PORTLAND, Ore. -- The story of Nike and how it started on Bill Bowerman's waffle iron is one that many people have heard.
As the company grew from selling shoes out of the back of Phil Knight's car, to setting global performance and design trends, it was the shoes, and not the designers that received the publicity. With the exception of those in the sneaker world, most people don't know the name Tinker Hatfield. Let me introduce you to the man who very likely came up with the idea for the shoes you're wearing right now.
After a decorated high school career, where he was a three sport All American at Central Linn High School, Tinker went on to run, jump and vault for the Oregon track team under legendary coach Bill Bowerman. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Architecture and it was this unique combination of sport and design that led him down the path to shoe immortality.
As the lead designer on the Nike's Air Jordan 3 through 15 basketball shoes, Tinker helped create what not only set the bar for basketball shoe performance standards, but has become an icon in the fashion world. There is no other shoe that is acceptable to wear with a basketball uniform and a tuxedo. Tinker's ability to think outside the box also helped him create the idea for the modern day cross trainer; coming up with a shoe that isn't spectacular at one thing, but is very good at doing everything.
Tinker's influence can be felt from the playground of Chicago to the runways of Paris, which is why he was selected as one of eight designers from around world to be featured in the new Netflix series, "Abstract: The Art Of Design."
When Tinker's not hard at work in "The Kitchen" at Nike's world headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, he can be found doing what every great designer does: riding his rolling paddle board through the streets of North East Portland.
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