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Designer Spotlight: Tinker Hatfield

When you hear “Air Jordan” most people think Michael Jordan but sneakerheads undoubtedly think of Tinker Hatfield. The iconic cement print of the Jordan 3 to the extended tongue of the Jordan 15 are all a product of the Nike design legend. Jordan and Tinker quickly forged bond that changed Nike and the shoe world. Virtually every immortalized Jordan moment was in a pair of shoes Tinker designed. Michael Jordan’s extraordinary feats propelled Tinker’s creations to unbelievable heights. As Michael’s legend expanded his shoes became more fabled with every soaring dunk and implausible contested jumper.

 

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From the 3s worn 1988 during Jordan flight from the free throw line to win the Dunk Contest, the 4s worn during Game 5 against Cleveland in ‘89 when he hit “The Shot” over Craig Ehlo to send the Bulls to the next round of the playoffs, the 6s he wore during his first championship win over Magic Johnson and the LA Lakers, his outstretched planet-saving dunk in the 11s in Space Jam (the second best shoe in cinema history), down to his last shot as a member of the Chicago Bulls in 1998 in the 14s these instances are equally a part of both Jordan and Tinker’s mythos.

 

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These moments alone serve to make Tinker one of the most influential designers of all time and that’s just a tiny piece of his legacy. Hatfield also designed the Air Max 1, Air Max 90 and the famed auto-lacing Nike Air Mag from Back to the Future Part 2 (the best shoe in cinema history). As one of the members of the esteemed Nike Innovation Kitchen Hatfield once said “Innovation at Nike is not about dreaming of tomorrow. It’s about accelerating toward it.”

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Tinker is still innovating today as Vice-President of Creative Concepts at Nike. Most recently he brought the self-lacing capabilities of the Air Mag to reality using it in both the Air Mag and the Nike HyperAdapt.

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