words // Zack Schlemmer

The late 1980's saw countless great models released from Nike, but perhaps the brand's greatest contribution to the footwear industry was the innovation of the cross-trainer.  In 1987 Nike introduced the Air Trainer 1, designed by Tinker Hatfield as a non-sport-specific shoe that could be used for running, basketball, tennis, weightlifting, or virtually any other sport you needed athletic shoes for.  The new cross-trainer opened up a whole new market for Nike, along with every other sneaker brand that would soon follow with multipurpose shoes of their own.

After the Air Trainer 1 broke new ground in the footwear industry, Nike followed up its success with plenty more now classic cross-trainers in the late 80's and early 90's.  Among the earliest trainers from Nike was the one in this ad, the Air Trainer TW from 1988.  The Trainer TW was very similar to the Air Trainer 1, but with a lower cut and a bit more support and cushioning.  This ad also explains that they were fully washable - a practice you don't see encouraged anymore.

The Nike Air Trainer TW is now pretty much forgotten, but thankfully there are still great ads like this to help record the early days of the cross-trainer.