Year Released: 1989

Innovation for a brand, for an athlete, for an initiative is mission critical. However tempting, innovation is not acheived merely by cooking up a Miami-colored shoe that "scares your opponent across the parking lot." Innovation, marketing and trend design all need to be aligned and cannot come at the expense of one another. Additionally, when brands consider their roster of Athletes, it's important that each bring a unique quality that permits the brand to justify the creation of product that hits a certain market-facing need. If every asset doesn't have a reason for being, then you are creating redundancies. For example, Nike used Barkley to address the late 80's-early-90's trend of big, chunky, Air-based shoes with the Force range and used Pippen to go after guards and small forwards with shoes whose design spoke fluidity and forward motion. Andre Agassi represented the ability for Nike to progress the Nike brand forward in tennis. As the 90's began, bold color was everywhere. Fashion was irreverent. Nike needed to play there, and find business and technology justifications to get after irreverent design. As a lot of the one-hit brands of the 80's fell off and the usual suspects remained quite conservative, Nike took the Agassi range in a very aggressive direction that we now view as synonymous with the early 1990s. Additionally, Nike initially linked the instances of bold color on the Air Tech Challenge to the presence of Durathane on the shoe, a material technology that increased upper durability, particulary in the toe area. Trend justification: check; business justification: check; athlete justification: check; performance technology justification: check. Irreverance officially justified.