Today Nike has an elevated status, in terms of athletic and casual footwear. This dominance began had humble beginnings with a relationship between University of Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman and student-athlete Phil Knight.
Bowerman was a strong believer in the relationship between performance and quality equipment was himself a shoe maker on a small scale, which coaching.
Phil Knight eventually went to Stanford University were he earned an MBA. While at Stanford Knight got the idea that quality Asian produced sneakers could compete with with German brands Puma and adidas in the US.
Knight then began a distribution deal with Japanese brand Onitsuka Tiger, which later became Asics.
Knight and Bowerman then began the Blue Ribbon Sports in 1964, which served as a sneaker retailer that directly marketed and sold to athletes from Knight’s trunk.
In 1968, the Bill Bowerman designed sneaker originally called Mexico released. The sneaker would go on to be called the Aztec and eventually it was called the Cortez.
In 1970, Bowerman develops the concept rubber waffle spikes to increase the grip of the sole.
Following Bowerman’s design innovation in 1972, Blue Ribbon Sports and Onitsuka Tiger end their business relationship. Around this same time RBS begins using the names Nike and the Swoosh on their sneakers.
By 1978, RBS had developed a collection of runners with waffle soles and garnered celebrity endorsements. 1978 also saw the name change of the brand from from RBS to Nike. Nike Air technology was also first developed in 1978, which gave the sole of sneaker’s a better cushioning system.
In 1979, the Nike Tailwind released as the first sneaker to incorporate Air Technology.
In 1982, the Nike Air Force 1 released as the first basketball sneaker to release, which incorporated Air technology.
In 1985, the legendary Air Jordan first released, the signature sneaker of Michael Jordan.