A First Look at the Nike Air Max Susan Inspired by ‘Missing Link’

Nike cofounder Phil Knight and son Travis, the CEO of Laika Studios, team up for their fifth collab

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Nike Air Max Susan / Michael Saintil

Laika Studios—the cinematic masterminds behind Coraline, The Boxtrolls, ParaNorman and Kubo—are at it again with Missing Link. With every movie release, Travis Knight, the animation studio’s president and son of Nike cofounder Phil Knight, creates incredible shoe silhouettes inspired by each film. 

This time around, Nike and Laika took inspiration from designer Tinker Hatfield’s iconic Nike Air Max 1 and Missing Link’s protagonist Mr. Link. The new shoe, dropping April 9, is called the Nike Air Max Susan.

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Michael Saintil

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Michael Saintil

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Michael Saintil

Hatfield and former animator Michael Berger translated the plaid pattern work and textures that Laika costume designer Deborah Cook first dressed Mr. Link in. Cook describes Mr. Link’s aesthetic as one of Pacific Northwest roots balanced with a playful twist. The shoe’s leather-wrapped midsole, cuff links and patterned fur tufts on the tongue add a regal and refined element to the silhouette.

“The Air Max 1 has always been a really uplifting, happy design,” Hatfield said. “When I saw the film, I immediately felt Mr. Link was instantly lovable—he’s happy-go-lucky, the type to stop and smell the flowers. So he’s got a certain chill that, for me, made sense with the silhouette.”

The Nike and Laika partnership is one of the most unique father-son relationships in business today, making this a rare and highly coveted item for both moviegoers and sneakerheads alike. Missing Link arrives in theaters on April 12, three days after the shoe drops. 

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Michael Saintil

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Michael Saintil

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Michael Saintil

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