Artist Spotlight: Legendary Designer Tinker Hatfield

With a name like Tinker Hatfield, the famous shoe designer and architect seems destined for fame. Tinker Hatfield is an American designer and currently the Vice President for Design and Special Projects at Nike, best known for his work on the Air Jordan brand, including the Air Jordan III (credited for saving Jordan’s relationship with Nike), the Air Max 1, and other iconic shoe models. In 2019, he was even presented with his own sneaker, the Nike React Tinker Hatfield at SXSW.

After receiving a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture at the University of Oregon, where he was a pole vaulter, Hatfield joined Nike in 1981 and began working on sneaker design in 1985. He soon after designed the Air Max 1, the Air Trainer 1, the Nike Air MAG as shown in Back to the Future II, and the Air Max 90–all within his first five years at the company. These shoe designs remain ever-popular among sneaker-savvy fans, for their classic, timeless aesthetic.

In 2011, Hatfield designed the graphics for the Matthew Knight Arena at his alma mater, the University of Oregon, which features fir tree silhouettes that outline the basketball court.

“The Architect’s” trendsetting designs have earned him the title of one of the most influential designers of the sneaker and fashion world. To this day, he continues to elevate the Nike brand and footwear as we know it. When you wear a pair of sweet Nikes, it’s probably due to Tinker.


Jordan III Tinker Hatfield


Jordan IV


Nike Air MAG
Air Max 90


Air Jordan 11


Nike React Tinker Hatfield


Matthew Knight Arena Floor



Student at the University of Michigan studying Art & Design and Communication & Media, hoping to create meaningful design for social impact. Every week I highlight an intriguing artist (or group of artists)!

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