Flight School: Nike Air Raid
With the assignment of designing an outdoor basketball shoe, Tinker Hatfield began doing preliminary sketches for the Nike Air Raid. Accommodating the usual wear and tear of the outdoor game, the sneaker has a solid rubber outsole that wrapped over the midsole in high wear areas for support and durability while also being lightweight for that era. Addressing the blacktop specifically, the Air Raid featured max protection in the form of a criss-crossing strap system.
The Air Raid’s standout feature was the lockdown cross-straps, which Tinker designed after watching athletes tape their ankles. The ‘X’ design of the straps coincidentally arrived at a time when knowledge of self and roughneck aesthetics united. Hatfield said, “That X was about strapping up to go into battle, because you’re going to get knocked around the frickin’ cage and you need to strap yourself in.”
To this day, the Air Raid is still one of Tinker’s favorite projects.
“We felt that in a short space of time, we’d caught the essence of the shoe itself — a rougher game without officials and referees.”