Comprehensive review: Air Total Force Max


Joined Jan 7, 2006
I finally balled in these today after having them for about 2 weeks. Here's my review, but first some history:

When I first saw pics of the Air Total Force Max I was quite excited for the first shoe that would be known as Amare's sigs. And to top it off, they were being released in Phx a friend of mine said, it's like having a PE in your own size.

It took Nike a while but they have finally gone back to full length max air. The only problem is that their comeback could have been much better.
When Stat first came into the league he wore the Air Maximum Uptempo, which had heel max and smaller visable air windows in the forefoot. He also wore the Max Finisher that year. After that he wore the Uptempo Ultramatic, both containing full length max. Midway through his second year, nike downgraded their big man line for some reason and gave him the Uptempo Premier, which only contained heel max air.
Last year, Nike made the Force Operate, a very popular shoe, which re-introduced the Force line, and had lots of awesome PE colorways for many players in the league.

Amare was selected to take the reigns of the Force line from players like David Robinson and Charles Barkley. Big things are to be expected from the Amare line of shoes.

Now, on to the actual review:
I played about 5 pickup games today so this is after just one day of wearing them.

They seem to run true to size I wear an 11 and I bought these in 11, unlike the Operates where I had to go down to 10.5

When I first tried them on they felt normal. However, when I bought them (not the same colorway I initially tried on) they felt really narrow, which was odd for a force / max shoe. Usually the Flights run more narrow.
The first game I wore them, my feet hurt, like they were being squeezed, however as I played more they seemed to stretch and felt more comfortable

As I said, these shoes felt very tight at first. I guess they stretched out so they felt better with more wear.
Also, another strange thing is that the lining of the heel is a different color than the lining of the rest of the shoe. This creates a need for a seam in a strange place that may rub a bit if you wear thin or no-show socks. I don't advise wearing those.

Ankle Support
This was the best part of this shoe.
I have bad ankles so I always look for shoes with good ankle support. Because the heel cup is cut so high on the ankle, and the way the lacing system works (more on that later) your ankle will not go anywhere in these.

Anyone that likes max air based shoes will like the cushioning on these. THey have the same mid / outsole design as the max finisher. The cushioning is firm and supportive. Designed to take a beating in the paint.
If you like zoom air based shoes and do a lot of slashing and cutting or prefer lower to the ground shoes, these are not for you.

I'm about 190 and I play mostly in the post. These are definately big man shoes. No PG's will be wearing these.

Edit: I forgot an overall ranking:

I was dissapointed to not give these a better ranking but I had to take points away for the recycled outsole. Also losing a point was how tight they were at first. I don't like to have to break in shoes. I like to ball in them fresh out of the box.
For the $125 price tag I guess I was expecting to be wowed by these, but I wasn't.
If you're looking for a big man shoe I'd reccomend the Jordan Team Strong.
If you're a Suns fan and want Amare's shoe, buy this one.

Other observations:
These have a very unique lacing system

The strappy looking things along the sides of the shoes aren't just for decoration. As you can see they have an eyelet on them, so the laces go through the shoe, through the outer straps, then back to the shoe. This creates quite a bit of lateral support. This may be the reason they felt so narrow at first, but it works great to keep your foot in place.

The last thing I must comment on is the design. I never have been, or claim to be a shoe designer, but as a consumer I like variety and creativity when it comes to what I purchase. To have a shoe cost $125 and use the same midsole and outsole as a shoe that came out 3 basketball seasons ago is a bit dissapointing. Nike should have given us something new. After all, the lower model Force Specialist has a new outsole. Why couldn't Nike figure out something to do for their top of the line shoe for one of their premier endorsers?

Left: Air Total Max Uptempo Right: Air Max Finisher
Joined Apr 6, 2005
You cant just say a shoe is downgraded because it doesn't have full length max air. the Uptempo premier and Air Force Operate are both good shoes and were both more popular (amongst regular ballers and NBA players) than the Finisher and Ultramatic ever were.
Nascar,and Poker ARE NOT SPORTS!!!


Joined Jan 7, 2006
Quote:[hr][/hr]You cant just say a shoe is downgraded because it doesn't have full length max air.[hr][/hr]

That wasn't the reason I say it was downgraded.
The reason I said that was based on price.
The Max Elite, Max Finisher, and Uptempo Ultramatic were all priced in the $120-$130 range, while the Uptempo Premier and the Force Operate are in the $90 range.
Plus, this year's Force lineup includes the Total Force Max which is top of the line, Force Specialist - mid level shoe, and the Force Crashin - a $65 budget shoe.

Joined Dec 21, 2002
took away points cause of teh sole design? but n e who, did teh sole do its job? provide traction, limit slippage, etc... thats what matters
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Joined Jan 7, 2006
^ IMO an innovative design is part of what makes a shoe recycle old soles takes no creativity.
Joined Apr 24, 2003
^^ I don't know man. the sole/traction innovation seems to have peaked. the herringbone is from the 70's maybe earlier, and they really havent improved on it. but I catch your drift about using the exact same thing. $125 should equal a little more variety.

It's kind of weird how the Operates, Premiers and even the Chosen Maxs were embraced more by NBA players than the full length stuff. I always thought the full length looked hot but maybe it's more fashion than function.

if they ever brought back the max heel with zoom forefoot, that would be nice.
Joined Apr 24, 2003
Oh also, nice review. stuff like this is worth reading...I'm still trying to figure out when the sneaker review forum turned into a poll fest.


Joined Jan 7, 2006
^ Thanks...I guess people care more about what others think than making their own opinions.

Quote:[hr][/hr]if they ever brought back the max heel with zoom forefoot, that would be nice. [hr][/hr]

True...The Team Max Zooms were some of the best shoes...Those and the Air Force Authority.
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