Nike’s flagship Air technology doesn’t need much of an introduction. Your grandma remembers seeing Air Jordan commercials 25 years ago, your dad wears Air Monarchs while mowing the lawn and your little sister skates wearing SB Dunks with… you guessed it, Zoom Air. Many sneakerheads think the Air Max 1 was the first Nike shoe with Air cushioning, and that’s a fair assumption with ‘1’ in its name. The ‘1’ actually refers to the 1st shoe with Visible Air. Nike’s inaugural “Air dweller” was the Tailwind! Nike initially gifted the Tailwind to runners in 1978, and the shoes formally dropped in 1979.
The revolutionary cushioning ‘Air bags’ were created by NASA scientist Frank Rudy; he approached Nike two years earlier (1977) with the technology thinking it would work well in shoes. Boy, was Frank right! Fast forward 40 years and Air’s presence can literally be felt across Nike’s vast footwear catalog. A lot has changed since the Tailwind’s simple internal Air unit; now Nike has a fleet of Air options from light and springy Zoom Air (formerly Tensile Air) to big and plush Air Max 270 units. Love for the Tailwind remains strong with Nike’s (fairly consistent) annual retooling of the shoe. Along with the Pegasus and React lines, the Tailwind is a key model for Nike Running, and they’re one of the Swoosh’s most poplar runner options. Next time you’re walking down the street look down at the feet of a 27-45 year old person and see if they have new Tailwinds on… we bet you’ll find at least one person per day – that’s how comfy these bad boys are.
Nike retro’ed the OG Tailwind yesterday for the first time since 2012. This year’s rendition ditched the ‘aged’ look of ’12’s retro and opted for a new, clean, aesthetic dressed in the shoe’s OG colorway. The addition of retro quarter socks are a nice touch too. The Tailwind retro can be picked up for a cool $100; cop them now via the SNKRS app and peep some Tailwinds of years past below.