’s possible that you’ll have to buy some insoles separately in order to avoid foot pain at the end of the day after you’ve been wearing the shoe non-stop for several hours.
      This is definitely a shoe that is best suited for road, track, concrete, treadmills, and all kinds of firm, flat surfaces you can think of. It’s also suitable for short runs and jogs around the block, but its weight prevents it from being a racing or a marathon shoe.
      The price of the Air Span 2 isn’t very high – you can expect to pay around a C-note for the pleasure of wearing this throwback beauty, but there are some who consider splashing that kind of money on a lifestyle shoe to be irrational. If you’re a fan of the look and the original shoe, and you need a winter-time lifestyle sneaker to complement your outfits, this is a reasonable price to pay; if you’re looking for a high-quality winter running shoe, you might find splashing out the money on the Air Span 2 to be unnecessary.
      The outsole of the Air Span 2 is full of various traction grooves and lugs. The outsole will provide a good grip on a dry surface, especially on a track, where the forefoot grooves will come into prominence but don’t expect the essentially flat heel to prevent you from slipping on a wet surface.
      The most flexible part of the Nike Air Span 2 is the sole. The forefoot of the outsole features flex grooves that encourage a swift toe-off, and the EVA foam midsole isn’t thick, so the elasticity of the foam comes in full prominence with this shoe. However, the upper is another story, which is to be expected of a winter shoe, albeit a lifestyle one. The thick, stitched overlays leave little flexibility, and while they can adapt to your foot shape and movements in time, the upper can never offer the level of flexibility that the sock-like uppers have.
      The Air Span 2 doesn’t have many stability features, and those that do increase stability are a consequence of the design, not the brand’s intention at making a stable shoe. The overlays featured on the upper encase the entire foot, and especially the heel, providing additional stability of the entire foot and preventing the heel from slipping off or sliding around the shoe. Additionally, the mid-tongue lace tab plays a role in stabilizing the tongue and preventing it from slipping, and it provides a tighter fit to the entire foot.
      This is a medium-drop shoe that favors both heel-strikers and midfoot strikers alike. If you’re a midfoot striker, you’ll notice the heel to be a bit more prominent than what feels natural to you, and if you are a severe heel striker, you’ll feel compelled to switch up your gait to conform to the more natural form, because the heel isn’t cushioned enough to dampen the impact forces during the heel strike on its own.
      Key Features
      ● Rubber compound outsole
      ● Nike Air unit in the heel and EVA foam midsole
      ● Synthetic leather stitched overlays with breathable knit in the upper
      ● Fall/winter shoe
      ● On the heavier side
      ● Extremely comfortable, but not supportive
      ● Affordable price if you enjoy the retro look
      ● Average durability
      ● Road, track and treadmill shoe
      ● Good responsiveness
      Bottom Line
      The Air Span 2 is a retro-looking lifestyle shoe that showcases what a 90s vibe with modern touches looks like. Although it’s most often used for walking, some people use it for running and are more than satisfied with its performance. Keep in mind, though, that they don’t require any additional support and don’t find the weight of the shoe to be an issue – which it really isn’t, except that we’ve all grown accustomed to the ultra-lightweight shoes that we don’t even feel are there. This shoe has style, comfort, a relatively affordable price and the Nike Air midsole unit going for it; however, it won’t be everybody’s cup of tea – and that’s okay.
      Where to Buy
      By Lizzy Pavlovic
      Last updated:
      Where to buy
      Best offer on: Aug. 04. 2021

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