Anyone who wants to buy universal sneakers for themselves always starts looking at the characteristics and range of products. Sports shoes are in great demand among consumers, all thanks to their features and incredible properties. It is convenient and comfortable in it. Feet do not get tired even after a person spends the whole day on his feet. Properly designed sneakers will not weigh down the feet, but rather give them a feeling of relaxation and freedom.
Most consumers today prefer to buy Nike running shoes. The main advantage of such shoes is not only a world name but also the incredible properties of the shoes themselves. In the assortment, everyone has the opportunity to choose the ideal models for themselves, which differ not only in size but also in shape, design, and color scheme.
The main thing when choosing is to give preference to those models that best meet the stated requirements. So in the assortment, it will be possible to choose sneakers for running, for playing football or basketball, as well as universal models. It is the latest type of shoes that are most in demand among buyers, and all because they can be combined not only with sportswear but also with other types of fashionable outfits: dresses, sundresses, and even classic business suits.
The sneaker brand Nike is today one of the most recognizable and commercially successful in the sportswear and footwear, as well as streetwear segment. Nike is a brand with unparalleled triumph in sports and business. The company employs about 75,000 people from all over the world. The brand occupies over 60% of the world market of sports shoes.
Approximately 900,000 Nike products are sold worldwide every year. And the brand’s superbly filmed advert won two Emmy awards, in 2000 and 2002.
But the most interesting thing is to find out how it all began, why this brand is so loved, and how and from what everyone’s favorite sneakers are made.
History of creation. Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman
In 1964, coach Bill Bowerman of the University of Oregon and his ward Phil Knight, a middle-distance runner, founded Blue Ribbon Sports (this was the name of the brand until 1978). At first, they did not produce their own shoes but sold the products of the Japanese brand Onitsuka Tiger, which is now known as ASICS. The first batch included 300 pairs of sneakers. The startup did not have a permanent outlet, so sales were made directly from Knight’s car in the town of Eugene, Oregon. The duo of entrepreneurs decided to open a “normal” store in 1966.
According to legend, Bowerman created the first pair of sneakers for Knight – but another student of the coach denies this version. We are talking about Otis Davis, who won the gold medal at the 1960 Summer Olympics. According to Davis, those shoes were tight and did not support the foot – but he liked them anyway because they were made especially for him. With neither manufacturing experience nor professional equipment, Knight and Bowerman trusted their business instincts and made the right decision.
Looking ahead, Bowerman passed away in 1999, and Knight continued to lead Nike until 2004. The brand’s junior founder remained a member of its board of directors until 2016.
Blue Ribbon Sports
The company’s first success on the way to its own production was the Cortez sneaker model, released in 1968. Three years later, the startup managed to attract investments from the Japanese trading house Nissho Iwai Corporation, known today as Sojitz.
In 1972, Moon sneakers went on sale. The embossed pattern of their soles was created using an ordinary homemade waffle iron. Canada was the first foreign market that the company’s products entered. Since 1974, shoes have been exported to Australia. Collaborating with famous athletes to promote their BRS sneakers began at the 1972 Olympics.
The first own factory of Blue Ribbon Sports opened in the USA, in the state of New Hampshire, in 1974. In just three years, sales grew from $5 million to $28 million. As part of the expansion, new facilities were launched in Maine, Taiwan, and South Korea. Sales of sneakers in the Asian market started in 1977, and in Europe and South America – in 1978.
Nike logo and Just Do It slogan
When the company was still called Blue Ribbon Sports, its logo consisted of three black letters: BRS. The distinctive icon that is the symbol of Nike today is called the “swoosh”. Created in 1971 by Caroline Davidson, she was a student of Phil Knight when he taught at Portland State University. The badge was patented in 1974. For her work, Davidson received only $ 35 – but then she got Nike products for a total of $ 640,000.
Between 1971 and 1978, the Swoosh badge was white on the inside and black on the outside. The inscription “Nike” passed in small letters on this badge. From 1978 to 1995, the swoosh was all black with large black letters NIKE above it. In 1995, the letters disappeared, and since then, “swoosh” has existed on its own, without needing further explanation. The market value of this branding alone, without the material values behind it, reaches $26 billion.
The slogan “Just Do It” (“Just do it”) was included in the top five slogans of the twentieth century according to Advertising Age, an authoritative American magazine dedicated to the advertising industry, which has been published since 1930. But few people realize how piquant the story is behind these three words.
In 1988, such a slogan was proposed by Wieden + Kennedy, Nike’s main advertising agency. Then they could not foresee that the slogan would remain with the brand for many years. He was inspired by the phrase: Let’s Do It, uttered by Gary Gilmour in the last seconds of his life. In 1977, the robber and murderer Gilmour was shot by court order, and his execution was the first execution in ten years in the United States.
