Hip-Hop history marks ’88 as one of the golden years, but it was the previous year that serves as a touchstone in the sneaker world. This was the year that renowned Nike designer Tinker Hatfield had the vision to make the Air bubble visible for the world to see. And with it, he focused all attention on what would become one of the world’s legendary brands.
Deltas, Safaris, Windrunners, Aqua Socks, Jordan II’s, Trainer 1’s and what would arguably the best shoe to emerge from the year, the Air Max 1. But who remembers Nike’s cheerleading shoe, the Stamina, and the Aerofit’s attempt to do battle with Reebok’s Freestyle model? Sneaker Freaker did and they’ve compiled a worthy helping of Nike advertisements and catalog scans.
1987 was one hell of a year… Ronnie Reagan ruled the roost, Hawkie was in the lodge and greed was good! Fashions were fluoro, Homer hit the small screen and kids were Dirty Dancing in the aisles, just as MJ ‘fessed up to being Bad! Global stockmarket meltdown aside, it was a good year – but for all us sneaker heads – 1987 was perhaps the most innovative year in sneaker history to date.
Reebok had just smashed the fitness-craze, but thanks to a young designer named Tinker Hatfield, Nike modified an existing innovation of their new AIR technology. Hatfield had the nous to make the Air bubble visible via the rubber panels embedded in the chunky heel of the debut Air Max. ‘NIKE AIR’ would rapidly transform the company into a blue chip powerhouse, creating a muscular franchise that would endure for decades.
But visible AIR wasn’t their only weapon. Nike were pulling out all the stops, leaving no sport un-Swooshed. Ballers were introduced to the Jordan II, (the first without the company trademark writ-large on the upper) just as His Airness was about to catapult basketball into another dimension. Hightops got even higher with the Air Force High, now known to the world as the Air Force II. Delta forced its way onto the runway, while the Court Force set the slim standard for things to come. The running crop was led by the tropical Air Safari, which stood out like the proverbials, while the Air Pegasus hit hard with solid offerings for both the ladies and the gents. Tennis was also a priority with a clutch of new models.