Nike, Inc., formerly Blue Ribbon Sports, American sportswear company headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon.
It is the world’s largest supplier of athletic shoes and apparel and a major manufacturer of sports equipment, with revenue in excess of about US$40 billion in its fiscal year 2021.
One of the most valuable brands among sport businesses, Nike employs over 76,000 people worldwide.
It sells its apparel through the Nike brand, as well as its Jordan Brand and Converse subsidiaries.
The company sponsors top athletes and sports teams around the world, including LeBron James, Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal, and Alex Morgan.
The company was founded on January 25, 1964, as “Blue Ribbon Sports”, by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight, and officially became Nike, Inc. on May 30, 1971.
In their first year of distribution, the company’s new products grossed $1.96 million and the corporate staff swelled to 45. In addition, operations were expanded to Canada, the company’s first foreign market, which would be followed by Australia, in 1974.
The company’s growth had truly begun to take off by this time, riding the boom in popularity of jogging that took place in the United States in the late 1970s. BRS revenues tripled in two years to $14 million in 1976, and then doubled in just one year to $28 million in 1977. To keep up with demand, the company opened new factories, adding a stitching plant in Maine and additional overseas production facilities in Taiwan and Korea. International sales were expanded when markets in Asia were opened in 1977 and in South America the following year. European distributorships were lined up in 1978.
Nike Air Max is a line of shoes produced by Nike, Inc., with the first model released in 1987. Air Max shoes are identified by their midsoles incorporating flexible urethane pouches filled with pressurized gas, visible
from the exterior of the shoe and intended to provide cushioning to the underfoot. Air Max was conceptualized by Tinker Hatfield, who initially worked for Nike designing stores.
Wieden+Kennedy, Nike’s primary ad agency, has worked with Nike to create many print and television advertisements, and Wieden+Kennedy remains Nike’s primary ad agency. It was agency co-founder Dan Wieden who coined the now-famous slogan “Just Do It” for a 1988 Nike ad campaign, which was chosen by Advertising Age as one of the top five ad slogans of the 20th century and enshrined in the Smithsonian Institution. Walt Stack was featured in Nike’s first “Just Do It” advertisement, which debuted on July 1, 1988. Wieden credits the inspiration for the slogan to “Let’s do it”, the last words spoken by Gary Gilmore before he was executed.
The Nike brand, with its distinct V-shaped logo, quickly became regarded as a status symbol in modern urban fashion and hip-hop fashion due to its association with success in sport. Beginning in the 1980s, various items of Nike clothing became staples of mainstream American youth fashion, especially tracksuits, shell suits, baseball caps, Air Jordans, Air Force 1’s, and Air Max running shoes with thick, air cushioned rubber soles and contrasting blue, yellow, green, white, or red trim. Limited edition sneakers and prototypes with a regional early release were known as Quickstrikes, and became highly desirable items for teenage members of the sneakerhead subculture.
The Air Force 1 was produced in 1982 and discontinued in 1984. It was re-released in 1986 with the modern italic Nike logo with a Swoosh on the bottom on the back of the shoe. Little has changed to the Air Force One since its creation in 1982, although the original stitching on the side panels is no longer present in modern versions of the shoe. Since then, over 1,700 color variations have been produced, bringing in an estimated 800 million USD/year in revenue. The selling of the Air Force Ones online by certain retailers used to be prohibited by Nike who had restricted supply of the sneaker. Nike now allows retailers to offer the shoe for sale online.
Air Jordan is a line of basketball shoes and athletic clothing produced by American corporation Nike. The first Air Jordan shoe was produced for Hall of Fame former basketball player Michael Jordan during his time with the Chicago Bulls in late 1984, and released to the public on April 1, 1985. The shoes were designed for Nike by Peter Moore, Tinker Hatfield, and Bruce Kilgore.
The most expensive trainers (sneakers) sold at auction are a pair of Nike Air Jordan 1s, game-worn by Michael Jordan in 1985, which were sold for $560,000 (£462,351; €517,335) by Sotheby’s, on 17 May 2020.
The most expensive trainers (sneakers) sold in a private sale are a pair of Nike Air Yeezy Sample shoes worn by Kanye West (USA) at the 2008 Grammy Awards, which sold for $1,800,000 (£1,296,590 / €1,487,770), on 26 April 2021.
A pair of 1972 Nike Waffle Racing Flat “Moon Shoe” sneakers sold for $437,500 (£351,426; €391,554), including premium, at Sotheby’s in New York, USA, on 23 July 2019. The unworn shoes were hand-made by Nike co-founder and Oregon University track coach Bill Bowerman, and only a handful of the original batch of 12 pairs are left in existence.