DesignBoom: what has been the most satisfying project you have worked on during your time at NIKE?
Tinker Hatfield: that's a difficult question to answer without upsetting someone! (laughs) but some of the ones that stand out in my mind are the AIR JORDAN 11, the AIR MAX ONE and the NIKE AIR HUARACHE.
the AIR MAX ONE was a sort of revelation on how to design a shoe and tell stories through design and of course it sold very well.
the NIKE AIR HUARACHE was special because it came straight out of left field. I designed that shoe after a water-skiing experience, the use of neoprene got me thinking how it could be used on a shoe. I loved that project because it wasn't typical of my work at the time, in that I wasn't working with an athlete but basing the design on my own direct experience of water-skiing. that was a provocative shoe because people weren't sure about it - most people at NIKE didn't want to produce it but the marketing director at the time did. he manufactured 5000 of them and took them to the new york marathon and sold them all in just three days. that validated the design. we sold well over half a million pairs of that shoe over the next year.
I also really enjoyed the AIR JORDAN 11. everyone told me to stop designing AIR JORDANs because michael had decided to retire but I said no, it doesn't matter and continued with the project. of course he came back and ended up winning a championship in that shoe.