Vintage Heat: Air Max Turbulence

Being an obscure release from the archives, the Air Turbulence isn’t one of those shoes that you see pop-up too often. As with the Air Tailwind, the Turbulence changed form and design gradually over time with each evolution in running, but this original variant is still a underappreciated classic. We got our hands on a clean pair of 1999 Air Turbulences from vintage collector Luis Coello so lets dive into an in-depth look at these heaters!

There’s a lot to love about the Air Turbulence. One of it’s nicest little details is the addition of the PSI measurement sitting above the midsole, detailing the amount of pressure contained within the unit. Due to counterfeiters Nike no longer shares the PSIs of their Air bags to defend against frauds, so it’s a nice, historic, touch to see the ’25 PSI’ proudly displayed above the Air bubble. The Turbulence made gradient fades cool before anyone else knew it was cool and the overall look provided runners with something purely ‘different’. With all that uniqueness in mind the ’99 Turbulence does remind us of another great 1999 Nike shoe… the Garnet 3!

What a beautifully muted faded!


You can see it now right? they’re not a perfect match but we can feel the inspiration. From the horizontal flowing lines throughout the upper to the tooling, Nike most def shared some design inspirations between the two silhouettes.

Luis Coello and his Air Turbulence

What makes the 1999 Air Turbulence special? Why did it speak to both Luis and myself so strongly? Well for Luis, it was his first pair of thrifted and they started his ‘love of the hunt’; sneakerheads know this feeling… the euphoric rush of acquiring a cherished pair… winning a sneaker raffle, making a trade, finding a gem at a thrift store… they’re all part of the hunt for the perfect pair (S/O to Kenny). There’s nothing better than finding some vintage gold and Luis says it best, “people collect cus of hype, I want to collect stuff that people don’t have, shoes less seen, it’s about showing people what they haven’t seen.” No doubt the Air Turbulence will snap some curious necks in the streets.

Note the beautiful green jewel-like Swoosh; it’s unique because it’s pressed directly into the upper and the stitching curves around the Swoosh.

Above: We get a great view of the PSI printed above the heel unit, a nice touch that shows how ‘techy’ Nike was getting with their shoes. A wrap-around strip of upper nylon covers the Achilles region providing added heel lockdown and stability without having to add a dedicated heel cap.

Durable nubuk shows up on the toebox for a nice touch of dark color.

In our opinion, what makes footwear released during the turn of the millennium was the mix of new technology and old technique. The Turbulence’s outsole and midsole adhere to tired and true methods of Nike Running with BRS-1000 rubber and an Air heel unit; but the uppers try something new. Much like the Air Max Deluxe, Nike showed no fear in reinventing what an upper should look like.

This point of view gives us a great look at the Turbulence’s gradient fade. Branding on this shoe is perfect too, not too much, not too little and we particularly love the spiral swoosh at the base of the laces. Please Nike, give us a retro of these bad boys so fans can lace up wearable pairs again! Would you cop if a retro dropped? Be sure to stay tuned for more vintage heat throughout the coming weeks!

Super dope view of the sunset effect on the shoe’s underbelly aka bottom of the Air unit seen through the outsole.


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