About the Author: Adam Terry is a thirtysomething salesman in the HVAC and hydronics industry. He enjoys bourbon, boots, sneakers, raw denim, and working on his
dad bod father figure.
Nike has been on a winning streak over the past few years, churning out a lot of new and really innovative sneaker designs. Today’s sneaker market is as hot as it’s ever been, partially thanks to COVID and the connected shift to more e-commerce, as a growing number of people are working from home. Lots of those workers are sliding into more comfortable and casual outfits, including more sneakers than ever before, and they’re bringing brands like Nike and Adidas with them. In terms of sales figures, Nike is still top dog and brings in over twice what second place brand Adidas reports, while Nike sister brand Jordan brings up third on it’s own.
Do you prefer classic running sneakers or chunky “dad sneakers”? Maybe a heritage retro vibe or a futuristic self-lacing sneaker? In any case, there’s something for everyone these days. Today we’re looking at Nike’s latest retro runner – the Air Max Pre-Day. From the outside, it looks to be a typical sneaker with a big Swoosh, but there’s actually more than meets the eye.
A jack of all trades for the sporty guy.
The Adam Review Scale of Excellence (A.R.S.E.)
- 5 – Excellent! No issues and highly recommended.
- 4 – Good. Above average, but not perfect.
- 3 – Average. Minor issues, might be good at the right price.
- 2 – Fair. Below average due to defects, flaws, or imperfections.
- 1 – Poor. Significant issues, not worth purchasing at any price.
- Brand: Nike
- Style: Lifestyle sneakers
- Size: 11 US (45 EU)
- Last: N/A
- Construction: Glued
- Upper: Mixed materials
- Sole: Studded rubber “waffle” sole
- Details: Made with at least 20% recycled materials
- Extras: N/A
- Country of Origin: Vietnam
- Price: $130 USD
My pair was ordered via Nike.com on a Thursday evening, shipped out on Friday via UPS Ground, and were delivered on Saturday afternoon. Not too shabby! No complaints here.
FYI: Nike’s return policy is better than I remember – 60 days from date of purchase, including custom sneakers, for any reason so long as they’re in like new condition. Returns are free and can be made at a local Nike store or through a local UPS branch near you. Simple!
Score: 5/5 Stars – Ordering was easy, shipping was fast, and returns are free. Nice!
Move to zero packaging keeps things sparse, and that’s OK.
This pair arrived in Nike’s new Move to Zero packaging that’s made from 90% recycled materials and is 100% recyclable. The shoes did arrive stuffed with simple craft/tissue paper to help keep the shoe’s shape in transit, but there were no other extras or notes of interest inside. Given Nike’s goal of zero carbon emissions and zero waste, we’ll give this one to them.
Score: 5/5 Stars – Simple, no frills. Box and shipping materials are 100% recyclable.
Fresh out of the box, I’m really liking the giant air bubble at the back and love how visible it is. The overall aesthetic seems to be a jack of all trades sneaker – in this black and white colorway, it’s going to pair well with a lot of outfits and it’s not wild enough to raise an eyebrow during your casual Friday office meetings. If you’re looking to mix it up with different colors, Nike seems to move different colorways in and out of stock. At post time, there’s four available.
Nike’s air bubble. To the max.
The upper utilizes a handful of materials, mixed here and there to create different zones and textures across the upper assembly. Looking from the toe and going backwards towards the heel, we start out with a toe impact layer made from a sueded fabric (I don’t think this is real leather) and cut into an arrow shape. Moving backwards, the upper mesh is a nylon-style fabric that feels both sturdy and breathable. The eyestays and eyelets are made from a third, denser and tear-resistant material that has been bartacked in place along the upper opening. There are no real eyelets here, just holes punched into the fabric and backing. The flat knit laces are made from recycled polyester and are just a hair too short for my personal preference.
Several mixed materials creating different zones.
Along the sides, you’ll notice a few different materials interspaced, including one material at the flex point and heel that looks like the fabric equivalent of fiberglass. I’d wager it’s some form of extruded nylon, but I’m unsure. The tongue and cushioned opening around the ankle are made from a ripstop fabric. The classic Nike Swoosh is cut from a layer of highly finished white leather, providing for some excellent contrast against the multiple layers of black and dark grey. Speaking of contrast, the white foam midsole offers some visual highlighting while also giving the sneakers just a bit of cushioning and comfort. Around back, there’s a white pull tab that is embedded in a small panel and bartacked for resilience. Sturdy!
Inner mesh lining for breathability, but that soft underlayer could hold some funk!
Peering inside, you’ll notice a simple and breathable mesh lining for the rear â…“ of the shoe. The front â…” is lined in a layer of soft, fleece-like fabric that will probably hold moisture and funk – I highly recommend letting your sneakers air out as often as possible. Cedar shoe trees are also a good investment. Yes, even for sneakers. Especially for sneakers. Those trees can help retain the shape of the uppers and help remove excess sweat.
The Nike Lunarlon insoles are removeable so you can upgrade to your preferred brand.
The insole unit is removable and looks to be a thinner layer of Nike’s Lunarlon open cell foam material that’s shared across many other models. It’s not nearly as squishy or comfortable as some other athletic (non-retro) sneakers, but it’s adequate here at this price point. Should you want more arch support or comfort, I highly recommend Superfeet insoles. Finally, the sole unit is a modernized version of the classic “waffle” sole with studded grippers spread across the outsole surface like an Excel spreadsheet. There are some holes cut in for expansion of the squishy foam midsole, as well as a divot at the rear where the air bubble lives.
Score: 4/5 Stars – Solid sneakers for sporty people looking for a jack-of-all-trades shoe.
Comfort, Fit, and Sizing
In terms of fit and sizing, I recommend trying a half-size up from your Brannock measurement, or your regular Nike (or other athletic sneaker) size. I tried this pair in my usual Nike size 11 US and the fit was spot on. The sneakers are slightly narrow and hug my heels and the sides of my feet along the middle, but allow for plenty of space up front in the toe box. Not as much wiggle room as a pair of Adidas or New Balance, but more than enough for daily casual wear. If you need a wide width in sneakers, you’re out of luck with this Air Max model.
A modern version of a studded waffle sole for grip.
Comfort is always subjective, but these feel pretty good for lifestyle sneakers. While they’re certainly not as squishy or comfortable as those Adidas UltraBoost 22’s I reviewed a while back, they’re on par with other pairs of heritage runners from the three major sneaker brands.
For size reference, I am a 10.5 D/E on a Brannock device and usually take a 10 D in most roomy dress shoes, including Alden’s Barrie last and Grant Stone’s Leo last. I take a 10.5 E in Allen Edmonds 65 last, as that last runs too narrow for me. I also take a 10.5 in Converse/Vans and an 11 in most Adidas/Nike/Jordan/Yeezy sneakers. Have a size question? Email us!
Score: 5/5 Stars – Size is typical Nike and comfort is fine for day to day casual wear.
If you’re in the market for a pair of retro casual sneakers, you really can’t go wrong with the Nike Air Max Pre-Day. I think they look great and will easily pair with lots of casual, sporty styles. Plus, these are made with at least 20% recycled materials which give the shoes some neat texture and the air bubble is a classic. In today’s sneaker crazy world, the $130 MSRP is astonishingly cheap, too. Make sure you check these out and let us know what you think!
Avg. Score: 4.75/5.00 – Yep, these are fantastic Nike sneakers for the average Joe.