It’s almost unthinkable in 2018 – but exactly 30 years ago, Michael Jordan wasn’t too happy with his Nike partnership. He even thought about leaving the brand, which would have lead to a number all-time classic Air Jordan models not being released.
But luckily, Nike could rely on Tinker Hatfield. Fresh off his work on the Air Revolution, the now-legendary designer was given a simple task back in ’87: “Just do something with it”. Those were the words in the design brief and Hatfield definitely ran with them.
So Tinker took a plane to visit MJ and get to know him first. “We talked. I realised that he had a good sense of style. He said he wanted a pair of basketball shoes that were comfortable and fresh right out of the box, that didn’t require breaking in”, the designer recalls. So his works on what would later become the Air Jordan III relied heavily on the use of softer leather options, the Air Revolution midsole – and a mid-ankle cut. The most noticeable detail of the AJ3 as we know it of course is the absence of the Nike Swoosh.
But that was probably one of the decisions that made Michael Jordan like the shoe. The final product featured a more unattached design, which left lots of room for the athlete’s vibrant personality and paved the way for Jordan Brand to become a household name in sneakers in its own right. The man behind the shoe remembers MJ’s initial reaction on their final presentation: “Michael went from being pissed off and trying to get out of there to just looking at the shoe. He grabbed it from me. In five minutes, he was smiling and asking all kinds of questions. Within 20 minutes, the meeting was over and we had the Air Jordan III.”
If you ask Tinker though, the design as we know it is incomplete. “You can tell that the shoe was designed to have a Swoosh on it”, says Hatfield. “It looks better. It has that space right there. But at the time, it was really about making a statement and letting Jordan be his own thing”.
And now it’s time to let Tinker to his thing. That’s why Nike is releasing the Air Jordan III as it was originally sketched – with the Swoosh on it. Dressed in a “Fire Red” colorway, the b-ball sneaker assumes a look that’s classic especially on many of the early Air Jordan models.
A laid-back combination of white tumbled leather, black elephant print details and grey accents is spiced up by the bright red heel tab. Refined elements like Hatfield’s signature on the inside of the tongue, printed insoles and of course Nike Air heel branding add finishing touches to this true OG that now will finally be available to the public.
Release Details – Air Jordan 3 Tinker Hatfield (AQ3835-160)
Update April 27, 2018:
On April 30, 2018, the shoe will be available again and retailers like Trophy Room.
Also check out the Air Jordan 1 “Game Royal” that drops on the same day.
Pics via Trophy Room
Pics via Nike