Air Max SC vs Air Max 90 [Which Design to Pick in 2024?]

Written By Sunny

World’s top-ranked sportswear brand Nike is continuously releasing amazing foot gear such as Air Max, Air Jordan, Air Force, and so on in the competitive market.


Several design variations exist in these highly anticipated footwear lineages. Air Max SC & 90 are two of them.

In this write-up, I’ll compare these two Air Max versions. Thus, you can decide which set is more suitable for you.

So, let’s find out the best one!

Overview of Nike Air Max 90 & SC

The journey of Nike Air Max trainer started back in 1987 through the introduction of Air Max 1. Till now, almost 24 styles of Air Max have been released. And the most interesting thing that I noticed in all of these sneakers is – the Visible Air Cushioning Unit.

3 years after Air Max 1’s inception, Air Max 90 came into debut in 1990. The sports classic Air Max SC was also launched that year.

The groundbreaking taller profile of AM 90 includes a relatively larger Air Unit. For the attractive color combinations and half-hidden Swoosh design, the AM 90 is still one of the most popular silhouettes. As a result, people don’t hesitate to invest money in this expensive set of Nike.

AM SC is a budget-friendly pair yet loaded with tons of advantages such as fantastic breathability, comfortable interior, and heritage look. This can be a great pick for light athletes and young fashionistas who are in quest of low-priced Nike sneakers.

Key Differences Between Air Max SC and 90

Before we move toward the in-depth comparison, let’s have a glimpse at the chart below. The main differences between Air Max SC and 90 have been noted in the chart so that you can easily distinguish the particular sneakers.

Comparison Table of Air Max SC vs 90:

Air Max 90Air Max SC
Hefty price tagAffordable
Slide design is availableNo slides available
90 stylesOnly 5 styles
Endless color selectionLimited color options
Cushioning varies as per style & activity.Flexible cushioning
Waffle rubber outsoleGrooved rubber outsole

So, you have got to know that AM SC is cheaper than AM 90. But how much is the actual price? Any guess?

Well, let’s talk about it for now.


Depending on the size and style, Air Max ’90s price range fluctuates between $45- $150. For example, Nike Air Max 90 Premium retails for 150 US dollars.


But the price increases in case of customized shoes. The customization option starts from $150 and reaches up to $200.

On the other hand, the maximum cost of Air Max SC (SC stands for Sports Classic) is only $85. Previously I said that only five shoes are available in AM SC’s collection. The current price of those designs is mentioned below–

  1. Nike Air Max SC Men’s Shoe: $85
  2. Women’s Shoe: $85
  3. Air Max SC Big Kids Shoe: $80
  4. Little Kids Shoe: $70
  5. Baby /Toddlers AM SC: $60

The appearance of Air Max 90 and SC is identical. Then why the price differs so much?

Perhaps, it is the material, popularity, durability, and other favorable features which make this huge price deviation. So, let’s focus on these terms and directly compare the Air Max sneakers.


Air Max 90 is a blend of multiple materials. The upper portion of this shoe is crafted from leather, synthetic fabric, and TPU. The mid and outer soles are made of foam and durable rubber. Each of these materials is sustainable.

Moreover, stitched overlays along with TPU coating make the sneaker durable for up to several years.

Contrary, real and synthetic leather is the main ingredient of Air Max SC.

The manufacturers use mesh fabric at the upper of this shoe. It enhances breathability and also gives a sturdy structure to AM SC.

No TPU sheet is used in Air Max SC hence the lifespan of this pair is less compared to Air Max 90.


Comfort largely depends on the interior structure and cushioning of the shoe. The foam midsole of each shoe delivers adequate comfort to the wearer.

The thick sole also protects users from severe injuries during racing and random movement. You can enjoy the Air cushioning in both of the shoe’s heels.

Moreover, the rounded toe box of these sneakers will give you ample space for toes wiggling.


However, the 90’s cushion is more lightweight, and it feels like the foot is wrapped with foam. This set is pretty comfortable with firm cushioning for running and athletic purposes.

Though Air Max SC has been made for running and challenging activities, in comparison with AM 90, this set is lagging behind due to the flexible cushion.

Rather, I found them more comfy as a random go-anywhere sneaker and all-day wear. Even you can pair up with AM SC in the morning jogging as I do.


Air Max 90 and SC have a strong rubber outsole. Both of them are reliable in providing ultimate traction on wet and dry surfaces. Though the sole material is identical, the pattern is different.

AM 90 has a waffle sole, whereas SC comes with a flex grooved rubber outsole. The waffle shape of Air Max 90 has made them a great choice for running, and so it is highly recommended by professional runners.


The grooves of AM SC’s sole ensure sufficient grip for light movements on the tarred road and even on muddy terrains.


If you look for various designs in Air Max SC, unfortunately, you won’t get them. You will have some minimal color combinations and size modifications for this model. Only 4 to 6 color options are available for each of the AM SC sneakers.


On the contrary, 52 varieties of Air Max 90 are available right now on Nike’s official website. You will get impressive colorways for all of them. Even customization is also applicable for some designs, but you won’t get this opportunity in Air Max SC.


So, it’s time to declare which one is right for you between Air Max SC and 90.

Actually, you should make a choice considering two main factors. First of all, decide for which type of activity you’re gonna use the sneaker. Then take a look at your budget.

If you’re a novice runner or trainer who is looking for a reasonable sneaker, opt for Air Max SC. Nike proclaims that AM SC is the perfect finish to any outfit. Saying more precisely, the perfect finish to any casual outfit within your limited wallet.

Otherwise, go for the Air Max 90 if you’re a professional athlete or racer & money isn’t a big issue for you. More designs and a wide range of colorways are available for this coveted sneaker.

Bottom Line

It’s quite difficult to make a selection between two similar-looking sneakers, Air Max 90 & SC.

Because both of them are packed with comfort, equal arch support, proper fit, and sustainable materials. Yet I’ve noted some dissimilarities so that you can divert towards only one when you can’t afford both.

So, which one are you gonna pick? Let me know in the comments.

About The Author
Sunny is all about action and activities. He finds it difficult to contain himself. Be it motorcycling, playing football, or exploring the great outdoors, he loves to keep his legs busy.Sunny quickly realized the importance of footwear to keep himself going healthily. This was when he decided to share all his knowledge and expertise regarding different footwear and their significance.Now, he’s on a mission with this humble platform by his side. With time he plans on doing bigger and better things.Apart from his writing and other hobbies, he loves spending time with his cat Sophie. He loves to cook for his friends and family too.

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