First introduced in 1978, and officially released to the masses in 1979, the original Tailwind holds the distinction of being the Swoosh shoe that introduced the world to Air-Sole cushioning, effectively laying the groundwork for the brand's entire footwear strategy in the decades that followed. By 1992, the kicks had received visible Air cushioning and, a few short years later, they would join the venerable Air Max lineup. Once the turn of the new millennium had arrived, the Tailwind had officially evolved into a proper alternative to Nike's annual flagship Air Max release.
In fact, 1999's Air Max Tailwind IV may has well have been called the Air Max 99. The first Tailwind to offer both heel and forefoot Air cushioning, the Air Max Plus–inspired IV also showcased the Swoosh runner's boldest upper yet, making the shoe an obvious go-to for the running and sportswear obsessed alike.
With the OG 'Volt' look finally returning for the first time in 20 years, we're taking a look back at the lead-up to the best-ever Tailwind, and why Nike may never be able to top 1999's fleet-footed drop.