As one of the most popular Nike sneakers of all time, it’s easy to consider the Nike Air Force 1 as the ideal pair of running shoes. But are Nike Air Force Ones actually good for running?
Nike Air Force Ones are not very good for running because they are heavier and less flexible than the average running shoes. While you can wear the Air Force 1 for low-impact exercises like walking, they are best worn casually for fashion purposes.
If you are not convinced, read more below as we completely break down whether the iconic Nike Air Force 1 shoes are suitable for running, jogging, and walking.
Are Nike Air Force 1 Good For Running?
Before the Nike Air Force 1 became a fashion staple and a sneaker icon, the Nike Air Force 1 was the first basketball shoe to use the Nike Air technology.
Today, the Nike AF1 shoes are best known as casual and comfortable sneakers, worn exclusively for fashion purposes. To determine whether or not they are good for running, we will look at three aspects: weight, flexibility, and sole thickness.
Here are three reasons why Nike Air Force 1 is not good for running:
Nike Air Force Ones are heavier than the average running shoes
One of the biggest reasons why Nike Air Force Ones are not good for running is because of the weight. Nike Air Force 1 weighs approximately a whopping 16.5 pounds, whereas the average, mid-level running shoe for men weighs just under 9.5 ounces.
That significant amount of weight can slow you down, especially if you run for long distances. As a runner, you understand that the lighter the shoes, the faster you can run.
In fact, a study funded by Nike and published in the Journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that runners were 1% slower for every 3.5 ounces added to each sneaker.
Put another way, the researchers calculated that elite runners wearing shoes 3.5 ounces lighter than normal could potentially run a marathon about 57 seconds faster.
Other Nike casual trainers, like the Roshe Run, are better for running although they are not “true running shoes” because they are lighter than most sneakers.
But while lighter running shoes allow you to run slightly faster, it is the injury prevention aspect of the shoes that should be the biggest draw for most runners.
Having the right weight and cushioning in your shoes, you can run optimally with the perfect form, which will prevent injuries in the long term.
So not only do Nike Air Force Ones can potentially cause you to run slower, but they can also pose more injury risks compared to purpose-built running shoes.
Nike Air Force Ones are not flexible enough for running
Equally important as the weight of the shoes is the overall flexibility of the shoes. As you take strides while running, both of your feet will flex and bend naturally, so you need running shoes that can conform to the movement of your feet.
In order to provide flexibility, running shoes need to be made with proper materials.
Most running shoes are made with breathable knit polyester or nylon mesh, which allows the material to smoothly follow the curves of your feet as you run.
Unfortunately, Nike Air Force Ones are made of synthetic leather on the upper. Because of the synthetic leather upper, which is stiffer and less flexible than polyester or nylon mesh, Nike Air Force ones are not the most comfortable for running.
Ideally, your running shoes should be able to slightly twist when you bend them to the left and right. If they are too stiff, then they are not the best for running.
Sure, Nike Air Force Ones will become more flexible and comfortable once they are broken in, but compared to “real running shoes” the difference in flexibility is far apart.
Having synthetic leather uppers can also mean that the Air Force Ones are not as breathable as most running shoes. Polyester and mesh promote cool airflow to the feet. Synthetic leather, on the other hand, can make your feet sweat more than they should.
It’s not much of an issue if you are wearing Nike Air Force 1 for walking or casual wear, but for running, you will have a better experience choosing more flexible and breathable shoes.
Nike Air Force Ones have thick soles
Last but not least, Nike AF1 shoes are notorious for having thick soles. In fact, they are very popular for their heavy and bulky build.
But while they can add a lot of height, the thick soles of Nike Air Force Ones may not be the best for running from a support and comfort perspective.
To provide optimal cushioning without reducing efficiency by adding unnecessary weight, most running shoes are made with about 10 mm of midsole material under the forefoot.
On the other hand, we’ve measured a new pair of Air Force Ones and found they give around 3 cm of height, making you about 1.2 inches taller.
That amount of sole thickness may be okay for walking or casual wear, but may not be the most comfortable for running, especially long-distance running.
According to a study published in Scientific Reports, running in thick shoes may increase leg stiffness and lead to greater impact loading when your foot hits the pavement.
At the end of the day, having too much or too little cushion is not good for running. So instead of running in Air Force Ones, try running in shoes specifically made for running.
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Now you know whether Nike Air Force 1 shoes are good for running or not.
Nike Air Force Ones may be good enough for walking, but they are not the best for running and jogging. While they were originally made as basketball shoes, there are more flexible and comfortable running shoes in today’s era of innovative sports technology.
If you have the means, invest in running shoes, designed specifically for running. Not only do they allow you to run faster, but they can also help prevent injuries in the long term.