The History of Nike Shoes: How Nikes Became So Popular

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Before Nike became the biggest athletic brand in the world, it was known as Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS). BRS was founded by Phil Knight and his running coach Bill Bowerman in 1964.

When they first started, they imported shoes from Japan before creating their first lightweight training shoe in 1971.

It was designed for track and featured waffle-type nubs on the outer sole. With the launch of this first shoe, they renamed the company after the Greek goddess of victory, Nike.

The swoosh logo that is instantly recognized worldwide was designed for $34 by a graphic design student!

In 1979 they launched Nike Air, which was extremely successful, making them the No.1 supplier of athletic shoes in America.

In 2013, a collector auctioned 2,500 Nike trainers on eBay with the aim of raising $1 millionIn 2013, a collector auctioned 2,500 Nike trainers on eBay with the aim of raising $1 million (Credit: TIG Media / WENN)

Years later, in 1985, Michael Jordan collaborated with Nike creating the “Jordan” shoe – still one of the most popular Nike shoes to date.

According to Forbes, Nike has since paid Michael Jordan an estimated $1.3 billion since the deal was made. By the 1990s, Nike was expanding into apparel, golf, and soccer.

The first ever Nike Flyknit Air Max sneakers were released in 2014The first ever Nike Flyknit Air Max sneakers were released in 2014 (Credit: OKcamera / Shutterstock)

The “Just Do It” tagline didn’t come to fruition until 1988 with a major marketing campaign. Nikes marketing initiatives include endorsement deals and sponsorships with some of the most famous and talented athletes. In 2015, Nike became the official uniform of the NBA.

Some of their most popular styles today are the classics that were developed in the early days.

Nike Cortez still has the same vintage look. Released for the 1972 Summer Olympics, they were the most popular shoe of the decade. The Nike Air Force 1 was their first basketball shoe and debuted in 1982.

The Air Jordan 1 High Bred Patent features black and red patent leather upper with signature weaved Nike Air tongue labels (Credit: Danny Bakker / Shutterstock)

It’s now available in five different styles and a variety of different colors. A year later, in 1983, Nike Air Zoom Pegasus became the number one choice for runners – and still is to this day!

Nike Air Max 1 was introduced in 1987, featuring superior cushioning technology with translucent pouches filled with gel.

Nike now has several different lines and styles, categorized by their function and sport. Many of their shoes come in different color combinations and limited editions. This has made the brand a beloved choice for sneakerheads and collectors.

What Font Does Nike Use?

The company uses Trade Gothic as the primary typeface for the brand. While Nike previously also used Futura Extra Bold Condensed, now Trade Gothic Bold Condensed is used almost everywhere. The body copy is Helvetica.

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