Nike is the largest corporation of athletic footwear, clothing, and sports equipment in the world
With headquarters near Beaverton, Oregon, it started as ‘Blue Ribbon Sports’ in January 1964 by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight, eventually taking the name ‘Nike’ in May 1971, after the ‘Greek Goddess of Victory’.
Originally, it distributed Onitsuka Tiger shoes, largely at track meets, where sales were made from the back of Knights car, but after their first store opened in Santa Monica, California, several new products started to launch. In 1972, the moon shoe was invented which was a lightweight and greppable shoe that could make runners go faster, without the need for spikes. It took its name from the fact that its footprint resembled astronaut type footprints.
A new logo for the brand was invented by June 1971 with their first brand ad created in 1976 and by 1980, Nike had acquired 50% of the US market. In 1988, the ‘swoosh’ logo was accompanied by the ‘Just do It’ slogan, later becoming one of the top five ad slogans of the twentieth century. New products continued to launch and in the late 80s, the very first Nike retail store opened in Downtown Portland.
From the late 80s, Nikes success allowed them to acquire several other retailers, which started with Cole Haan footwear in 1988, Bauer Hockey in 1994 and Hurley International, a surf apparel company. Further success allowed it to acquire Converse in 2003, followed by Starter a year later, then Umbro in 2007. Since this time, Nike has sold some of its subsidiaries and now just owns one – Converse.
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