I got 2 words for you…..Tinker Hatfield. If you do not know who this person is and what he means to sneaker culture in general, please by all means, drink bleach…..in a dirty glass….no ice. Tinker Hatfield is to the sneaker what the color blue is to the Smurf colony. He is the Steve Wozniak of the sneaker world. Chances are, if you’re reading this right now, you have one of his creations either on your feet or buried away in your closet. Tinker Hatfield was hired by Nike in 1981 and in 1985; he began his career in shoe design. During his long and celebrated career as lead designer, he has created some gems including the Air Max 1 and the Infrared Air Max 1990. But no series of sneaker takes precedence to what he has done with the Jordan Brand. This sneaker demigod is responsible for blessing us with the Air Jordan III thru XV, XX, and XX3.
Originally released in 1988, the Air Jordan III set a very high bar for the Jordan Brand. In the previous year, Michael Jordan won his first Slam Dunk Contest with a memorable dunk from the foul line. A simple silhouetted snapshot of this dunk became what Hatfield would label as the “Jumpman” logo. While designing the Air Jordan III, Hatfield decided to place the Jumpman logo on the tongue thus straying away from the “Wings” logo found on the previous Air Jordan I & II. Adding the “elephant print” to the heel and toe box was also a defining moment in sneaker design history as it set the Jordans apart from any relevant sneaker competition. Ironically, MJ’s relationship with Nike was just about done had it not been for the inception of the Air Jordan III.
In 1989, the Air Jordan IV, became the first Jordan sneaker released to the global market. It originally debuted with 4 different colorways. Brooklyn’s favorite director, Spike Lee, was instrument in advertising the Jordan IV’s as they were featured in the movie, Do The Right Thing. When Michael Jordan made “The Shot” in Game 5 of the first round of the 1989 playoffs vs the Cleveland Cavaliers, he was wearing the Air Jordan IV’s.
In 1990, Tinker Hatfield did it again. Ohhhh, he’s a bad man!! The Air Jordan V featured minor elements of the AJ IV’s but overall, they took on a whole new look. I have read from several resources that Hatfield’s midsole design was inspired by the WW2 Mustang fighter planes as you can see with the shark teeth shapes on the midsole. The AJ V’s were also the first Jordan shoe to have a clear sole. 1990 was also the same year that Phil Jackson took over for Doug Collins as coach of the Chicago Bulls. That year, Jordan also took home the scoring title, All-Star, First Team and All-Defense.
25 years later, we find ourselves here…..staring at this screen on the SNKRBST site, trying to keep up to date on the newest release, upcoming events, and to possibly get a brief history lesson. Well, aren’t you a smart little student of sneaker, style and grace?! On Saturday, August 24th, retailers nationwide will be releasing the Air Jordan “Fear Pack” collection which consists of the Air Jordan III, Air Jordan IV, and Air Jordan V. Each design in the collection will feature insoles which display idealistic phrases that touch on the relationship between fear and achievement. The Air Jordan III in this pack will come in a Night Stadium/Total Orange/Black/Neutral Grey. The orange will be highlighted on the tongue with the Jumpman logo and the eyelets while sporting a black with grey speckled midsole. Air Jordan IV “Fear”, which happens to be my favorite in the set, features a stealthy look with a speckled midsole, white patch on the tongue, and nubuck upper. Completing the set is the Air Jordan V “Fear” with a fire red Jumpman logo on the tongue, olive green nubuck upper, and clear sole. Check out the images and let us know which of these freakishly fearful kicks spark your interest.
Written By: @TruJeanius