December 28th, 2012 by Sneaker News
Is there anything Tinker Hatfield can’t/didn’t do? That hallowed name is of course most connected with the likes of the Nike Air Max and Air Jordan legacies, but carving out those massive lanes in sneaker history apparently just wasn’t enough to keep him busy back in the 80s. Coming to fruition in 1987, one of the all-time greatest years for Nike designs (check the vintage catalog shots if you need the proof), were a few more Tinker helmed classics that pushed the envelope in their own right and have since gone on to individual legendary status.
One such achievement was the Nike Air Safari, the Biz Markie approved sneaker that was of the earliest Nike performance offerings to lean towards the luxury realm in its aspirations. The story goes that Hatfield was out in NYC looking for inspiration when he stumbled across a particularly fancy ostrich skin sofa in a high end furniture store. A clerk present kicked him out of the store while explaining that that sort of high end piece was out of Tinker’s range, sparking a bit of inspiration for the young designer. What if he could somehow pull down that lux feel and make it available to the commoners? What if an everyman sneaker could integrate that snooty air to its own end? Hatfield brought it all to fruition in bold fashion and the game-changing Nike Air Safari was born.
Another of Tinker’s 1987 marvels was the Nike Air Trainer 1, the strapped down performance animal that brought idea of a multi-sport cross-trainer shoe to the masses. The release was included in the same “Air Pack” as the aforementioned Nike Air Safari, Air Max 1, Air Revolution, and Air Sock, this huge range of offerings famously introduced to the world via the classic Wieden+Kennedy curated ‘Revolution’ commercial. Did we mention that sports luminaries like John McEnroe and the master of all trades Bo Jackson wore the sneaker in its early years to cement its place in the public eye? Just another day at the office for the mindblowingly prolific Mr. Hatfield.
Both the Nike Air Safari and the Air Trainer 1 were brought back for a 25th anniversary celebration this year, the Trainer 1 adopting the look of the latter, drenched with its burnt orange and black combo in the ‘Safari Pack’ that hit stores in limited numbers back in June. The Safari appeared in a number of colorways and alternate versions over the course of the year with the Trainer 1 getting a few new looks as well, highlighted by the October return of the original ‘Chlorophyll’ colorway. While Nike put quite a bit more stock into celebrating the 30th birthday of their biggest basketball sneaker of all time, consumers seemed pretty happy that the 25 year milestone shared by these two Tinker masterpieces was not overlooked.
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