Nike Air Max Zero 2015

Nike_HO14_Airmax2015_11793_V12015

SP15_NSW_AirMaxDay_AM360_2006_Hero_V12006

SP15_NSW_AirMaxDay_AM03_2003_Hero_V12003

SP15_NSW_AirMaxDay_AM97_1997_Hero_V11997

SP15_NSW_AirMaxDay_AM95_1995_Hero_V11995

SP15_NSW_AirMaxDay_AM93_1993_Hero_V31993

SP15_NSW_AirMaxDay_AM180_1991_Hero_V21991

SP15_NSW_AirMaxDay_AM90_1990_Hero_V41990

SP15_NSW_AirMaxDay_AM1_1987_Hero_V31987

From Zero to 1: The Tale of the First Air Max

But at Nike, zero is something. It represents the beginning, the initial thought, the stroke of genius from which great things were forged.

In this regard, zero adds up to the Nike Air Max Zero, an idea put on paper 29 years ago that contained nearly three decades of innovation. It wasn’t the first Nike Air Max. But without it, the Nike Air Max 1 would not exist.

The Nike Air Max Zero was the first step. The one before the 1.

“There was no brief or research, just a single revelation,” reflects legendary Nike footwear designer Tinker Hatfield on his first sketches of visible air. “I thought, ‘Why couldn’t we design an exciting new running shoe that reveals to the world what Nike Air really is?’”

At the time, Nike Air had already been introduced and was a big hit among running enthusiasts. But Hatfield knew that wasn’t enough. The sensation of air underfoot needed to be expanded.

“I remember thinking about how we were making bigger and bigger Air-Sole units and that people needed to see and understand them,” Hatfield says.

Nike had the technology. What it needed was the perfect package to reveal it to the world. So Hatfield put pen to paper to do just that.

What happened next is history, right? Hatfield famously travels to Paris, where he sees the Centre Pompidou and is inspired by the building’s unique inside-out design. Upon returning to Oregon, he sits down and brings the concept of visible air to life in the form of a revolutionary running shoe.

This is the story that most know. But it is only half true. The Nike Air Max 1 wasn’t designed in one shot. Rather, it was the result of several design iterations, one of the earliest being the concept of the Air Max Zero. Unknowingly channeling designs that would not come to fruition until many years later, Hatfield focused on a shoe that featured only the necessities for supreme comfort and performance.

“I thought about sculpting the midsole to be more minimal, rising up where more support is needed and dropping back down where it isn’t,” Hatfield recalls.

The upper was designed to be comfortable and form-fitting, with a tipless vamp, an idea borrowed from the 1985 Nike Sock Racer. The sketch also featured an external heel strap that lacked a heel counter, a design concept that would remain unseen until the Nike Air Huarache release in 1991.

“It was pre-Huarache. Kind of like how sandals are designed to wrap around your heel, over your heel bone,” Hatfield remembers.

Put short, Hatfield had designed a shoe so advanced it could not be produced.

“In many ways, it was ahead of its time,” Hatfield says. “Not just in regards to its appearance, but also in terms of the construction it required. The technology and materials available to us at the time weren’t advanced enough to execute the original vision.”

Faced with reality, Hatfield was forced to reinterpret his design. This led to the creation of the Nike Air Max 1, which singlehandedly kickstarted a revolution in the running shoe industry. Visible air would soon make its way from running to basketball. Over time, Nike Air Max would transcend its running roots to become a lifestyle staple recognized around the world.

Lost in the excitement was the Air Max Zero, a mere footnote to the Air Max phenomenon. But that would fortuitously change during a visit to the Department of Nike Archives, where the sketch sat forgotten for 29 years. While searching for inspirations to celebrate the impending second annual Air Max Day, the Nike Sportswear design team stumbled across an interesting drawing.

“There was an Air Max retrospective on display, complete with early prototypes and samples that had never seen the light of day,” says Graeme McMillan, the Nike designer tasked with bringing the Air Max Zero to life. “It was like an archaeological dig in terms of these items you don’t usually get to see unless you work there.”

Once the team figured out the origin of the sketch, it knew what needed to be done.

“The sketch was something that was never fully realized,” McMillan says. “We thought it would be great if we could share this with the world and shed some light on the development of the franchise.”

Almost ironically, McMillan’s first impression of Hatfield’s sketch defined the sketch perfectly.

“I thought it looked like a more contemporary version of the Air Max 1,” McMillan says.

He immediately noticed the Huarache and Sock Racer cues in the inner sleeve and untraditional tip. Soon he began to feel the pressure mounting upon his shoulders. It was now his charge to reinterpret an archival Hatfield sketch and bring it to life.

“There is a responsibility to do the design justice in a way that is faithful to the design intent, but also to add another element of innovation to it by building the shoe in a way we couldn’t have back in 1987 when the Air Max 1 was released,” McMillan says.

To get started, the two design minds met, with Hatfield giving McMillan a full download. Hatfield emphasized his original design intent to achieve supreme comfort.

To bring the sketch into the future and accomplish Hatfield’s goal, McMillan upped the ante by adding the latest Nike innovations. These included technologies such as the newly-introduced Air Max 1 Ultra outsole seen on the Air Max 1 Ultra Moire, with its cored-out Phylon construction (http://news.nike.com/news/a-breath-of-fresh-air-air-max-1-ultra-moire), fuse uppers that reduce bulk without sacrificing support, and monofilament yarn mesh that helped build the unusual tip without sacrificing breathability. With that, Hatfield’s original concept was realized. The one before the 1 lives.

“I love it,” Hatfield says. “It features modern materials and construction methods, and I think that’s the only way to do it. That was then, this is now. If you handed me the project, I would have chosen new materials similar to what the team has done here.”

廣告

發表迴響

在下方填入你的資料或按右方圖示以社群網站登入:

WordPress.com 標誌

您的留言將使用 WordPress.com 帳號。 登出 /  變更 )

Google photo

您的留言將使用 Google 帳號。 登出 /  變更 )

Twitter picture

您的留言將使用 Twitter 帳號。 登出 /  變更 )

Facebook照片

您的留言將使用 Facebook 帳號。 登出 /  變更 )

連結到 %s