Peter Moore: RIP to a Sneaker Legend

Peter Moore: RIP to a Sneaker Legend

May 20, 2022

Most people in the footwear industry knew Peter Moore as the global creative director of Nike and Adidas. He was one of the biggest names in the business and people revered him as a legend. But the weighty executive titles and resume can’t mask the fact that his truest moniker was that of an artist!

Peter Moore, an inventive brand marketer, is credited with many achievements in sneaker design and creative direction. His creation, the Air Jordan 1, remains one among the trending sneakers for men to date. He co-designed the Wings logo as well as the Jumpman logo.

He passed away on 30 April 2022 but he will always be remembered as a creator of the rich modern sneaker culture. He was associated with both Nike and Adidas and he influenced the direction of both the brands in the 1980s and beyond. Among the Air Jordan sneakers for men, the AJ 1 is the best-selling model and is considered to be the most important brand in history.

Peter Moore’s stint at Nike:

Nike was the client of Peter Moore’s design agency in 1977. He joined as their first creative director in 1983. He and his partner, Rob Strasser, were responsible for launching the Air Jordan brand. Peter designed the Air Jordan 1 regarded as the game-changer in the sneaker industry. He is credited with the design of the Wings logo and Jumpman logo, the most recognizable brand icons in the world.

The story behind the Wings logo:

Peter Moore and Nike’s Vice President Rob Robasser met Michael Jordan’s agent David Falk and they were told they had to create a brand with MJ and call it Air Jordan. On their return flight, Peter started to think about the logo. He saw a little child with a set of captain’s wings on his shirt given to him by the stewardess. Peter borrowed the pair of wings and started drawing them on a napkin. He put a basketball in the middle of the wings. It was all done and became the famous Wings logo on the Air Jordan sneakers. In 1988 starting from the Air Jordan 3 series, it was replaced by the legendary Jumpman logo representing Michael Jordan in a full jump.   

The iconic Air Jordan 1 Sneakers:

Peter Moore is also responsible for the Air Jordan 1 design. It was introduced in three colors, white and red, white on white, and red and black. The third shade, the black and red, also famous as the “Bred” went down in history as the banned sneaker.

During those days, there was a “51% Rule” in NBA where the sneakers had to use at least 51% white color. However, Michael Jordan wore the Bred color and Nike was fined $5000 for violating the rule for each match MJ wore these iconic sneakers. Nike marketed the Air Jordan 1 Bred as the banned sneakers and this was the start of the Air Jordan phenomena. Even today, the Air Jordan 1 Bred colorway continues to be among the trending sneakers for men.   

The Nike Dunk Story:

Peter Moore was again the man behind the Nike Dunk design. He took inspiration from the already released Nike models- the Air Force 1, the Terminator, the Air Jordan 1, and the Legend. Thus was born Nike Dunk was released in 1985 and coincided with the golden age of basketball. Nike used “Be True To Your School” as the Dunk’s marketing strategy targeting college basketball teams and fans to don the team colors. But the Nike Dunk was soon overshadowed by the popularity of Air Jordan 1.

It was only in the 1990s that skaters took an affinity towards the Nike Dunks as they were affordable and offered the necessary traction. Soon, the Nike Dunks, originally designed by Peter Moore, was re-engineered, and then came the high-profile collaborations creating a new version on every release. It now is a part of the trending sneakers for men and continues to be integral to the sneaker culture.

Peter Moore’s foray into the world of Adidas:

Peter Moore continued his relationship with Rob Strasser in Nike and together they established Sport Inc., a design and consulting firm.

In 1983, Adidas approached the designer duo to help revive the brand and compete with Nike. In 1987, Peter Moore left Nike abruptly and joined Adidas. While leaving, he handed over the ongoing Air Jordan 3 project to sneaker designer Tinker Hatfield. Even Michael Jordan was considering quitting Nike and joining Adidas. It’s another story of how Tinker Hatfield was able to successfully convince MJ to stay back with his Air Jordan 3 design and the Jumpman logo.

Peter Moore had by then joined Adidas and together with Rob, he launched EQT, the Adidas equipment line in 1991. He redesigned the famous Adidas Mountain logo, the slanted stripes, which continues to serve as the official logo to date. Rob Strasser launched the Adidas Americas in Portland in the 1990s. He passed away in 1993 and Moore succeeded him in the job as the creative director at Adidas and headed the North American operations. He retired from Adidas in 1998 but continued to remain as their consultant.

After retirement from Adidas, he launched his creative consultancy What’s Ya Think Inc.?. His last work exhibition was in Portland in 2013.

Sole Seriouss, the best online sneaker store, pays tribute to Peter Moore, a real legend and icon of the sneaker industry. His vast creative legacy continues to resonate with the new generations of sneakerheads, with the goal that it will live on in perpetuity.

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