It’s impossible to overstate the impact legend Tinker Hatfield has had on the evolution of sneakers and the athletic industry in general. As the brains behind some of the most seminal sneakers ever released, without him and his innovative approach to sneaker design the landscape would be vastly different to the one we know and love today.
Initially hired as an architect to work on Nike’s Oregon HQ, Hatfield and his employers quickly realised that his design skills could be used to create ground-breaking sneakers too. Hatfield then set to work crafting some of the most visionary footwear designs the world had ever seen, and the rest -as the phrase goes – is history.
In celebration of Hatfield and his extraordinary contribution to footwear design, we put together a list of his 3 most revolutionary productions; the ones that helped write the man known as “The Architect” into the annals of sneaker lore forever.
Nike Air Max 1
Hatfield’s first project to hit the shelves was the Nike Air Max 1, and anyone who hasn’t lived on the moon for the past 30 years will understand just how important a figure that makes him in sneaker culture.
Inspired by a trip to Paris where he caught sight of the Pompidou building, Hatfield came up with the unconventional idea of exposing the pockets of Air inside the trainer’s sole. Although the Air technology was nothing new, the idea of allowing the air bubble to be seen most certainly was, and some members of the team behind the scenes at Nike pushed back on what they saw as a ludicrous idea.
Thankfully, Hatfield stuck to his guns and after receiving backing from the right people, he was able to force through his idea and change the future of sneaker design forever. Not bad for a first attempt!
Air Jordan 3
With a disillusioned Michael Jordan’s contract up for renewal and Adidas making a push to steal his services, Nike needed to convince the basketball great that his future should remain under the Swoosh banner. Enter Tinker Hatfield.
Here to save the day once more, Hatfield wanted to deliver a model that set new standards in terms of both fashion and footwear tech, something Jordan would be proud to get behind. As was par for the course by now, the fabled designer duly delivered.
The latest edition of the Air Jordan line had a few new elements. As well as the grey elephant hide-like print on the upper and a visible Air unit on the shoe’s heel, in a move that was no doubt designed to get MJ back onside and make him feel front and centre to the brand’s direction, the Air Jordan 3 marked the arrival of the now iconic Jumpman logo.
The Air Jordan 3 is often referred to as “the shoe that saved the brand” and judging by the success Nike and Jordan have gone on to share together ever since, that statement could well hold some water.
Air Jordan 11
After retiring from basketball in 1993 following the death of his father, Jordan announced his return to the hardwood the following year. Across the globe people were delighted to hear the news, but perhaps nobody was more relieved than his employers at Nike, who decided to create a brand-new sneaker to mark MJ’s comeback.
Hatfield was once again commissioned to undertake the massive project, and the result was unlike anything the world had ever seen. Featuring a shiny, wraparound patent leather upper, Hatfield moved away from the articulated blocking of the 1 and 3 to create a sneaker that was truly unique at the time.
No doubt the fact Mike wore the Air Jordan 11 during the Chicago Bulls’ infamous 72-10 championship-winning season helped to cement the 11s legacy, but make no mistake about it, it was Hatfield and his innovative approach that once again revolutionised what we thought was possible Simply put, this is one of the finest sneakers ever made.
We have a wide selection of Air Jordan trainers on our resale market.