Fresh off the debut of NikeLab and the unveiling of the Nike Free Mercurial Superfly HTM, Nike CEO Mark Parker sat down with Gary Warnett and fashion/art publication 032c to discuss the new endeavor. Supplementing last fall’s in-depth look inside HTM, the piece takes a look at the continual evolution of HTM – the long-running collaboration between Hiroshi Fujiwara, Tinker Hatfield, and the Swoosh’s CEO – as Parker touches on the importance of the Mercurial, the compelling nature of performance innovations, the genealogy of Dynamic Fit technology, and the relation of the latest HTM release to 2002’s unique Presto Roam. Enjoy a brief excerpt from the interview below while the entirety of Parker’s discussion with Warnett can be read over at 032c.
The Nike Free Mercurial Superfly HTM has roots in a number of shoes, but the Mercurial boot really set it off. Do you think that shoe was the real game changer as far as defining what Nike Football could be?
I think the 1998 Mercurial was one of the singular most important shoes for football in the history of Nike—and arguably for any sport shoe at Nike — in that it drives a truly distinctive and unique performance vision. I have to admit that in the earlier years at Nike there were a lot of people saying that we could never, ever truly lead in the category, but we quickly got over that by looking at the product and talking to athletes to get their help. This allows us to innovate and create something incredibly meaningful to the athlete while also bringing something new, different, and better to the table. Different and better are the keywords here. It put us on a path to truly lead. It was a confidence builder, truly innovative in a unique Nike sense, and it was all about performance. It was as much a reflection of the athlete-input process as any other shoe that we’ve had, and it really set us on a course that we’re still building on today.