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nike-sneaker-history

Nike
Sneaker
History
1964 - 2017

1964

Nike, originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS) is founded by Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman, an Olympic running coach, in Oregon.

1964

BRS starts to import Onitsuka Tiger athletic shoes into the USA from Japan, after Phil Knight completes a research paper at Stanford, concluding they will be a success.

1970

Experimenting by pouring rubber into his wife's waffle iron, Bowerman creates the first waffle sole; an innovation that changes running shoes forever.

1971

BRS changes its name to Nike, named after the Greek goddess of victory. The famous Swoosh logo - that will one day become one of the world's most valuable trademarks - is created by Carolyn Davidson, a design student at Portland University, for a fee of $35.

1972

The first version of what would become the Waffle Racer, nicknamed the 'Moon Shoe' is released with the first Swoosh logo. Pairs are handed out to athletes competing in US Olympic trials.

1972

The Nike Cortez is released during the Mexico Olympics, the culmination of Nike's track shoe development up to the time and the first to feature foam for cushioning. The Cortez has been released in a huge number of colourways over the years, including the pair made famous by the movie Forrest Gump.

Shop Nike Cortez

1973

Nike launches the Blazer basketball shoe. The shoe is worn by NBA player George Gervin, known as “The Iceman” due to his talent for scoring ice cold dunks. The shoe puts the Nike brand into the consciousness of basketball fans for the first time.

Shop Nike Blazer

1974

The Nike Waffle racer is released, using a sole inspired by Bill Bowerman's original waffle like creation. It is incredibly popular and becomes the best selling sneaker on the market.

1978

Nike releases the the Tailwind, the first running shoe to include air pockets in its outsole, which changes sports shoe history forever.

 

1982

The Air Force 1 is released and is the first basketball show to use air in the sole. Since first being reissued in 1986, there have been thousands or versions of the Air Force 1 in high and low tops and a wide range of colours and materials.

1982

Nike releases the Internationalist, a shoe designed for long distance runners. First seen at the new York City Marathon, the shoe would develop a reputation as one of the world's best long distance running shoes.

Shop Nike Internationalist

1983

The Air Pegasus is first launched as an accessible running shoe suitable for all runners. The Pegasus line continues to this day, with an annual update schedule. 

Shop Nike Air Pegasus

1984

The Air Jordan 1 is produced exclusively for Michael Jordan with the famous 'Jumpman' logo used for the first time. The prototype for the shoe named the Air Ship was banned by the NBA for not including enough white. The iconic Jordan 1 is released to the general public a year later.

1985

Nike releases its Dunk basketball shoe. The model has been released in a huge range of colourways and materials over the years in low, mid and high top versions, including a number of limited additions sought after by collectors. 

Shop Nike Dunk

1986

The Air Trainer 1 is released as a sneaker than can be worn for a range of activities rather than just one sport, in order to reduce injury caused by unsuitable footwear. The shoe becomes popular with tennis players, catapulting Nike into the tennis market.

1987

The first Nike Air Max shoe is released with a visible air pocket. The TV advert for the Air Max 1 was the first in history to use a Beatles track, “Revolution”. 

Shop Air Max

1988

The very first campaign featuring the now iconic slogan “Just Do It” launches. The slogan was inspired by serial killer Gary Gilmore's last words “Let's do it” before he was executed by firing squad in 1977.

1990

Nike opens its first retail store in Downtown Portland, Oregon.

1990

Nike releases the Air Max 90. Designed by one of Nike's most famous designers, Tinker Hatfield, the shoe was originally called the Air Max 3 until its re-release in 2000. 

Shop Nike Air Max 90

1991

The Air 180 is released and features a visible air unit that wraps around the sole of the shoe, giving 180 degrees of air. The model featured Michael Jordan in its advertising, using the running shoes as an alternative to basketball sneakers.

1991

Nike releases the Air Huarache which becomes incredibly popular with runners and quickly crosses over into mainstream casual wear. The paired back design features neoprene inspired by wetsuits. 

Shop Nike Air Huarache

1995

The Air Max 95 is released with a design considered revolutionary at the time. The original gradient grey colourway featured contrasting neon yellow in the multiple air units and lace loops with a ripple design by Nike ACG designer Sergio Lozano.

1996

US golfer Tiger Woods signs a sponsorship deal with Nike on turning pro that will see him promoting Nike equipment, apparel and releasing a signature golf clothing and footwear line.

1997

The iconic Air Max 97 is released in original 'Silver Bullet' colourway, featuring a full length visible air sole.

1999

NikeTown opens in London's Oxford Street and following redevelopment in later years becomes the largest Nike store in the world.

1999

NikeiD launches and enables customers to purchase customised trainers by selecting individual colours and materials for various components of the shoes.

2000

Nike introduces 'Shox' shoe technology after 16 years of research. Using small rubber columns, Shox act like springs by absorbing impacts when running and returning the energy to the runner.

2000

The Nike Woven launches, initially in Japan, and sells out immediately. Featuring a hand woven upper and Zoom air unit, the woven style has since been used on a variety of special editions of other Nike models.

2002

Nike founds Nike SB to get into the fast growing skateboarding shoe and clothing market. The brand has since grown to be one of the market leaders with a comprehensive range of products. Nike SB has a full team of pro athletes with signature lines and regularly releases sought after limited editions. 

Shop Nike SB

2003

Nike buys Converse for $309 million. Nike would later use some of its own technologies to create updated versions of the famous Converse All Star range of sneakers. 

Shop Converse

2004

Nike introduces 'Free' shoe technology which uses highly flexible soles designed to allow feet to move as they would naturally to strengthen the foot and minimise injury, and was inspired by athletes who trained by running barefoot.

2006

Nike team up with Apple to launch Nike+ technology, allowing runners to track their distance, speed and time. Initially using an in-shoe sensor, Nike+ would later transform to an iPhone GPS app.

2008

Nike Acquires Umbro, the English sportswear brand most famous for its football kits and equipment for $580 million. Nike would later sell the brand in 2012 to Iconix Brand Group for $225 million.

2009

Nike launches Lunarlon, a new type of foam midsole inspired by space travel that was designed to be lightweight, offer enhanced stability, absorb impact and provide a spring back to runners. One of the first shoes to use the technology is the Lunar Racer 1.

2012

Nike introduces its Flyknit technology with the Lunar Flyknit Trainer HTM. Flyknit uses light yet high strength fibres knitted together to create the shoe, providing support where needed, flexibility and breathability. Shop Flyknit

Shop Flyknit

2012

The Roshe Run is released, inspired by the simplicity and minimalism of Buddhist Zen gardens. The show proves to be a hit and is subsequently released in a variety of colourways, materials and crossovers incorporating other Nike technologies. 

Shop Nike Roshe Run

2015

Nike announces a limited number of reproductions of the self lacing Nike Mag shoe, first seen in the movie Back To The Future Part II in 1989, auctioned in collaboration with the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

2017

Nike agrees a lifetime sponsorship deal with Cristiano Ronaldo, who the company have sponsored since 2003. The new lifetime deal is reported to be worth $1 billion for the footballer.

2017

Nike reveals the Hyperadapt 1, the first self tightening shoe that uses sensors and an adaptive lacing system to ensure a perfect fit as the wearer carries out activities.

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