Nike is a sportswear and equipment supplier from the United States and was founded in 1964 as Blue Ribbon Sports by Philip Knight, a track and field athlete, and his coach Bill Bowerman. Nike takes its name from the Greek goddess of victory. Based near Beaverton, Oregon Nike currently employs over 30,000 people worldwide and is the world’s leading supplier of athletic shoes and associated apparel with revenue of approx $19.2 billion US dollars.They market their own products under their brand name as well as Nike Golf, Nike +, Air Jordan to name a few. They also sponsor many high profile sporting figures within the industry and produce a wide range of sports equipment.
Some of their first products to be introduced where track running shoes, which included the Nike Elite trainer, Nike Challenger trainer and the Nike Cortez trainer. These particular styles of trainers were and are still very popular with select groups of people such as 80s casuals, fashionistas and retro trainer lovers.
The company’s first self-designed product was based on Bill Bowerman’s waffle design. Whilst the University of Oregon resurfaced their track, Bowerman started experimenting with different potential outsoles that would out grip the new urethane track more effectively. His efforts were rewarded when one Sunday morning he poured liquid urethane into his wife’s waffle iron. Bowerman from here then went onto develop and refine the waffle sole, which would later evolve into the legendary waffle trainer of 1974.
This waffle design sole can be found on the Nike Elite and the Nike Challenger trainers. By the 1980s Nike had grown rapidly due to word of foot advertising and had a 50% share in the US athletic shoe market and in 1980 decided to go public with the company.
A huge fan of Nike retro trainers is Neil Primett, a true collector of anything Nike Vintage related. He recalls growing up in the UK with a love of sports, particularly athletics in the early 80s when all he had every really known was the likes of Adidas as a young wannabe athlete. He soon switched to Nike and the waffle sole, long distance, long jump, high jump, 800 metres, Nike waffle trainers and running spikes. His first real look into Nike Fashion came when John McEnroe was seen in the Nike Wimbledon Tennis inspired trainer. Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe inspired the UK football terrace casuals with this shoe and it became part of the outfit for casuals with others in the UK adopting other Nike fashion looks, the list is endless.
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