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Most sneakers are designed to fit a popular style and expression, but the Air Max Dia has its own statement to make – one most women can relate with.

People buy sneakers, like almost everything else, for different reasons. Some for the design and some for the functionality, some just because they like the brand and some because a particular style is trending. Whatever the case, even amongst sneakerheads, there are differing opinions on whether a pair of sneakers are covetable or not.

At first glance, I thought Nike’s latest women’s sneakers, the Air Max Dia, looked nice…but not to the point that I would pine for a pair. But then it grew on me.

I’m not referring solely to its external appeal nor was it a case of the mere-exposure effect. You see, I later discovered that the Air Max Dia isn’t your typical women’s sneakers. Most sneakers are designed to fit a popular style and expression, but the Air Max Dia has its own statement to make – one most women can relate with.

It begins with the team behind the making of the shoe.

Storied footing

In an era where women are progressively (finally) standing up against gender stereotypes and unmerited societal norms, the fact that the Dia is designed by a four-female footwear collective piqued my attention.

And they are not even all designers – only one of the four is, whereas the other three consist of an engineer, developer and product manager. This speaks of more than just a pair of shoes designed by women for women, it also goes to show how women of such diverse professional backgrounds can come together to achieve such balance and proportion in a piece of footwear.

The quartet of dots on the heel symbolise this collaborative nature, positioned strategically above the key component: the air unit. Here’s where that refined proportion I mentioned picks up the shoe’s appeal.

Balanced body

While the Air Max family has always been on the bulky side, the Dia’s elegant stack height gives off the illusion of a slender silhouette. This was designed deliberately to highlight the air unit and its sleek TPU window that loops around the heel of the shoe with the modern ‘AIR’ logo emblazoned at the middle.

Meanwhile, the tapered toe box emphasises its feminine character. Instead of the classic big swoosh, the shoe features two mini swooshes at the tip of the shoe and one at the base of the collar.

Completing the shoe’s balanced body is a deconstructed Nexkin upper with a low collar and high lift – all to show off one’s sock choice. The upper on my pink model (or plum, according to the website) appears less translucent compared to a few of the other colourways, especially the Air Max Dia SE QS versions. I personally prefer it this way, but it’s a point for consideration if you’re more expressive with your socks.

Max-imum comfort

With increased admiration for its design upon closer inspection, I proceeded to try it on. My first thought was that it definitely lived up to its family name, given the exaggerated midsole and underfoot cushioning that feels really comfortable on the feet.

After a few days of wearing it out, including errand-running days as well as casual trips to the mall, I found no reason not to love it. The feminist statement it makes may be what drew me in at first, but its design and comfort is what keeps me unreservedly satisfied with my new kicks.

The Nike Air Max Dia is no performance shoe, but it feels like one and leaves me – both literally and figuratively – with a spring in my step.

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Shop the Nike Air Max Dia at all Nike stores and online now.

Photography: Gan Yew Chin

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