A LOOK BACK AT A LEGACY OF AIR MANUFACTURING INNOVATION.

1968

Tetra Plastics, started in 1964, opens a new plant in Chesterfield, Missouri. Innovation and manufacturing capabilities rapidly expand, impacting everything from nuclear power plant construction to the cross-bar in the Hi-flier kite, keeping the toy in the air.

1972

Tetra becomes the first U.S. company to successfully develop and manufacture critical components for snow and water skis. The Action sports industry is no longer dependent on European suppliers.

1977

Marion Frank Rudy, an aerospace engineer and inventor, and his business partner, Bob Bogert pitch their version of footwear’s future to Phil Knight: an airbag cushioning system. Knight goes for a test run. A partnership is born.

1978

The Tailwind, the first shoe to use the new Air technology, debuts at the Honolulu Marathon.

1981

Tetra begins working with Nike to develop a proprietary extrusion process and what will become the Nike Air sole cushioning system.

1987

Air technology captures the world’s imagination with the release of the Air Max 1 and debut of visible Air for the proprietary heel cushioning Air sole.

1991

Tetra adds another proprietary innovation to the arsenal. Blow-molding allows the Air system to be totally visible in the heel and creates maximum cushioning. Tetra is purchased by Nike, ensuring its role as the sole supplier of Air sole cushioning materials to Nike worldwide.

1993

Blow-molding is debuted in the Air Max 93. It is a significant step forward in the pursuit of a foamless shoe, and a testament to the drive of the Tetra team whose plant was shut down by a devastating flood in the same year. Symbolizing the shoe that boasted the first fully-visible air wedge, the Air Max 93 is heralded as the cornerstone of visible Air, setting new standards of cushioning.

1995

Tetra moves into the current 220,000 square foot plant located in the Missouri Research Park in St. Charles.

1998

Tetra Plastics officially becomes Nike IHM, Inc., a subsidiary of NIKE, Inc.

2006

The first fully foamless shoe is achieved in the Air Max 360. Nearly 20 years after the first Air Max, Caged Air technology makes it possible.

2016

Nike In-House Manufacturing (IHM) is rebranded Nike Air Manufacturing Innovation (Air MI).

2017

The Air MI location in Oregon celebrates facility expansion, taking up residence in the Tailwind building, named after the historic shoe. Oregon Governor Kate Brown marks the occasion by proclaiming October 6 as Manufacturing Day in the state.

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