The OG Nike Tailwind was one of the crucial vital fashions in Swoosh historical past, having been the primary to characteristic an Air unit within the sole. That silhouette made a triumphant return because the Air Tailwind 79 towards the tip of 2018, and now it seems a sneaker from the identical lineage is about to affix it. Following a number of leaks and teasers, indicators level to the Air Max Tailwind Four being the subsequent Supreme x Nike collaboration.

Supreme, in fact, has a longstanding partnership with Nike, courting again to 2002’s SB Dunk Low. Lately, Supreme has made a degree of reviving forgotten or much less heralded Nike silhouettes, together with the Air Streak Spectrum Plus, Uptempo, Air Max 98, and Humara. Now, with these Air Max Tailwind Four rumors swirling, that strategy appears set to proceed into Spring/Summer time 2019. However there is extra to the Tailwind story than a possible Supreme collab.

The Air Max Tailwind line reached the peak of its recognition within the ’90s, though it has lived on within the 21st century because the Air Max Tailwind+ vary. Tailwinds have been by no means as celebrated as their cousins the Air Max 97 or Air Max 1, however the Air Max Tailwind 4, first launched in 1999, did get a stint on NIKEiD as a customizable possibility. Nonetheless, the mannequin by no means actually caught round in the identical means as different Air Max fashions.

Nike Tailwind OG

Again within the ’70s, NASA aerospace engineer Marion Franklin Rudy (aka Frank Rudy) was engaged on encapsulating dense gases in rubber membranes when he realized his invention may very well be used as foot cushioning. Including an “air bag” to a shoe’s midsole would lower a footstep’s affect on the physique. Rudy’s concept was apparently rejected by a number of footwear producers — till he introduced it to Nike in 1977.

Nike used Rudy’s expertise to create the primary sneaker with an Air unit hidden within the midsole (seen airbags would are available 1987 with the Air Max 1). That sneaker, the Nike Tailwind, bought a restricted launch in Hawaii forward of the 1978 Honolulu Marathon. The sneaker offered out and subsequently bought a full launch in 1979, therefore final 12 months’s retro being named the Air Tailwind 79.

The OG Tailwind’s successor took greater than a decade to look. In 1992, Nike launched the Air Tailwind 92, full with seen Air bubble within the heel and a extra trendy, tech-focused design with a breathable leather-based and mesh higher. 4 years later, Nike rebranded the Tailwind into the Air Max line, beginning with the Air Max Tailwind 96, whose cumbersome, technical design was an evolution of the Tailwind’s look and, maybe extra importantly, an indication of issues to return.

In 1997, the Air Max Tailwind 2 took a extra streamlined strategy, in keeping with the path Air Max fashions have been taking on the time. That 12 months, in fact, noticed the debut of the not dissimilar Air Max 97. Like its modern, the Air Max Tailwind 2 had a “wave” impact on the higher and a mini Swoosh (an indicator of a number of ’90s Tailwinds).

The following in line, 1998’s chunkier Air Max Tailwind 3, acquired an asymmetrical design on its reworked higher. It additionally featured hints of the “ribs” we might see on the subsequent Tailwind mannequin.

Nike Air Tailwind 4

When it hit in 1999, the daring Air Max Tailwind Four was a large leap from what had come earlier than by way of design, with its standout ribbing alongside the perimeters and breathable mesh/artificial mixture on the higher. For the primary time, seen Air bubbles have been included within the forefoot, a design characteristic that had debuted on the Air Max 95.

Based on Vice, in a curious subplot of the Tailwind story, such was the recognition and expense of the Air Max Tailwind Four in Australia, it grew to become referred to as “essentially the most stolen shoe in Australian shoplifting historical past,” incomes the footwear the nickname “Jailwinds.” One other idea is that the nickname stemmed from the sneaker’s ribbed sides wanting like jail bars.

Former inmates interviewed by Vice mentioned that, together with the excessive worth making them covetable, the Tailwind 4’s consolation was essential in jail. As one inmate put it, “Everybody needed them as a result of they have been so snug and in jail there’s nothing to do all day however minimize laps of the yard and stretch the legs. We’re on our toes all day, so that you need to be in one thing comfortable.”

From marathons to jail yards and now a Supreme collaboration, the Tailwind has come a good distance. The Air Max Tailwind Four may not have pulled up many timber in its first life (other than in Australia, it appears), however there’s no doubting it deserves its place in sneaker historical past, even when it did not change the sport fairly just like the OG Tailwind. With ’90s-style runners trending proper now, it’s straightforward to see why Nike and Supreme need to convey the Tailwind Four again. Simply do not steal it.

If you’d like a deeper dive into Nike’s Air Max footwear, watch the video beneath.


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