Alas! Nike pays homage to one of their most influential shoes, The Air Max 1, by announcing 03.26.2014 as the first official Air Max Day.
Today, when you think of Nike, one of two (if not both) things come to mind: Michael Jordan and Air. No, not the former’s nickname, but visible air on the heel of your foot. According to Sneaker Freaker, “seeing is truly believing, and Tinker Hatfield‘s inspired idea to open up the midsole to inquiring minds was the master stroke that heralded a new era of Nike Supremacy.” And supremacy it was. While Nike had incorporated Air into it’s Tailwind shoe, that released in ’78, it had not been visible. With then new-guy Tinker Hatfield looking to push boundaries, history was made and it signaled the start of a blooming future for the company.
The Air Max 1’s inspiration started with a trip to the Pompidou Centre in Paris. According to Hatfield, “[In 1987] Nike was going through a period of flattening growth and sales… The only thing that was propping us up at the time was the Air Jordan line.” He adds, “Around that time, I took a trip to the Pompidou Centre… It was really cool because the outside design was all about showing the inside. So I came back from Paris and I drew this shoe that basically eliminated part of the midsole…”
However, not only running shoes were affected by this visible shift in what sneakers would look like, it set the standard for basketball footwear too. In case you were unaware, Tinker Hatfield is the designer behind some of the most coveted Air Jordans; specifically, numbers III-XV, XX, and XX3. He also designed the iconic Air Mag, made famous by Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly in Back To The Future II.
-Jamaal Fisher (@jamaalfisher)
Check out some of Tinker’s early sketches of the Air Max below.