Designers of the iconic American brand regularly develop new silhouettes, but at the same time, they do not forget about their archives. That is why sneaker models, which were hits 30-40 years ago, remain popular. Nike does not forget about the development of sports lines, the most popular of which are football, basketball, and running:
- The category “Running” includes models of the Joyride, Pegasus, React, and Air Zoom series.
- The Football category includes the following lines: Phantom, Mercurial, Tiempo, etc.
- The Nike Sportswear and Sportstyle segment include various wardrobe items and a whole series of sneaker models: Air Force 1, Blazer, Air Max, Air Max 1, Air Max 90, Air Max 95, Air Max 97, Air Max 270, Air Max 720, Air Max 2090, Air Max Plus, VaporMax, Cortez, Air Jordan 1.
- Limited collections of shoes and clothes with famous athletes and brands.
- Separately, it is worth highlighting the Nike SB line dedicated to skateboarding.
As of 2022, the following lines are in the greatest demand: Air Max, FlyEase, FlyKnit, Nike Free, Metcon, Air Zoom, and SB Janoski.
Iconic Nike sneakers
The most famous sneaker models in the history of the brand are the following:
Air Force 1.
They were released in 1982 as professional basketball shoes. Since then, the AF1 has been re-released in 2000 different designs and has become a staple of street fashion. Sports shoes with comfortable cushioning are great for endless city walks. Breathable insoles provide good ventilation. Sweating and bad smell are excluded. The manufacturer produces simple and high Nike Air Force. Both models reliably protect the feet from injury while running, jumping, or active walking. The ribbed outsole prevents slipping even on wet surfaces. The most popular colors are all-white or all-black models. They are suitable for almost any men’s and women’s clothing.
Air Max 1.
This model allowed customers to appreciate the benefits of innovative cushioning technology and became a signature style of the 1990s. The first Nike shoe from the iconic brand to feature a visible air capsule in the sole. The legendary technology is called simply, like everything ingenious – Air. It was invented and implemented back in 1978. But at that time, neither professional athletes nor ordinary buyers appreciated the proposed innovation.
The real breakthrough happened in 1987 when leading experts decided to reveal their technological secret to potential buyers. This is how the first pair of shoes from the Nike Air Max series was born, which millions of people around the world are in love with today. All that had to be done was not to hide the air capsule from the eyes of fans of the brand’s products.
Air Max 90
A designer with an architectural background worked on these sneakers, which is why they are so different from the rest of the models. Bright contrasting colors make themselves known from the first seconds of acquaintance. Some design elements are similar to windows and other architectural elements of modern buildings. The outsole of the Nike Air Max 90 is slightly oversized for added cushioning. Enhanced with multi-lace inserts, the lacing system helps tie the shoe to the thickness of the instep and other features of the wearer’s foot.
Air Max 95
In short, the Nike Air Max 95 is a pattern break. The design is developed taking into account the features of the anatomy of the human body. In fact, the sneaker model itself is very similar to a person: the mesh imitates the skin, the sole acts as the spine, the side elements are the muscles, and the loops and lacing are the ribs.
The air capsule in this model is located not only under the heel but along the entire length of the foot, for even more comfort while walking and running. The Nike Air Max 95 is the iconic brand’s first sneaker with a black sole. Its color is a harmonious element of the new design concept.
The minimalist silhouette first went on sale in 1985. Its designers were inspired by street style and skateboarding. The successful release of the popular Nike Dunk Low Flyknit is from the 1980s. The highly flexible and lightweight Flyknit material is used in the production, as a guarantee of maximum comfort while running or walking. The foam midsole provides good cushioning and support. At the same time, the shoes are practically not felt on the foot. Initially, engineers and designers were given just such a task – to make sports shoes that would become a real second skin for professional athletes. After four years of research and hard work, the Nike Dunk Low Flyknit was born.
Air Jordan 1.
These shoes were created in collaboration with basketball legend Michael Jordan. These shoes are specifically designed for basketball. The collaboration between Nike and Michael Jordan proved to be even more successful than one could imagine. Features of the movements of basketball players are taken into account by the uppercut and the special dynamics of the sole. The Nike Air Jordan is made from lightweight yet highly durable materials. Shoes are designed in such a way as to reduce the load on the ankle as much as possible. The athlete has as many as five modern technologies that help to jump higher and run faster while consuming a minimum of energy and moving in a comfortable, maximum safe mode.
Nike Air Zoom
Lightweight, durable and safe shoes for people with an active lifestyle. Sneakers weigh almost nothing and thus help the athlete save more energy. The cushioning system is adjustable, depending on the choice of activity and personal preferences. The sole dampens shock loads well, so your ligaments, joints, and muscles are always under reliable protection. Like any Nike sports shoe, the Air Zoom is highly durable and long-lasting. This is exactly the case when the thing is definitely worth the money spent on it.
