Air Jordans

by Gabe Ziaukas

The Air Jordan is both a basketball shoe and a fashion icon. The design of the shoe addresses the needs of the athletes who wear it on the court, but also serves as a staple in street wear fashion in a way that is almost iconic. Tinker Hatfield, the shoe’s designer, managed to engage both the object’s utility and desirability in terms of something that is cool, chic, and useful. The previous reviewer addresses Hatfield’s design strategy and discusses the product’s utility.

While watching the Netflix series “Abstract”, I learned about Tinker Hatfield and the Nike Air Jordan. The most impressive part of Hatfield’s design process was his understanding of the modern athlete’s needs. He began with creating a shoe that best served the needs of the athlete, and then the aesthetics came later. He pushed the box with the design of the shoe, some of which risked losing a lot of money; he eventually began to start trends. An example of Tinker’s innovative design is E.A.R.L, or Electro Adaptive Reactive Lacing, which allows for basketball player’s feet to breathe while they’re taking a free throw or sitting on the bench.

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Tinker Hatfield discusses that his goal as a designer is not to be self-expressive- it is to solve the problem. I like this simple approach to creating a product; however while it sounds simple, creating the best solution possible may be a daunting task. It seems helpful to have this foundation and be able to come back to this mantra. He designs for the consumer rather than for himself.

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