Nike Air is not a shoe.

Nike Air is not a shoe.
Nike Air is not a shoe.
This was the slogan for the world's first advertising campaign ever launched for Nike Air. But if Nike Air is not a shoe, then what is it? The Nike Air Max 90 is a shoe? So is the Nike Air Max 1! Sure, of course this is all true. "Nike Air" is a term that definitely belongs to the Nike Air Max history and is a common term for us sneaker enthusiasts as the term is found in the names of the most popular models from the brand with the swoosh.

Essentially, the words "Nike Air" describe Nike's patented cushioning technology. This means that, correctly, any model that has missed the "Air" cushioning technology will be crowned with a "Nike Air" at the beginning of the shoe model name! But who invented this technology? And does the name "Air" really have something to do with air? All this and what the whole Nike Air Max range is about can be found in our exclusive article "Air to Success - A Nike Air Max Story"! Let's go! 

It all began with an idea
Marion Franklin Rudy (that's the nice guy up there) was a talented aerospace engineer until the late 1960s. But he wanted to use his knowledge for another industry after a certain time. At that time he started to present one of his newest and most promising ideas to various companies: The insertion of airbags into the soles of sports shoes to soften the impact. As with any success story, Rudy was of course initially confronted with much rejection and mockery for his idea. He proposed his airbag innovation to a total of 23 shoe companies and all of them rejected him and his work.

But then, in 1977, he presented his vision to Phil Knight. You can almost imagine who that is now, when you consider that this will probably be the lucky turn for Rudy... - Exactly! Of course it has something to do with Nike! Phil Knight was the co-founder of the US brand.

Continue with the text: Phil Knight gave Rudy a chance and had an air-cushioned prototype shoe made. The co-captain of Nike immediately took a test run from which he returned extremely fascinated. Nike has found the "Air"!
The birth of the first Nike Air shoe
1978: That was the year when the first Nike shoes with their new airbag innovation were launched. But wait a minute! 1978? The very first Air Max came out in 1987? - The Air Max 1! Whoever knows this, has already acquired a good knowledge of sneakers. Those who didn't know it yet, know it now and can get some more knowledge on top of it in Stella's blog! Just click here "The Nike Air Max Timeline

But now further in context. The Air Max 1 is of course "THE ONE" and is actually the first Nike Air Max ever released. But it is not the first Nike shoe that has an airbag in the sole! This was the Nike Air Tailwind! This highly technical shoe was produced in a small quantity at the beginning or before a wider market introduction. For the Honololu Marathon, Nike had supplied 6 Hawaiian running shops with the good pieces shortly before the big sports event. Then the shock - the 250 pairs of shoes were sold out within 24 hours! And all this at a retail price of 50 US dollars, which was expensive for those days! This is definitely proof that it is not only the hype surrounding the Nike brand and design that keeps the "Air" on the runners' feet to this day.

Nike Air Tailwind
To give you a better picture, here is a picture of the OG-Colorway of the Nike Air Tailwind from 1978:

Nike Air Tailwind
You like this model? Well, unfortunately this colorway is not sold anymore, but there are some other cool colorways of the Nike Air Tailwind in our sneaker collection! Click on the button below for an overview

Nike Air Tailwind it is. As you can see, you see nothing. No Air-Bubbles and no Air-Unit as we know it from our beloved Nike Air Max models. Until then, Marion Franklin Rudy's new innovation hadn't been fully developed yet, so it was hidden inside the sole. But the Nike heads noticed immediately that this is an innovation with a lot of potential!

At last! The first Nike Air Max delights the world!
As we all know now, the Air Tailwind was the very first shoe with integrated "Air" technology & the Air Max 1 was the first silhouette in the endless Air Max range. But what happened to cushioning technology in the 10 years that the Air Max 1 has been around after the Air Tailwind? And who the heck is this Tinker Hatfield who is always associated with "Air Max", why hasn't he been mentioned yet?

All these questions and also how the Air technology of this popular brand has changed until today are answered in the second part of our story highlight "Air to Success - A Nike Air Max Story PART 2"!

You are an Air Max fan anyway? Then I have some really good news for you: In case you were not lucky enough to get the Atmos x Nike Air Max 90 "Reversed Duck Camo" on Air Max Day...the shoe will get a RESTOCK tomorrow at some stores! Click on the button below and see which stores will release the shoe again.