The Nike Air Max Impact 4 is the best budget basketball shoe on the market today, a great outdoor option, and just a great performance basketball shoe.
Release Date: 2022
The Nike Air Max Impact 4 is like that dorky-looking kid on the local courts that you think you can clown but who ends up dunking on you and sends you home packing. This budget model is an unassuming banger, and it gets extra points precisely because of this. I’m a sucker for a hoop shoe that looks like a plain jane and then comes in and knocks it out of the park.
The Air Max Impact 3 was already an awesome performance basketball shoe, and the Air Max Impact 4 brings back everything that was great from that shoe and incorporates a couple of improvements. And it does all of that at a cheaper price than its predecessor! I live in Spain, and the Air Max Impact 4 is 6 bucks cheaper than the Dunk Low. In the US, they’re the same price, but still…
In any case, let’s dive into the performance review to see why I’m so hyped about this shoe.
The traction makes you wonder why Nike ever uses a different pattern and rubber compound. We have an aggressive and deeply set full-length herringbone traction pattern that gives you really great multi-directional coverage. It’s the same exact setup as on the Impact 3, so if you had that shoe you know exactly what I am talking about. The rubber compound is grippy and tough and worked great indoors and outdoors.
This combo also makes the Air Max Impact 4 a really wonderful outdoor option as well as far as traction goes (spoiler alert, everything else on the shoe also makes it a great outdoor option). The rubber gripped very well when I played outdoors, and that strong rubber and the thickness of the pattern all added durability while playing on the blacktop.
The cushioning setup is, again, the same as on the Impact 3, which is great news. The cushioning on that model was amazing for a budget model, and the same is true on the Air Max Impact 4.
You get a full-length phylon foam midsole, and a large Air Max Unit in the heel. But this isn’t your run-of-the-mill phylon. It feels much closer to Cushlon than in other setups. It feels bouncy and reactive underfoot, which is great for forefoot heavy moves like sprints or changes of direction.
The Air Max Unit in the heel feels great if you make it work, but I personally don’t use my heel much when I play, so I really didn’t feel it too much. But I’m happy that it’s there just in case I need that extra bit of cushion I might not be 100% aware of most of the time.
In my reviews, I’m normally negative when brands overuse cheaper synthetic materials. I always try to be fair and say that performance wise it worked well yada, yada, yada…but in this case, I’m not even going to do that.
The Air Max Impact 4 is a budget model, so it has budget-appropriate materials that worked very well. Nike even improved the materials from the Impact 3 to the Lebron 20. They used a tighter weaved textile along the upper that improves lockdown and added some fuse overlays on the lateral side of the forefoot to boost lateral containment.
Support on the Air Max Impact 4 is also on point. You have 4 rubber lateral containment pieces: 2 in the heel and 2 in the forefoot. Also, you have an internal web (that is visible through the outer mesh of the shoe on the more colorful colorways) that keeps your foot securely on the footbed. For a little added support and containment there are two lace cables, as well as two outriggers.
Everything about the support is enhanced by the use and placement of the materials as well as the fit.
This is one of the better-fitting shoes I have tested recently. The Nike Air Max Impact 4 offers a great 1-to-1 fit and requires little to no break-in time.
The Nike Air Max Impact 4 is just a great performance basketball shoe, and it improves on an already great shoe, the Nike Air Max 3. It’s definitely my favorite budget basketball shoe so far this season as well as my go-to outdoor option. I’m having a hard time at the moment keeping it out of my current top 5.
I personally enjoy the fact that the shoe is so plain and “under the radar” and packs such a performance punch, and it does have the “what are those?” factor.
If you are looking for a great performance basketball shoe that won’t break the bank, there’s no better option.