Tinker Hatfield

Air Jordan XI

nike mag

Tinker Hatfield (b. 1952) is the designer of many of Nike’s most popular and innovative athletic shoe designs, including the Air Jordan 3 through Air Jordan 15, the twentieth anniversary Air Jordan, the Air Jordan XXIII, XXV, XXIX, and other athletic sneakers including the world’s first ‘cross training’ shoes, the Nike Air Trainer. Hatfield oversees Nike’s ‘Innovation Kitchen.’ He is Nike’s Vice President for Design and Special Projects.

He attended the University of Oregon, where he ran track for coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman, and at one time had the pole-vault record at the school. Academically, he studied architecture and graduated with a degree from the University of Oregon School of Architecture. Hatfield joined Nike in 1981, and in 1985 started working on shoe design, believing that his architectural skills could be applied to footwear. 

Hatfield grew up on Halsey in Linn County, Oregon, ‘son of the late Tinker Hatfield Sr., a legendary figure in Oregon coaching circles who won three straight state Class AA titles during his son’s time at Central Linn.’ Tinker Jr. was an all-state selection as basketball player, football player, and an All-American in track and field at Central Linn High School, leading to him being named the 1970 Johnny Carpenter Prep Athlete of the Year for Oregon high schoolers.

He claims to have designed the cross-trainer as a ‘multi-sport’ shoe when he realized people at his Oregon gym brought various sneakers with them for diverse activities such as basketball, aerobics, weightlifting, and jogging. In 1987, Tinker Hatfield designed the Air Max 1 Running Shoe after visiting the Centre Georges Pompidou; and the Infrared Air Max 1 shoe, first released in 1990. In 2014, Hatfield indicated that Nike would unveil a shoe with power-lacing technology, as worn by Marty McFly in the 1989 film Back to the Future Part II, which partially takes place in the year 2015. He also created the graphic design on the basketball court at the Matthew Knight Arena at the University of Oregon; the facility opened in 2011.

 

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