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The Nike Tuned Air damping in detail

December 6, 2021 9:00 PM
The Nike Tuned Air damping in detail

Hello community, today we are talking about the infamous Tuned Air technology. This damping technology became famous with the Nike Air Max Plus models, but what exactly makes this damping so special and how does it actually work?

Nike Air Max Plus

The beginnings of Nike Air

Let's start with Air technology in general: The sneaker community first saw it in 1978 in the Air Tailwind. The idea of incorporating Air into a sneaker was implemented by former NASA engineer Frank Rudy. The basic idea was to add air to a shoe, similar to a tyre.

In 1987, Tinker Hatfield designed the legendary Nike Air Max 1 with a small window in the sole, which made the Air technology visible for the first time. Compressed air was pressed into small, robust and very flexible bubbles located in the sole. These capsules not only provide an incredibly comfortable feel, but also offer more flexibility and springiness with every movement.

Of course, the Swoosh Brand is known for innovation, so the Air Max Plus 1998 got a reworked technology from 'Nike Air'. Dear community, now it's getting a bit scientific. The new capsules were designed with a multi-layer membrane made from two different polymers (chemical compounds). In lighter terms, these new materials allow the bladders to inflate and deflate themselves. This makes for an even better wearing experience.

This is what makes Tuned Air damping special

And the Tuned Air? The TN models were designed by Sean McDowell and are still incredibly popular today. What makes them so special is, among other things, the design of the air system. In the first Tn model, which was originally intended as a running shoe, the air units were installed opposite each other in the heel and the toe as a special feature.

McDowell added further features to achieve performance advantages in sports with its cushioning. This was also visually reflected in the distinctive sole, where the Air Units were then also highlighted in colour.

“I called out the different hemispheres in the rubber because you couldn't really see them on the medial side, so you didn't know if there was any new technology,”

Sean McDowell

A few years after the official release of the Air Max Plus, the Kicks got an unofficial rebranding and the name TN was born. The Tuned Air technology also got its own logo, which we still see on the Kicks today. Let's take a closer look at the individual TN models of the last few years.

McDowell, the designer behind the Nike Air Max Plus, designed the sneaker before he ever worked for Nike

Fun fact

Nike Air Max Plus

As already mentioned, the first Nike Air Max Plus came out in 1998. The Tuned Air cushioning could be admired in several places on the sole. Not only the Air technology leads to the great fame of the sneaker, but also the TPU elements on the upper and the distinctive silhouette. Reflective elements were also used on the upper, which was not common at the time.

Below we present a few popular colorways.


Nike Air Max Plus

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Nike Air Tuned Max

A year later, in 1999, the Nike Air Tuned Max 99 came onto the market. This sneaker, unlike the Air Max Plus, had a full-length, visible Air system on the heel.

Here you have some nice colorways, because the kicks were reissued in 2021.

Nike Tuned Air 2

The Nike Tuned Air 2 was released in 2000 and also got a completely new look. The typical Tuned Air cushioning was of course still used. In direct comparison to the Air Max Plus, you notice that this shoe is much chunkier and higher.

Nike Tuned Air 3

A few years later, the third version was released. The Nike Air Max Plus 3 or Tuned Air 3 was equipped with the same cushioning as its predecessor. The sneaker with its new design brought out the Tuned Air cushioning in a new way and is still one of the sneaker bestsellers today.


Nike Air Max Plus 3

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Nike Air Max Plus Terrascape

Jumping into 2021, the Nike Air Max Plus Terrascape is the latest Air Max Plus model on the market. The shoe combines the latest cushioning technology, modern design and is also sustainably designed.

Dear community, now you are not only more familiar with Nike's Tuned Air, but you also know some very nice models that use them. I'm sure the next time you wear your Tuned Air sneakers you'll pay attention to how comfortable they are.

You can shop for other Nike Air Max Plus models in our sneaker search engine, where you'll also find an overview of prices, shops and sizes. See you next time.