Back in the 1980s, a fitness craze took the country by storm.
Jane Fonda’s Workout video dropped in 1982 and became the highest-selling VHS tape (remember those?) of all time. Olivia Newton-John’s song Physical spent 10 weeks at the top of the Billboard’s Hot 100 charts. TIME Magazine’s cover story in November 1983 read “America Shapes Up.”
Folks all over America the country were embracing the sweat and getting their heart rates up in the name of fitness and fun.
Of course, the next thing to boom was sneakers and sports equipment. But what if you weren’t restricting yourself to one activity? What if you wanted to shoot some hoops with a buddy, but also go for a run? In the ’80s, your only real choices were purpose-built pairs for each individual athletic pursuit.
Eventually, Nike designer Tinker Hatfield had had enough.
According to a 2012 article in Sneaker Freaker magazine, Hatfield was tired of having to bring separate pairs of shoes to the Portland Metro YMCA for basketball, racketball, running and lifting before work.
“[A] metaphoric fluorescent tube flickered and went off inside his head. Hatfield immediately went back to his office to design a hybrid that could do the job of four sneakers in one. Nike execs were unconvinced initially, but with the support of a young Mark Parker (NIke’s future CEO), Hatfield emerged victorious from the battle with a stunning prototype called the Air Trainer 1.”
That’s right. The design genius behind the Air Max and Air Jordan lines, as well as dozens of other iconic Nike models, had perfected the cross-trainer.
Other brands also released cross-trainers, but Nike had that big-athlete clout, with John McEnroe and Bo Jackson endorsing the Air Trainer.
The cross-trainer trend slowed a little as the ’80s turned into the ’90s, but that wasn’t the end of the category. The Swoosh used its big-name athletes again, with Deion Sanders the perfect two-sport endorser.
Another famous face who loved the cross-trainer was Seattle Mariners superstar Ken Griffey, Jr., who was in the midst of a Hall of Fame-worthy career in the mid-90s.
In 1996, Nike released the Air Griffey Max 1, a multi-purpose cross-training version of the cleats he wore in center field and in the batter’s box. The ‘Freshwater’ colorway, predominantly black and white with highlights in the namesake teal color utilized on the Mariners’ uniforms.
The ‘Freshwater’ edition hasn’t been seen since a retro release in 2016, but was a hit when it released earlier this year.
The newest iteration, the Air Griffey Max 1 ‘Varsity Royal,’ incorporates the lush namesake colorway along with fresh white panels, black and Volt detailing.
A colorway not seen since the silhouette’s 2009 retro release, these will definitely turn heads this summer.
Go beyond the diamond with the Nike Air Griffey Max 1 ‘Varsity Royal’ when it releases in Men’s and Grade School sizing on 4/16 at finishline.com.
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