Raising a glass to a legend of the game, Nike’s all-new Air Max 1 ‘Sketch to Shelf’ celebrates the iconic silhouette with a design inspired by Tinker Hatfield’s original artwork. But before we delve into the shoe’s fanciful features, let’s first take a look at Tinker’s seminal journey with Nike.
Initially employed by Nike as an architect, Hatfield started his career designing buildings for Nike’s Oregon campus in 1981 – not branching out into the world of footwear design until 1985. The Air Max 1 is arguably his most famous design and the story goes that Tinker drew inspiration from the eccentric Centre Pompidou in Paris, where the transparent architecture allowed you to see the inner workings of the cultural hotspot.
The building’s design struck a chord with his architectural background and inspired the exposed air bubble aesthetic of the Air Max 1. Although Air-tech had been present inside the midsole’s of several of Nike’s releases in the years previous – debuting in Frank Rudy’s 1978 Air Tailwind – the general consensus was that the shock-absorbing feature should be felt but not seen.
But Hatfield ignored his peers and in 1987 he was proved right when the Air Max 1’s release revolutionised the footwear world forever. Going on to inspire a catalogue of Air Max models, the original was the first shoe from Nike to feature a visible Air unit in the midsole – which provided a window into the cushioning technology at work.
Admiring the model’s famed design, this ‘Sketch to Shelf’ iteration dresses the silhouette with an unpolished, hand-drawn aesthetic. Lifted straight from Hatfield’s rough sketches, scribble-like patterning makes up the pair’s leather uppers. The doodled design features additional personal touches, such as the handwritten wording throughout the uppers, while the inside of the sock-liner warns “SKETCH, PROPERTY OF NIKE, NOT FOR RESALE”. The drawn-in look continues underfoot with the model’s translucent outsole highlighting further design sketches, and the usual air-fuelled midsole ensures you’ll remain comfortable all day long.
The Nike Air Max 1 Tinker ‘Sketch to Shelf’ will be available on Friday 16th August via the size? website and in selected size? stores, priced at £130 and available in both men’s and women’s sizes.