High-top sneakers were originally designed for basketball.
This model is distinguished by an interesting combination of natural leather, suede, and thin artificial material. Shoe design takes into account the anatomical features of the foot. Additional protection is added to the toe and heel area. The highly flexible and lightweight Nike Cortez outsole provides maximum comfort while wearing the shoe. The cushioning system is top-notch, so you won’t be overloaded even if you’re on your feet all day. The embossed sole protects against slipping and possible injuries. Special materials eliminate sweating and arguing even during long walks.
Air Jordan and Converse
The Converse brand has been owned by Nike since 2003. With the advent of the 21st century, Nike began to get rid of subsidiaries, and as of 2020, Converse remains their only “daughter”. But to call the Jordan brand a child is impossible. The once-successful model of basketball shoes named after the legendary Michael Jordan Nike Air Jordan first found a separate line; then got rid of the Nike prefix, and later became separate clothing and footwear brand. Full control of the company, of course, belongs to Nike Corporation. And who really perceives Jordan in isolation from Nike?
Branded Nikes start with good material. As a rule, these are leather, suede, and the legendary wear-resistant mesh, which has almost magical ventilation properties. Jokes aside, but this brand’s crosses are truly one of the best in the world. This also applies to security issues. High-quality sports shoes fit the foot as tightly as possible. At the same time, the owner of the sneakers does not feel discomfort, moreover, it is reliably protected from injuries, bruises, and slipping.
And Nike sneakers are practical and durable. The outsole is just strong and durable. The upper is almost as durable and is guaranteed to last through seasons. Extreme and off-road enthusiasts will certainly appreciate the outsole with a special tread. It significantly dampens all the negative consequences of any impacts on the ground and saves the heel and fingers while running or jumping. Sealed lacing adds a secure fit and makes Nike athletic shoes even safer.
Nike shoes offer unparalleled comfort thanks to the brand’s massive investment in innovation. Here, for example, are several technologies that are used in Nike sneakers:
The cushion of polymeric material contains gas with enlarged molecules. Due to this, the shoe becomes lighter and provides excellent cushioning.
The movement of gas in the cushion is limited by polyurethane threads. For perfect cushioning, it is enough that the thickness of the sole is only 4 mm.
Mechanical elements are added to the pillow. Cushioning can be adjusted to suit the needs of different sports.
The load is evenly distributed over the surface of the foot thanks to special shock-absorbing structures. The carbon foam midsole effectively absorbs energy.
Adaptive foam, developed with input from NASA experts, keeps the shoe’s weight to a minimum while being extremely impact resistant.
The thinnest threads provide perfect support for the foot, taking into account its anatomical features.
This indicator is responsible for complete wind and water absorption. In other words, in sneakers, you can not be afraid of any weather changes and precipitation.
This indicator characterizes the special flexibility of the sole. In other words, the legs in such sneakers always remain free and do not feel constrained. This technology for the production of sports shoes is applicable exclusively to women’s models.
This system is used to make the outsole. Hard rubber is used for the heel area, carbon rubber is used for other parts of the shoe.
In 2019, Nike announced their intentions to create its own cryptocurrency. It is likely that the brand’s clothing and footwear will be equipped with sensors that synchronize with mobile devices. Users will be able to mine tokens while doing sports.
Among the great number of Nike collaborations with other companies and celebrities, first of all, their projects with Supreme, whose number has already exceeded two dozen, should be singled out. In 2002, they released the Supreme x Nike Dunk Low Pro SB inspired by skate culture. This was followed by collaborative reimaginings of the Air Force 1 in olive and camo, the snakeskin Air Max 98 Snakeskin, a pair of Nike x Supreme x Comme des Garcon, and many other great new releases.
In 2009, Nike sneakers went on sale, designed by Kanye West. With textured leather and a ribbed heel, the Air Yeezy 1 was a real revolution because it didn’t look like an athletic shoe at all. This pair turned out to be almost the first in the history of Nike, which was created solely for the sake of aesthetics, and not for training. The Air Yeezy 2 followed in 2012.
In 2010, Nike teamed up with Japanese designer Jun Takahashi, founder of the Undercover brand, to create the Gyakusou line. Its name literally means “to run in the opposite direction.” Gyakusou collections included not only shoes but also running clothes. The second collaboration of the duo happened in 2018 and was focused not only on athletes but also on connoisseurs of street fashion.
In 2017, the sports brand teamed up with Virgil Abloh, founder of Off-White. He took ten models of Nike, Jordan, and Converse sneakers as a basis and created a single pair of The Ten from them. Dior reimagined the Air Jordan for 2020.
The history of Nike contains a huge number of big names and exciting events. But the main thing is that this story is actively developing and being written so far.