Modern sports shoes have an exposed air pocket underneath the heel and we often wear the same shoe to do multiple sports, but this wasn’t always the case. These seemingly small inventions are now commonplace, but originated in the mind of designer Tinker Hatfield.  Hatfield studied architecture at college and was an athlete competing at college level. He was coached by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman who was such an inspiration to him that he started working for Nike after leaving college.

Hatfield’s background studying architecture has been a huge influence in how he designs his shoes.  The iconic air pocket in Nike Air Jordans and now in many sports shoes was something that he came up with after looking at the architecture of the Centre Pompidou in Paris and re-imagining it as a shoe design.  Hatfield has collaborated with many athletes and has a long-standing working relationship with basketball star Michael Jordan who has been the muse for several of Hatfield’s shoe inventions. Hatfield designs with a sense of purpose and for better athleticism, but he draws his inspiration from a wide variety of sources including movies such as Back To The Future.

Hatfield’s shoe inventions have been  transformative to the sporting industry and even simple concepts such as showing the inside workings of shoes on the outside have become the “normal” way to make them.

Tinker Hatfield is a particularly interesting visionary because of his scope for exploring new ideas and breaking conventions that have  led to him to come up with new and exciting concepts.

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