Tinker Hatfield: “I can design a shoe in about an hour.”

If you recall, we shared with you part of our conversation with Tinker Hatfield on the inspiration, availability and evolution of the Air Jordan 2012. Today, we share with you an even deeper part of our conversation with the mastermind in regards to his design process. In this installment, Tinker Hatfield discusses his new design techniques, his creation of the Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour in front of Roger Federer, and his ability to now design a shoe in about an hour.

On switch from pencil and paper to iPad:

“I was not into it (designing off of an iPad) at first because it was all mouse-driven, and I just was never comfortable with that because I’m used to drawing. Then, it started becoming more natural to me. It’s really cool now.”

On his iPad design experience with Roger Federer:

“A couple of years ago, I sat down with Roger Federer in Paris after the French Open and designed a shoe right in front of him on the iPad in like 30 minutes. He was like, ‘How did you do that?’”

“I had a meeting with him, and I sketched the shoe right in front of him. I then went back to my hotel, dolled it up a little bit more and sent it back to him. So, he got another drawing that was even more wild, and he freaked out. He couldn’t believe it. That’s the Vapor 9. For tennis, it’s a revolutionary, new shoe.”

Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour

Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour

On Sketchbrook Pro:

“I showed him (Roger Federer) how the program worked, and I showed him the app I use called Sketchbook. It’s kind of like using pencils and pens. It’s called Sketchbook Pro. I’m able to do fine art. Somehow, it’s clicking with me because I’m not having to use mouse-driven or vector-driven programs. It’s just drawing on the screen, and I’m just learning how to draw small. What’s great about it is you can explode it up into detail and go back down. So, literally, I can design a shoe now in about an hour. Most designers take like three weeks to do a shoe. I’m doing it in an hour now, and it’s probably because of the iPad. I mean, I’ve been doing it so long, so I can take shortcuts in my head, but it’s the iPad, man. The tool allows me to take my experience and [makes a scribble noise], hit send and email it to the developers, the marketing people and the merchandising people.”

On his conversation with the Sketchbook Pro developer:

“I met with the guy who invented Sketchbook Pro. He was like, ‘Wow. We didn’t expect anybody to do more than finger painting with this app. This stuff you’re doing is really in detail.’ Now, they’re all excited. They’re talking to Pixar about animating with them. So, it’s pretty cool. I feel like the technology is making my job a little easier. When I go see MJ in a couple of days (days after the Air Jordan 2012 unveiling in early February), I’ll take my iPad, show him the prototypes and he’ll probably go, ‘Hey, that sucks. What is that?’ He’ll like the prototypes, but he’ll have something to say about them. I’ll just sit right in front of him and change it.”

Tinker Hatfield

Tinker Hatfield at the Air Jordan 2012 Launch Event


  1. Oaj0524 says:

    then why did it take so long to design the jordan 2012? xD haha?

    1. Anonymous says:

      ?no shots intended..lol

      but i think its more of a “if i had to do it” kinda thing

  2. Johndary says:

    Well, it is funny he said what he did as some of his shoes definitely look like they were designed in an hour… #aj2012

  3. Geoff says:

    Not feeling this shoe lol or the 2012

  4. Sam says:

    No wonder the last few years have been pretty much horrible design wise for Jordan Brand

    1. Joel Oliver says:

      Maybe for 2013, he should think about taking 2 hours.

  5. Kcboy says:

    Yo it takes a creative mind to make a shoe you have some good ones and some not so good ones, but at the end of the day this man is a BEAST. 1 hour to design a shoe.

    1. Nice Kicks says:

      Definitely agree. ?The reason he can do it so quickly is because he is a master at his craft. ?Whether or not you like his most recent designs does not change the fact that his designs were the reason many people started collecting sneakers to begin with.

      1. Erok says:

        He’s a great designer one of the best in the game…but I think within the last few years I think he has been forcing himself to produce instead of breathing in and absorbing a vibe…All artist have to be in a good vibe/or creative mindset in order to create. Sometimes when you have a deadline it blocks your flow and outside influences kills it also. Thats why I hate designer collaborations..If your a Master be one you don’t need the help. But all in all the man is dope ..he just need to find his center again thats all.

  6. Mfigueroa7 says:

    gimme those DUCKS!!!

    1. hoponthebanwagon says:

      i want those oregon ducks in white and black WET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Those ducks<3

  8. N.A.C.O. says:

    you guys are forgetting the aj 2012 is a PERFORMANCE SHOE not a stylish shoe jeez

    1. RJ Mikulski says:

      It’s a performance shoe trying to be stylish and failing. (i.e. all that ‘wingtip leather’ weighs the shoe down)

    2. Erok says:

      My Dude check this movie out..Just for Kicks…It will give you the history of the sneaker game ( if you haven’t already..if so then watch again)..then you will know why a lot of sneaker heads don’t really care for the performance part so much.

