Sneakers, Sports Memorabilia & Modern Collectibles

Tinker Hatfield’s Most Influential Jordan Designs

By Zoë Vanderweide
Explore Tinker Hatfield's iconic Nike Air Jordan sneaker designs, including the Nike Air Jordan 4 and the Nike Air Jordan 11. Shop our curated selection of rare and collectible Nike Air Jordans at our online Sneaker Shop .
Tinker Hatfield and Michael Jordan

Tinker Hatfield and the Nike Air Jordan: A Brief History

Tinker Hatfield is a legendary designer among sneaker enthusiasts, known for his incredible contributions to Nike's most iconic shoes. As Nike's Vice President for Design and Special Projects for over 40 years, Hatfield has created iconic sneakers that merge technical and aesthetic innovation with captivating stories. His groundbreaking designs, such as the architecturally-inspired Nike Air Max 1 and the sci-fi inspired Nike MAGs worn by Marty McFly in Back to the Future II, have had a significant impact on Nike's brand and the evolution of sneaker culture.

One of Hatfield's most significant contributions is his work on the Air Jordan line, which remains popular and transformative to this day. In an unparalleled collaboration between sneaker designer and athlete, Hatfield worked closely with basketball superstar Michael Jordan to develop some of the most sought-after Nike Air Jordan models ever created, starting with the release of the Air Jordan 3 in 1988. Hatfield's original Jordan designs have inspired numerous retros and collaborations over the years, with high-profile figures like Virgil Abloh of Off White, Hiroshi Fujiwara of Fragment, and KAWS all adding their unique twists to the classic Tinker Hatfield designs.

Discover the remarkable history of Hatfield's iconic Nike Air Jordan designs, including our top five favorite styles available for immediate purchase. Whether you're a sneaker enthusiast or simply appreciate exceptional design, Tinker Hatfield's work is a must-see.

Tinker Hatfield Nike Air Jordans to Buy Now

1 | Nike Air Jordan 3

Nike Air Jordan 3 Retro White Cement 88 Dunk Contest

Tinker Hatfield's Air Jordan 3 is an iconic sneaker that played a significant role in keeping Michael Jordan with Nike after the departure of the original Air Jordan designer, Peter Moore. Tinker Hatfield worked in close collaboration with Michael Jordan to create a modern, lightweight shoe that would meet his needs on the basketball court. The result was a revolutionary sneaker, with an innovative design and a lasting impact on the sneaker world.

The Air Jordan 3 was the first mid-cut basketball shoe ever created, featuring an exposed heel unit that marked the debut of Nike's 'Visible Air' technology. Hatfield also introduced the iconic Jumpman logo on the tongue, which has become synonymous with the Nike Air Jordan brand. Today, the Nike Air Jordan 3 remains a highly sought-after sneaker, with its historical significance and innovative design making it a favorite among sneaker enthusiasts.

This Nike Air Jordan 3 Retro White Cement 88 Dunk Contest is a special release that pays tribute to Michael Jordan's iconic free-throw line dunk during the 1988 slam dunk contest. This online-only sneaker release was timed to drop at 3:51 CST, the exact moment when MJ won the contest. The AJ3 features a design inspired by the original Jordan 3 worn by Jordan himself during the contest.

2 | Nike Air Jordan 4

Nike Air Jordan 4 Retro Bling 

Discover the Nike Air Jordan 4, the second model created by sneaker icon Tinker Hatfield in 1989. This iconic shoe debuted in 4 OG colorways and took the world by storm with its striking aesthetics and unique performance-enhancing features. One of the standout features of the Air Jordan 4 is its triangular support wings and breathable over-molded mesh paneling, designed to enhance the wearer's performance on the court. Michael Jordan famously hit "The Shot" over Craig Ehlo while wearing Air Jordan 4s, solidifying the sneaker's popularity. The Air Jordan 4 even made an unforgettable appearance in Spike Lee's 1989 film, Do the Right Thing.

