The unit made out of air worked to perfection, but with the intention of giving it a technological flair, Nike covered the first Tailwind with a metallic material that would later come off. The racers ended up with destroyed sneakers, but they looked for a way to get them again. The Tailwind didn’t work, but the air did.
AIR MAX TAILWIND IV, OBJECTIVE; SUBVERTING THE LEGACY
When Nike decided to put air in their sneakers, they gave it the name of Tailwind because it had to work as an advantage for runners. That crazy idea by Frank Rudy, a long-time NASA engineer, was crystallised in a model that had to be tried on first in its own habitat, the race. It was in 1978, a few privileged people could get it at the marathon racer’s trade show in Honolulu. Despite all of the warnings, many of them wore them for the first time at a marathon… and the story didn’t end well.
The history of the Air units is well-known, however, many have forgotten that first sneaker. During the next seasons, the Tailwind (that didn’t have AIR in the name) disappeared in benefit of other models in which the air capsules were evolving. The Tailwind name disappeared from the catalogues and also from history
In 1992, Nike recovered the Air Tailwind name, a sneaker with many of the characteristics from the nineties, daring colour combinations, superimposed layers of Air Max units in the heel. Even though it also had a special edition for Kenyan athletes, the true success of the new Tailwind reached the streets, starting a saga that had its highest expression in the Tailwind IV.
Designed at the same time as the Air Max Plus, the popular TN, it shares with it the design of the Air units (except for its interior Tuned technology) and much of its impressive design of the nineties later years; an asymmetric toe, pieces of thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) with a fluorescent ombré, reflective elements and colour in the interior of the Air Max units. In a moment in which sneakers were associated with a geographic location, the Tailwind IV became a success in Australia, first with graffiti artists and later between dealers. They were the unofficial sneakers of prisons, to the point that they ended up being well-known as the Tailwind. A long-lost history that Supreme has been able to reinterpret with its special edition.
What started as a sneaker for runners it ended up telling the stories of the streets. After all, in one way or another, it’s about asphalt.