They say three’s the magic number, and for Nike, the design collective of Hiroshi Fujiwara, Tinker Hatfield, and Mark Parker has been pushing the brand forward since its inception in 2002 under the sub-brand HTM.

The first project the triomade up of a long-time Nike collaborator, the Vice President of Design and Special Projects, and the company’s CEOcreated together was their own take on the Air Force 1. That idea might seem commonplace nowadays, but it was something new at the time. Fujiwara, Hatfield, and Parker would later go on to work on niche products such as the Air Moc Mid, Zoom Macropus, and Air Woven before introducing the breakout Flyknit to the world in 2012.

What differentiates the HTM projects from the rest of the trio’s work isn’t just the numbers in which it’s produced: It’s a subversive approach to sneaker design for the largest footwear brand in the world. There are times when Fujiwara, Hatfield, and Parker recreate older product, but their main focus is on crafting things for the future. A perfect example would be the Nike Sock Dart, which first released in 2004, only finding success when it re-released a decade later.

HTM was meant to be a meeting of the minds where the three guys could get together, put aside their regular work, and create something fresh that would be innovative for Nike. Their names alone can help sell the product, but that’s not the intention of HTM, since most of the sneakers made are done so in limited quantities. Instead, they’re here to change the way we look at shoes, even when they’re creating short runs of sneakers for the likes of Kobe Bryant, or hybrid footwear that defies categorization.

To get a better scope of how and why they work together, we spoke to Fujiwara and Hatfield, with quotes from Parker provided by Nike, about their design process and more.