John McEnroe is one of the best tennis players the world has ever seen. He’s also the world’s most confrontational tennis player, earning him the reputation of an enfant terrible in a sport that is just as concerned with looks and etiquette as it is with court performance. When people think of McEnroe, they mostly think of incredible volleys and his 1984 season, or maybe they recall McEnroe’s many controversies on and off the court. What few know, however, is that McEnroe is responsible for one of Nike’s most famous sneakers, the Air Trainer 1. When Nike sent him a bunch of models in the mid-80s to put them through their paces, he singled out the prototype to the AirTrainer 1. The shoe was conceived by design legend Tinker Hatfield, who is most famous for having designed the Air Jordan 3 through Air Jordan 15. Nike never intended for McEnroe to wear the shoes in public; when he won a match wearing the Air Trainer 1, Nike flabbergasted. Never having planned to mass-produce the AirTrainer 1, McEnroe’s enthusiasm for the shoes convinced Nike otherwise. Since then, the Trainer has become one of Nike’s most famous sneakers, cherished by athletes of all kinds. However, Nike never made the McEnroe story “official,” promoting the shoe in a campaign featuring running back Bo Jackson instead. Beyond sports, the sneakers have also become a staple of streetwear culture: in the early days of Nike SB, the company released quite a few special editions of the Trainer, most of which still popular with aficionados. Now, the Nike SB ISO program re-releases McEnroe’s original AirTrainer 1: the colorway is the same, but the nubuck lather has been swapped for suede. As a skate shoe, the Trainer remains divisive: its prominent latch is not for everyone, and the distinctly 80’s look dates the shoe considerably. For some, that’s exactly why they love them, and their longevity and performance speak for themselves. When you’re choosing a Trainer, you’re not just wearing a pair of shoes; you’re literally walking in sneaker history. Note that the ISO program is available exclusively in select skate shops, so plan accordingly. You can buy the Nike SB Air Trainer 1 at our web shop and our store in Frankfurt from October 3.