Tinker Hatfield : biography
Tinker Haven Hatfield, Jr. (b. April 30, 1952, Hillsboro, Oregon), is the designer of many of Nike’s most popular and innovative athletic shoe designs, including the Air Jordan III through Air Jordan XV, the twentieth anniversary Air Jordan XX, the final numbered Air Jordan, the XXIII, the 2010 (XXV) 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. Accessed: May 24, 2012.
Honors and awards
- One of Sportstyle Magazine’s most influential people on the business side of sports, 1993 & 1996
- One of Fortune magazine’s "100 Most Influential Designers" of the 20th century, 1998
- Ellis F. Lawrence Medal, University of Oregon School of Architecture and Allied Arts, 2008
- Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, Special Contribution to Sport, 2008
Hatfield joined Nike in 1981, and in 1985 started working on shoe design. He realized that his architectural skills could be applied to athletic shoes. Hatfield was also published for the architectural design of his Portland, Oregon home. 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 90 shoe, first released in 1990.
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.
Hatfield’s younger brother, Tobie Hatfield, joined Nike in 1990 as a senior engineer.
Hatfield grew up in 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." No sloucher himself, 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 as the 1970 Johnny Carpenter Prep Athlete of the Year for Oregon high schoolers. He then 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 B.Arch. degree from the University of Oregon School of Architecture.
Tinker Hatfield was the lead designer of Air Jordans III through XV, XX, and XX3. Additionally, Hatfield co-designed Air Jordans 2010 and XX8.