are known for their roster of iconic kicks designed by some of the most influential names in the sneaker world.
But these classic silhouettes aren't just thought of at random. Their designers took inspiration from the world around them, including some things that you really wouldn't expect.
Mexican huarache sandals and neoprene water skiing boots
Other than taking inspiration from the classic Mexican sandal with which it shares its name, Tinker Hatfield’s Nike Air Huarache is also influenced by the feet-hugging nature of neoprene water skiing boots.
AIR MAX 95
The human anatomy
The first running silhouette designed by Nike superstar Sergio Lozano, the Air Max 95 took heavy inspiration from the human anatomy. The sole of the shoe acts as the spine, the nylon eyestays as the ribs and the striated upper being one strong, functioning skeletal muscle.
AIR MAX 1
The Centre Pompidou
Tinker Hatfield’s always been a huge fan of buildings, planes and cars when it comes to inspiration, and it was the famous Parisian arts complex, Centre Pompidou, that influenced one of the most groundbreaking designs in sneaker history. The first Air Max silhouette to see the streets, the Air Max 1 took its look from the building’s exposed nature, which lead Tinker to invent the visible air unit that defines the Air Max family.
AIR FORCE 1
The US Presidential aeroplane
You might’ve guessed considering it’s named after it, but the Air Force One silhouette was inspired by the US Presidential plane, the Air Force One. Designed by Bruce Kilgore, the Air Force One sneaker is one of Nike’s all-time classic silhouettes and biggest selling sneaks.
AIR FOAMPOSITE ONE
A sunglasses case
One of Nike’s stranger looking silhouettes, the Air Foamposite One is still a hugely popular basketball sneaker. Designer, Eric Avar, took inspiration from a sunglasses case for the Foamposite, incorporating its seamless construction and molded design. It took three years for them to figure out just how they could make the shoe possible, but after all of that hard work, the famous Foamposite was born.
Kenyan barefoot runners
The revolutionary split-toe of the Air Rift was inspired by the barefoot runners of Kenya. By creating a lightweight silhouette with a separation between the toes, Nike made a silhouette that feels as close to barefoot running as you can get from a pair of kicks.
AIR JORDAN XI
A lawn mower
Tinker Hatfield was out to design a b-ball sneak with a rugged sole, and it was the humble garden lawn mower that inspired him. Just like the bottom half of a lawn mower is tough, and built to cut grass, the bottom half of the Jordan XI is built to withstand the court.
Are there any more iconic kicks inspired by unusual things that you know of? Drop some knowledge bombs in the comments!