A Glimpse into the Pioneering Career of Peter Moore: The Iconic Designer of the Nike Air Jordan 1


Former Nike designer Peter Moore created the iconic Air Jordan 1s | Source: modern notoriety

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

The former Nike and Adidas executive, footwear industry legend and true pioneer of sports brands, designed the Air Jordan 1, the iconic “Wings” logo and the famous “Jumpman” logo.

On April 29, the famous designer died at the age of 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 linked to Jordan Brand, and the sneaker culture he helped create.

Howard White, Vice President of Jordan Brand

Peter Moore | Source: Complex

By the late 1970s, Moore’s Portland design studio had Nike among its clientele, which eventually led to him joining the then-budding shoe business.

Over a successful career, Moore served as Nike’s first global creative director, playing an instrumental role in creating shoe silhouettes that have become synonymous with footwear and sports culture.

In particular, the first Air Jordan 1s launched in 1985 were designed by Moore with input from Michael Jordan who wanted exciting and low-top basketball shoes.

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 speaks to slamonline.com in 2018

While the shoe’s compressed air pocket in its sole was a first, it was ultimately the red, black and white colors that made the shoe stand out. Originally banned by the NBA due to non-regulation colors, Jordan has always played in shoes and has obviously transformed the Air Jordan 1 into the most iconic basketball shoe of all time.

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

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

Besides the designer’s legendary shoe silhouettes, Moore’s genius involved brand marketing, campaigns and logo creation.

Moore, alongside another Nike executive at the time, Rob Strasser, was also instrumental in signing Michael Jordan to a long-term contract with the company. The couple were then the brains behind developing a marketing strategy built around the shoes of the young basketball star.

His leading role in developing Nike campaigns and logos also spawned the Air Jordan 2, featuring Bruce Kilgore, the Nike Dunk basketball shoe and the famous “Wings” and “Jumpman” logos 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 brand image.

Staying with Nike until 1987, Moore and Strasser then left to set up their own brand consultancy Sports Inc. Soon 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-stripe mountain crest which remains its primary logo today.

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


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