You probably have a few pairs of Nike shoes lying around the house, but you might not know that once upon a time the brand was famous for its Swoosh that wasn’t actually called Nike. The label was founded in 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports by Bill Bowerman, who was actually the trainer of the famous Phil Knight (you know, the Shoe Dog author and co-founder of Nike) at the University of Oregon. The pair have reached a 50-50 business deal for ownership of the new company, after Knight agreed with a group of Japanese businessmen to export the country’s popular Onitsuka Tiger shoes to the United States.
The first dual-design trainer, the Tiger Cortez, was discontinued in 1967, but relations soured between Tiger and Blue Ribbon Sports and the pair separated in 1971. After the split with Tiger, Blue Ribbon Sports is entirely rebranded as Nike (after employee Jeff Johnson dreamed of the Greek goddess), although Knight originally wanted to call the company Dimension Six.
Next, Nike needed a logo, and Knight asked Carolyn Davidson, a student and illustrator at Portland State University, to design one. The Swoosh as you know it now cost $35 back then, although Knight gave it 500 shares in 1983, which is worth around $1 million today.
Nike, Inc was born in 1971, first with the Nike Cortez and then with the Waffle design. Since then the company has gone from strength to strength, notable moments being the introduction of the 1988 “Just Do It” ad campaign, the signing of major sports stars such as Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan, LeBron James and the late Kobe Bryant. and the introduction of patented “Air” technology with the Tailwind shoe in 1979. In 1987, Nike was the first brand to use Beatles music in an advertising campaign, launching an Air Max commercial set to “Revolution”, and in 2018, he unveiled an ad campaign featuring athlete and political activist Colin Kaepernick.
Since the first Niketown opened in Portland, Oregon in 1990, Nike sneakers have become widely available and there are now nearly 1,200 stores worldwide, as well as the Nike Sneakrs app and online store. line. It’s easily the biggest sports brand in the world.
Below are the best Nike shoes you can buy right now, to take your own sneaker collection to the next level.