Following this morning’s announcement of the fragment design x NikeCourt Air Trainer 1 Mid, Nike has released a visual history of the classic silhouette. Back in the 1980s, athletes did not have many choices when it came to footwear. They either had to carry around multiple sneakers to play court sports, run and lift, or wear just one pair and compromise performance or even risk injury. Inspired by his many visits to the gym, beloved architect-turned-sneaker-designer Tinker Hatfield created a design that perform on the court and at the gym. And so, the Nike Air Trainer 1 was born.
“Basketball shoes of the day were pretty flat with an eight millimeter heel lift,” Hatfield said. “Running shoes had a 12 to 15 millimeter lift. I wanted to find a midpoint where there was enough heel lift for running, but also low enough to provide great stability.” Originally designed for workouts, the Nike Air Trainer 1 made its debut on tennis legend John McEnroe wore a prototype to one of his matches in 1986. The model, of course, went on to become one of the most popular tennis sneakers, setting a a standard for all that would follow it. Turn the page to take a quick trip back in time.