The famous footwear brand, known, as Nike Inc. was founded January 25, 1964, by Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman. What started out as “Blue Ribbon Sports” became Nike on May 30, 1978, when a coworker of Phil’s, Jeff Johnson suggested naming it after the Greek goddess of victory. Nike is famous for it’s “Just Do It” slogan and very recognized logo known as, “The Swoosh” designed by Caroline Davidson, who attended school at The University of Oregon with Knight.
Phil Knight who was an accounting student at the University of Oregon and middle-distance runner- shared a love for sports and sports shoe technology with his track and field coach Bill Bowerman.
After finishing his studies in 1962, Knight went on to travel the world, then took a job working for Onitsuka Tiger in Japan. With a mere $500 investment, Knight was able to obtain 200 pairs of sneakers and began importing Japanese running shoes to the US in 1964.
After opening their first retail store in 1966, they launched the first Nike brand shoe in 1972. Nike released its first shoe model — the Air Max line — in 1987. The shoe contained air bubbles and a comfortable feel that people loved. Other models that followed the Nike Air Max line were Nike Vandals, Nike Air Force 1, and Nike Air Jordan’s.
While they were originally known as a running shoe company, they began marketing products for mountain biking, snowboarding, and other extreme sports in 1966 after creating Nike ACG (“all-conditions gear”). In addition, Nike later started to sell sports-technology accessories including high-altitude wrist compasses and portable heart-rate monitors.
Nike continuously expanded since the 1980s through diverse product lines and numerous acquisitions that included the companies Cole Haan, which was acquired in 1988 then sold in 2012, Converse, Inc. bought in 2003, Canstar Sports, Inc. that later became Bauer purchased in 1994 and sold in 2008, and the athletic equipment and apparel company Umbro bought in 2008 and sold in 2012.
Nike signed Michael Jordan as their spokesperson in 1984 who remains part of the brand till this day. Aside from Jordan, they also had other athletes endorse their products, such as Roger Federer, Mia Hamm, and Tiger Woods. In 1990, the Nike Town chain stores were opened to pay tribute to some of their most valued spokespersons who helped make Nike a success.
Despite a small setback that took place in the 1990s from revelations of poor working conditions in its factories overseas, the Nike Company was still able to grow and expand. By the 21st century, they had distributors and retail outlets in over 170 countries and the company logo was recognized worldwide.
Today, the American sportswear company is headquartered out of Beaverton, Oregon and is the global leader in innovative athletic footwear, apparel, and accessories.
Now let’s look at some of the shoe designs Nike has made available over the years.
Tiger Running Shoes – 1964
The first shoes to hit the U.S. were Tiger running shoes after Nike founder Phil Knight made a deal with the Japanese shoe Company Onitsuka.
Moon Shoes – 1972
Still known as Blue Ribbon Sports, Nike released “Moon Shoes,” that featured co-founder Bill Bowerman’s infamous Waffle sole, made especially for athletes competing in the Eugene, Oregon Trials, which took place in June 1972 where marathoner Jeff Galloway was the first athlete to cross the finish line wearing Nike shoes.
The Waffle Trainer – 1974
The Waffle trainer featuring Bowerman’s popular Waffle outsole was quick to become the top-selling training shoes in the U.S.
The Tailwind – 1979
This was the first of the “Nike Air” shoe line created with a patented Air-Sole cushioning system. Thus, the Tailwind shoes were also made with the first outsole mold created by Nike’s Exeter research & design lab using computer-aided advanced technology.
Air Force 1 – 1982
Nike’s first basketball shoe to include Nike’s air cushioning technology.
The Air Max – 1987
Nike incorporates Nike Air cushioning with athletic shoes for the first time and licenses the Beatles’ hit song, “Revolution” to go along with the controversial Revolution ad campaign.
Gold Spikes – 1996
The three-ounce shoes that helped track star Michael Johnson take home the 200m and 400m gold in the 1996 Olympic games.
Nike Shox – 2000
These were made with a different cushioning technology created after 16 years of research & development with materials used in engine mounts of race cars to provide spring-like, stable pillars of resistance for runners of a new generation.
Nike Free – 2005
The footwear designed with the latest advanced technology to mimic the leg-strengthening benefits of running barefoot.
Nike+ – 2006
Physical meets technical when Nike and Apple team up to incorporate music in a classic running shoe using a small sensor.
So what’s your favorite Nike shoe? Do you enjoy the many flavors of the currently lines or do you just like to rock the classics. Let me know in the comments below. Also, if you like me to write more articles like this one give me a thumbs up! In the mean time you can check out more of our great articles here, and if you’re currently in the market for an awesome pair of Nike’s, stay tuned to Donesia’s review on the Nike Air Max Tailwind IV.