The official name was Air Max Plus Tuned, but even Nike simply refers to them as TN. The latest editions actually have a TN logo on the heel as well. Released in 98, they were one of the major design changes that took some daring new steps.
With the 97s Nike first looked at how far they could push the Air window by wrapping all around the heel and having an extended window running from heel to the toe section.
A New Window Design
The TN changed things a little, mainly because of some technical changes to the way the air cushion was designed and structured. You’ll clearly notice that there is a notch missing in the profile of the sole, right about where your arch would be.
The Airmax Tuned quickly became a cult classic amongst street teens, admired for its high price, comfort and general rule breaking nature that the shoe seemed to give off. The average person would not go near Air Max tuned and it was reserved for the fringe characters.
This allure quickly turned the once outlier shoe into a cult classic, with communities online such as tntalk with 10,000s of active followers sharing ideas and communicating over their love for all things tuned.
Because of this, there was no way to have an uninterrupted window, but people were reacting very positively to being able to see more of the inner workings.
So, the designer decided to implement two windows on each side of the heel, with the outside one reaching all the way to the back. And there are two each side of the front section.
But this was only the first step to creating something rather revolutionary. What you’ll notice on all the original colourways is the colour gradient that is synonymous with airmax Tuned. Since then there has been a never ending onslaught of crazy colourways that never cease to amaze and excite die-hard fans.
They were also the first sneakers that put reflective strips on the front part. It had been common to have them on the back, but most runners would aim to run into traffic to see what’s coming. It certainly made sense to put them there, just strange that nobody had thought of it before.
For running, they were perfect. So good, that they are still being made today.
And for hip hop, they immediately became another classic, particularly in Australia and Germany.
At this stage hip hop was well and truly becoming a lot more popular. Some fans complained that it became very mainstream and that’s why it was accepted onto the main charts.
There is some truth to that, but there were still so many great artists that stuck with the original rap and hip-hop ideals.
OutKast released Aquemini, which was very well received and showed a lot of musical genius from musicians that understood more than just how to rap.
Public Enemy released a long-anticipated album called He Got Game. In some ways it was quite confusing because there were a lot of different musical influences in there, but it worked really well and was a big hit.
It was also the year that the Black Eyed Peas released their first studio album called Behind the Front. I know, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea as it did have a very mainstream ring to a lot of the more popular tracks. But there are still some catchy tunes in there.