What is zero? To most, it is and means absolutely nothing.
But to Nike? Zero takes on a whole new meaning.
“It represents the beginning, the initial thought, the stroke of genius from which great things are 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 wouldn’t become 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.”
So here’s a story that you may have heard of before.. but have you heard all the facts?
“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.
He designed the upper 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 remained unseen until the Nike Air Huarache release in 1991.”
But in actual fact, 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 single-handedly kick-started a revolution in the running shoe industry.”
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. Then one day the Nike Sportswear design team stumbled across an interesting drawing while searching for inspirations to celebrate the impending second annual “Air Max Day”.
To bring the sketch into the future and accomplish Hatfield’s original goal, Nike’s Design team 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, 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 was ready to take its first steps.
“I love it. 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.” — Tinker Hatfield
In celebration of the iconic Nike Air Max, Nike is hosting the sneaker community of Melbourne at an Air Max Day Eve exhibition, where attendees will experience a retrospective look at the evolution of Air Max since the style’s inception in 1987.
As the clock strikes midnight on “Air Max Day”,
26 March tonight, Nike will give away a pair of the coveted Air Max Zero at the event, a new style being released in limited numbers to commemorate “Air Max Day”. Woot!
Keen on attending? Click here to get on the waitlist. Better than nothing, right?
25th March, 2015, 10pm-12.30am
Utopian Slumps, 13 Guildford Lane, Melbourne
Free 18+ event