      1. shogun768 says:

        I put it in my netflix queue for later. can’t wait to watch.

  9. New Era Cap says:

    Not feeling this shoe lol or the 2012?

  10. El phantasm says:

    Last few years have been trash designs but l grabbed the white and black 2011′s

  11. yeah bro. we’ve been seeing that lately Tink….take your time and create something.?

  12. Thomas Vales says:

    i love how at the 2012 launch event he is wearing 3′s lol. Even he?doesn’t?like em

  13. Blind18d says:

    I think if the 2012 shoe was let’s say the jordan 8 ppl would like it. Just because all these new shoes don’t have the history ppl will always hate on them. If tinker designed the 11s this year ppl would call them ugly and not buy them.

  14. shogun768 says:

    I’ve noticed something in the kicks culture…a lot of people think that if they don’t like a design, that means it’s a bad design. The reality of design, and the reality of all areas of life, is that your personal preference doesn’t dictate whether something is good or bad…right or wrong. There are other factors at play besides whether you like something or not.

    Personally the jordans I like are 4, 5, 6 and to a lesser extent 7, and the Jordan SC-2, and I kinda hate all the rest…but I recognize that all the others are awesome work, and people love them. I dislike them, but I don’t think they’re bad…well some of them I think are bad.

    1. Gary says:

      STFU……. You just wrote a bunch of nonsense. I guess you just wanted to get that off your chest. Well next time keep that shit bottled up.

      1. shogun768 says:

        Don’t be afraid to grow and learn.

      2. Bob Loblaw says:

        his post was random and out of the blue, i agree with what he said though. Don’t understand what he said that would make anybody angry anyway lol? And by the way I don’t like any Jordans except the Flint grey 6 rings and the Black and Red playoffs

  15. Naptown's Finest says:

    All you niggas hating on tink are broke bums. Just because you cant afford the aj 2012 deluxe does not mean they are ugly. I have the year of the dragon aj 2012s and they are definately the shit all the way around the board. I brought them to the trap house and everyone of my niggas offered me $300. Tink is the only designer who could make niggas crazy like that. I will support tink, mj, and Mike til im dead & gone.

    1. Naptown's Boss says:

      ?So all your niggas were offering you $300 for your shoes?? Why didn’t they just go out and buy a pair?? Last I checked, the ’12s weren’t flying off the shelf like some Galaxy’s or Cement 4′s.

      You and all your friends are pieces of trash.? Take your ghetto talk wannabe badass attitude and save it for when your niggas offer you money for your next pair of shoes.? Do they offer you money for your jeans and shirts, too?

      1. Naptown's Finest says:

        Bitch nigga house of hoops had 2 pair of year of the dragons in a size 12 and nowhere else had them. Do your homework boi. Clearly you a rookie in this shit stay in your lane or get rode over hoe ass nigga!

        1. Naptown's Boss says:

          ?Not only am I not a rookie, but I don’t try and act hard or use teenage slang like ‘boi’.? You’re a piece of ghetto trash and your mouth proves it.

          You bought a whack ass pair of Jordans and think you’re hard because your ‘bois’ all offered you $300 for them.? You should have taken the money and bought some real shoes.

          Jordan’s doesn’t equal fire.? Get your head out of the ghetto.

          1. Naptown's Finest says:

            Another broke white trash cracker hating cause he aint got $240! Go get you some vans go skateboarding honkey!!!

          2. Naptown's Boss says:

            ?I have a lot more than $240 and don’t have to sell drugs to get it, son.? I work in the medical field and make in a few hours what it takes weeks for you to earn turning tricks.

            Your shoes are whack and you’re a racist piece of ghetto trash.? I would steal your shoes off of you in front of your boys and all of you little bitches couldn’t do shit.? In this case it would be on principle and not because your shoes looked good.

          3. Jordan Baxter says:

            you sir are a douche?

  16. dabo says:

    Tinker is the reason niggas getting killed! Lmao

    1. Dropping Science says:

      No, niggas are the reason niggas are getting killed.? Tink isn’t holding a gun to anyone’s head.

      Stop blaming others.? It’s a choice to rob or kill someone.? It’s not like shoes provide a way to live.

      Greed and envy are what’s killing othes.

      1. Naptown's Spellcheck says:


  17. kidswithkicks says:

    Naptown, that’s cool if you think the 2012′s are fire, but other peoples opinions and mine, they are straight up garbage looking, the 2011′s were way better, I do like the different soles feature, but the wingtip design doesn’t work tips well IMO. Good day sir

  18. kidswithkicks says:

    Exclusiveness does not equal fire or heat, dumbass bitch, just you spending more money for dumbass kicks

    1. Schemingheavy says:

      Just imagine if he took a day to design a shoe it would probably be amazing.?

  19. Mac 21 says:

    How long does it take him to buck his wife?? Find that out nice kicks

  20. supreme says:

    thats why his shoes suck “the title”