October 21, 2015. The future.
Land of flying cars, hoverboards, and self lacing kicks. Well, st least accoriding to Doc and the Back To The Future franchise.
The 1985 blockbuster introduced the now legendary power laces, which have been a pipe dream for sneakerheads ever since. Nike has been diligently working ever since to develop the technology to bring the MAG to life. A little Hollywood magic made it look all too easy for the camera. In reality it´s been anything but. Until now.
This week Nike sent a pair to Michael J. Fox, who played lead character Marty McFly, in honor of the date McFly arrived to the future. Tinker Hatfield, famed Nike designer and Vice President of their Creative Concepts division, also sent a personal note and sketch to Fox explaining that, “as the first, most celebrated wearer of the Nike MAG we wanted you to be the first to receive a living pair.” The rest of us will have to wait. While Fox received his pair on the 21st, the expected release is in 2016, with no word yet on pricing.
Once they drop, they will be sold at auctions with the proceeds benefitting the Michael J. Fox foundation which is dedicated to finding treatments for Parkinson´s disease. In his letter to Fox, Hatfield referenced Nike´s previous fundraising efforts, stating, “We hope that the combined effort will raise even more than the 9.4 million collected in 2011.”
Kicks for a cause. We like it.
Have a great weekend!
Hey there sneakerheads, this week we give you a spotlight on Tinker Hatfield.
Okay, so you’ve probably heard of him &mdash it’s hard to forget a name like Tinker — but how much do you know about him? Yes, he created the Air Jordan (among others!) and will forever be remembered as a legend, but how did he get there?
Tinker Hatfield, Jr., was born in 1952 in Hillsboro, Oregon. His father, the late Tinker Hatfield, Sr., was “a legendary figure in Oregon coaching circles who won three straight state Class AA titles”, so you could say that Junior perhaps came by his own athletic prowess naturally. Tinker Jr excelled in basketball, football, and track and field, achieving All State selection distinctions. He continued his studies (and athletics) at University of Oregon, where he studied architecture and ran track.
Fun fact: His track coach was none other than Nike co-founder Bill Bowman.
A dedicated athlete, for a time Hatfield held the school’s record for the pole vault.
Tinker graduated with a degree in Architecture and in 1981 joined the Nike team as, you guessed it, an architect. A few short years later, by 1985 he was working in shoe design. By applying his architectural skills to the field of shoe design, Hatfield changed sneakers (and sneaker culture) as we knew them. As the story goes, he designed the first “cross-training” shoe (the Nike Air Trainer) after observing how fellow gym patrons brought multiple pairs of shoes to the gym and changed them for each activity.
Currently Hatfield is Nike’s Vice President of Design & Special Projects, and spends a lot of his time in the famed “Innovation Kitchen” dreaming up new ways to change the game. His creativity hasn’t been limited to shoes though. Hatfield has worked on all kinds of projects ranging from graphic design, to basketball court designs, even working on the Nike + Jordan concept car for Gran Turismo 6. All this — in addition to having designed every pair of game worn Jordans since ’88 — landed him on Fortune magazine’s “100 Most Influential Designers” list of 1998.
Nearly 20 years have passed since that distinction, but it’s safe to say that Tinker Hatfield remains among the best of that prestigious group today.
Have a great weekend!
Stephon Marbury is creating quite a buzz lately — and it’s not for his moves on the court with the Beijing Ducks, the museum dedicated to him, nor the Chinese issued collection of stamps honoring him.
Marbury is bringing back the Starbury
The kicks that originally debuted in 1996 were famously priced at only $15.00 (or less) and were an instant hit. The Starburys were sold at now-defunct retailer Steve & Barry’s, and flew off the shelves as soon as they dropped. Priced intentionally low, the aim was to be accessible to all, not just those with disposable incomes and time to spend camping out for new release. In other words, the anti-Jordan.
Recognizing a gap in the market between the hyper popular big name sneakers, and a brand that was cool while still being affordable, Marbury leant his name and time to the cause. Despite the initial popularity of Starburys, the novelty began to wear off and the brand was eventually forced into obscurity in 2009 when Steve & Barry’s went under.
Previously criticized for a lack of original design, several new colorways and styles have recently been teased on Marbury’s social media accounts, though no “official” announcement has been made, nor drop dates released.
No stranger to controversy, Marbury has come out swinging. And it’s working. He’s taken to Twitter to call out several big names in sneaker culture — including Michael Jordan, of course. Citing greed and inaction in the face of sneaker-related crimes (specifically the startling frequency of murders among young people), Marbury has accused Jordan of “robbing the hood”. It’s worth noting that courtesy of his namesake shoe, Jordan made a cool 100 mil last year alone which is more than he made from the NBA in his entire 15 season career. Marbury has also drawn attention to the disparity in Nike pricing and the actual cost to make the shoes, tweeting that “..you’re paying $200 for Jordans and they make them for $5. The shoes [Nikes & Starburys] are made in China in the same places.”
Via Instagram Marbury states, “When I gave you 15 dollar shoes in America my mission was clear. It wasn’t about basketball it was about creating change in the sneaker game.”
It’s an admirable mission and he’s certainly got the resources to get it going. Whether it takes off is anyone’s guess. Sneakerheads can be a tricky group to predict. But we can’t wait to see what he’s got planned for the Starbury comeback.
A few weeks ago we shared some news about the Brooklyn Museum’s “Rise of Sneaker Culture” exhibition. The exhibit, drawn from the collection of the Bata Shoe Museum, significant private collectors, and other museums and archives is now on the move and currently calling Ohio’s Toledo Museum of Art home. Unable to make it to Brooklyn and Ohio just a little too far?
For those of us unable to check out this killer exhibit in person, Elizabeth Semmelhack has just the thing. Acclaimed shoe historian and senior curator at the Bata Museum, Semmelhack has authored a book inspired by the exhibit and it’s already being touted as “something akin to a holy text” for sneaker devotees.
Semmelhack has assembled people from all walks of the creative world of sneakers — think Tinker Hatfield, Bobbito Garcia, Eric Avar, Walt Frazier, and Christian Louboutin to name a few — in order to track the rise of the sneaker from basic athletic gear to it’s current place as pop culture icon and status symbol. Exploring over two centuries (don’t miss the spiked running shoe from 1860!) worth of trends, marketing, and technological advances, the book is truly a thoughtful, comprehensive, and highly educational history all sneakerheads should own.
Interviewees range from design innovators, high profile collectors, and various curators from around the globe. But of course that’s not all — there are HUNDREDS of full color photos depicting the most “grail-status” kicks to ever be created. Whether you buy this for yourself or as a gift (or a gift to yourself? We’re not judging.) it’s sure to be a win.
PS. Today we’re officially kicking off our DIRTIEST KICKS CONTEST! Got some dirty, beat up, beyond salvageable kicks? We want to see them. And then we want to clean them. That’s right! Ship them to us for a complimentary cleaning and we’ll send them back looking fresh. With the help of our Facebook and Twitter followers, we’ll select the top 3 dirtiest kicks and then share the videos of us bringing them back to life. So go on, show us what you’ve got and we’ll show you just how serious we are about being the best, most premium cleaner out there. Tag #RufusCleanMyKicks to enter!