Nike’s Air Tailwind 79 Sneakers were actually first used in 1978, during marathon season before getting a wider release the following year. What’s most noteworthy is that it was the first Nike shoe to use the Nike Air technology in the sole of the Tailwind. At the time, this was trailblazing technology – a pad of pressured air in the midsole that would never deflate – and a way to provide extra support and comfort for the Tailwind’s user. I’m sure younger readers will get a chuckle out of this ‘technological innovation’ from Nike, but for this style (and the proceeding Nike Air Max Technology uses), it was the functionality of the Tailwind running shoe that created a stir at the time.
The Nike Air Tailwind 79 Now
There have been a variety of releases of the Tailwind since the original, including in 1999 with the well-cushioned (and super 90s looking) Airmax Tailwind 4 and other versions like the Air Tailwind 92 Sneakers. Not surprisingly, these vintage shoes have become in demand and thankfully, Nike has reintroduced the Tailwind 79 and even has done some collabs such as the Netflix show Strangers Things.
In general, this is a shoe that most consumers say fits true to size, is comfortable, and stylish. The company has been rolling out a number of colorways for the Tailwind 79. Some are the basic old-school black and white, and a few are, a little more bright (read: blinding).
The pair I have made me feel like I was walking a little taller, and fit pretty well. The tongue is a bit odd – as I believe it’s the original style with the Nike Air Tailwind 79 has a Nike swoosh logo patch on the tongue. I also have hiked in the shoes around Yosemite and used them for long “old man” walks and my feet never got blisters or felt sore. They did feel a bit snug so if anything, and with mid-90s weather and black cotton socks, my feet felt hot. A few reviewers I’ve seen mentioned they run wider than normal, but again, when it comes to shoes truly everyone’s foot is different so collect as many data points as you can.
I do not think that these would hold up in a 2022 Marathon as well as they did in the late 70s, but, most customer reviews (and my own experience), say the Nike Air Tailwind 79’s are pretty durable, comfortable everyday shoes.
One note is some reviews say the Tailwind 79 may take you a bit longer than usual to break in and some consumers note they are “tough” – many in a good way, others less so:
“When wearing these for the first time they ARE tough. I had to take them off for a while as the arch hadn’t softened, therefore my sole wasn’t seating properly and they started giving me ankles pain. For a while a I thought the sizing on this model was different, I got 10 D, but after 1-2 days of use they became softer and now I’m using them all day long.”
Another review that is helpful:
“These remind me of the very first pair of Nikes that I got back in 1981 (the ones that I had to beg my mother to pay $35 for). I wouldn’t use these for actual running as they seem more for fashion than anything else, but I’m okay with that. I did wear them on a trip to an amusement park, and they felt fine after walking all day – no blisters or problems.”
And I agree. They look cool, with the old school “Nike” on the back, come in many colorways (when you can find them, many colors are unavailable) and in general are a durable, stylish all-day shoe. You may just not want to run a marathon in them unless you have a time machine back to 1978/1979.