The Air Jordan 4 is an iconic sneaker that has inspired numerous innovative designs over the years, including the Jordan 4 Retro Bling. The Nike Jordan 4 Retro Bling boasts a sleek white leather upper with perforated leather panels that deviate from the usual mesh found on most Jordan 4s. The Jordan sneaker also features chrome lace locks and a chrome Jumpman logo on the back heel, adding a touch of sophistication to the timeless design.

3 | Nike Air Jordan 5

Nike Air Jordan 5 Retro Off-White Muslin

The Air Jordan 5, designed by Tinker Hatfield, is a sneaker that draws inspiration from the P-51 Mustang fighter jet, which was used by Allied forces in World War II. The aggressive silhouette of the Air Jordan 5 takes cues from the Mustang, embodying Jordan’s dominant on-court style. The midsole of the Air Jordan 5 features signature shark-tooth detailing, paying homage to “The Shark,” a version of the P-51 adorned with cartoonish shark teeth. In addition to its unique design, the Air Jordan 5 boasts several firsts in sneaker history, including the first clear outsole on an Air Jordan model, reflective 3M material on the tongue, and a molded ankle collar. Shop the Air Jordan 5 now and add a piece of history to your sneaker collection.

The Nike x Off-White Air Jordan 5 'Muslin' is a must-have addition to any sneakerhead's collection, offering a seamless blend of classic and contemporary elements that will elevate your streetwear style to the next level. This second collaboration series between Nike and Virgil Abloh draws inspiration from the iconic 'Metallic' Air Jordan 5, and boasts a sleek Black textile mesh upper with Off-White's signature 'shoelaces' branding on the laces, adding a touch of street-style edge. The inner netting side panel features Off-White's signature text, making this sneaker instantly recognizable. Furthermore, the 3M reflective tongues and Fire Red Jumpman logo on the heels add a bold pop of color that's sure to turn heads.

4 | Nike Air Jordan 11

The Air Jordan 11 is a legendary Tinker Hatfield-designed sneaker that stands out as both the favorite of Jordan himself and the sneaker designer. Originally released in 1995, the Air Jordan 11 shoes made NBA history during Michael Jordan's legendary 72-10 season with the Bulls. The sneaker's ballistic mesh upper wrapped in a shiny patent leather mudguard made it an instant classic. It was a basketball shoe like no other before it, and Jordan famously wore it in the iconic 1996 movie, Space Jam. The Nike Air Jordan 11 became a pop culture phenomenon and remains one of the most popular Air Jordan designs of all time.

The Nike Air Jordan 11 OG 'Concord' 1995 is the first colorway of the Jordan 11 line, and it was released in November 1995. This legendary pair was marketed in the iconic '100-foot dunk' commercial and boasts a white mesh upper with a black patent leather overlay. Its Phylon midsole features a full-length Air Sole unit for maximum comfort, and the sneaker is finished with a translucent outsole. The Nike Air Jordan 11 OG 'Concord' 1995 is a must-have addition to any sneakerhead's collection and is sure to turn heads with its unique design and impressive history.

5 | Nike Air Jordan 13

The Air Jordan 13 is a classic sneaker that holds a special place in sneakerhead history. This Tinker Hatfield-designed sneaker was the last Nike Air Jordan that MJ wore for a complete season with the Chicago Bulls. Unlike most of Hatfield's Air Jordan designs, the Air Jordan 13 has a unique origin story. Tinker Hatfield was inspired by MJ's panther-like ability to study his opponents and strike at just the right moment. Taking the predator's stealth and agility as his inspiration, Hatfield designed the Nike Air Jordan 13 with a distinctive paw-like outsole and a circular hologram at the ankle that evokes the panther's piercing green eyes. Jordan connected with the design instantly, and it was an uncanny coincidence that MJ's 'secret' nickname among teammates and close friends was "Black Cat."

Released in late 1997 and throughout 1998, the Air Jordan 13 Red Flint is a retro sneaker that updates the original Carolina Blue colorway with Gym Red reflective mesh uppers, accented with white tumbled leather and Flint Durabuck. The signature holographic eye adorns the lateral ankle, and a black embroidered Jumpman logo on the tongue completes the look of this Air Jordan 13 Retro. The Nike Air Jordan 13 Red Flint is a must-have for any sneaker collection, offering both style and comfort for everyday wear.

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