Peter Moore Air Jordan

Former Nike Designer Peter Moore created the iconic Air Jordan 1s | Source: Modern Notoriety

A Peak at the Pioneering Career of Peter Moore: The Iconic Nike Air Jordan 1 Designer

The Nike Air Jordan 1, one of the most iconic sneakers of all time, wouldn’t exist without one man: Peter Moore.

The former Nike and Adidas executive, a legend in the shoe industry and a true sports brand pioneer, designed the Air Jordan 1, the iconic ‘Wings’ logo and the famous ‘Jumpman’ logo.

On April 29, the celebrated designer passed away at age 78. However, his immense legacy lives on.

We are deeply saddened by the loss of Peter Moore, an iconic designer, whose legacy will forever be connected to Jordan Brand, and the sneaker culture he helped to create.

Howard White, Jordan Brand vice president
Peter Moore
Peter Moore | Source: Complex

In the late 1970s, Moore’s design studio in Portland had Nike among its clientele, eventually leading to his joining the then-budding shoe company.

Over a fruitful career, Moore served as Nike‘s first global creative director becoming instrumental in creating shoe silhouettes now synonymous with footwear and sports culture.

In particular, the first Air Jordan 1s debuting in 1985 were crafted by Moore with input from Michael Jordan who wanted basketball shoes that were exciting and low to the ground.

I was designing the shoe with the idea that I needed a real basketball shoe that the best basketball player in the world could play in… But I also needed something that would be unique, never seen before.

Peter Moore talking to slamonline.com in 2018

While the shoe’s pocket of compressed air in its sole was a first, ultimately it was the red, black and white colours that made the shoe a stand out. Originally banned by the NBA citing non-regulation colours, Jordan still played in the shoes, and evidently turned the Air Jordan 1 into the most iconic basketball shoe ever.

Now a collectable and sales phenomenon, Elizabeth Semmelhack, creative director at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto, says the shoe “represents a watershed moment, bringing sneaker culture and sneaker interest to a broader audience”.

Air Jordan 1s from 1985
A pair of Michael Jordan’s Game Worn Air Jordan 1s from 1985 sold for almost A$800,000 | Source: Sotheby’s

Aside from the designer’s legendary shoe silhouettes, Moore’s genius involved brand marketing, campaigns and creating logos.

Moore, alongside another Nike executive at the time Rob Strasser, also played a crucial role in signing Michael Jordan to a long-term contract with the company. The pair were then the brains behind devising a marketing strategy built around the young basketball star’s shoes.

His prominent role in developing Nike campaigns and logos also spawned the Air Jordan 2, with Bruce Kilgore, the Nike Dunk basketball shoe and the famous ‘Wings’ and ‘Jumpman’ logos which he created with Kilgore.

nike wings logo
Nike ‘wings’ logo | Source: Slamonline

Ron Dumas, who worked with Moore at Nike called the designer’s efforts the foundation of Nike’s ubiquitous branding.

Staying with Nike until 1987, Moore and Strasser then left to start their own brand consulting agency Sports Inc. It wasn’t long after the pair were contacted by Adidas, launching the Adidas Equipment line in 1991.

Working with the sports brand, Moore designed another iconic logo – Adidas’ three stripes mountain emblem which remains its primary logo today.

Peter Moore leaves behind a legacy that can never be replicated. Thanks to his designs, marketing prowess and forward-thinking mindset, the Air Jordan 1s are one of the most famous, and highly sought-after, shoe designs ever.

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