How Nike came to be was a result of entrepreneurship and a strive to improve the performance of track athletes. Phil Knight was a middle distance runner in the 1950's and was studying a degree at Stanford University. Here he met a Bill Bowerman who was in charge of a track and field program that Phil was taking part in.
Bowerman was visionary in track and field events and an influential training coach at the time. He was continuously pushing the limits of what was known about varying factors to improve runners times including diet, training and footwear design. He had taken many of his trainer ideas to shoe manufactures of the time but none took him up.
Knight was now taking a MBA in finance and as part of this carried out a study comparing German trainer manufacturing and Japanese. Part of this study took Bill to the Onitsuka Tiger manufactures and as a surprise outcome Knight offered to be the distributor for the brand in the USA. Upon the success of the deal one of his first ports of call was to try and flog some footwear to his old pal Bowerman. Bill surprised Phil and offered him a business partnership deal. This was the start of Blue Ribbon a sportswear business for the sales and distribution of Onitsuka Tigers.
In the early 1970's Blue Ribbon decided to end their deal with Tigers and produce their own shoes. With the help of their first employee, Jeff Johnson who came up with the name Nike and graphic design student Carolyn Davidson the brand emerged.
By 1978 their technological advances and styling was having international success with sales globally. Sports stars around the world were wearing the swoosh. From Henry Reno, Kenyan marathon runner, to tennis legend John McEnroe. Possibly the most influential sports endorsement occurred when a young Michael Jordan signed with Nike and cemented the brand as an innovated sporting footwear manufacturer with cult like street wear status.
Nike launched their SB range in 2002 lead by the Dunk models and the range has now developed into large collection of skate ready and after skate trainers. Paul Rodriguez, aka P Rod, was the first skateboarder to sign for Nike SB and the team has grown a little to include the likes of Eric Koston and Stefan Janoski. The signature shoe of Stefan Janoski is possible the most successful and influential skate shoe of the decade.
As Nike SB combine Air Max technology and signature skate shoes, the future looks great for skaters and sneaker collectors alike.