The folks over at WWD.com had a chance to sit down with one of the most influential shoe designers in the world, Tinker Hatfield. Working on Jordan’s brand from the III to XX, Tinker has quite a bit of experience with shaping the sneaker world.

Tinker, a trained architect who joined Nike in 1981, is behind the Air Jordan 2010 that hit stores this week. In the article Nike design guru discusses creating Jordan’s newest shoe, the trials of bringing an idea to life and the new realities of customization.

Here are a few juicy bits from the article:

9. The finished Jordan 2010 has a bottom-loaded airbag and incorporates a more flexible outsole – both features from the running world. Do you see a lot of crossover between running and basketball?
TH: We’re just transferring all those years of experience with running shoes into basketball. When you’re playing basketball, you’re running and jumping and moving laterally. So running is a component, and running fast is a component. We can learn a lot from running shoes and transfer those ideas into basketball in a basketball-appropriate way.

11. The Jordan shoes have become infamous for their detailed, specific inspiration stories – a cat’s paw, fencing, racecars. What inspired you this time?
TH: [For previous shoes], we’d talk about Michael’s personality, the way he plays or maybe we would draw inspiration from some piece of art, a car or motorcycle, or architecture. In this case, we eschewed looking at it like architecture or looking at poster design, object design, car design, motorcycle design or fighter-jet design. We didn’t go that way. We sort of stuck a little bit closer to home with what we needed to do to build a really good basketball shoe.

The article has a lot more information and is definitely worth a read; specially for those that customize and fashion designers.

10 Questions for Tinker Hatfield: Nike Design Guru