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Nike 101 Who Founded Nike, When Did Nike Start & More

Nike is one of the most influential companies ever created. Nike has changed the shoe game, sports, and our culture. Nike has had a large and enthusiastic fanbase for decades now. Fans talk passionately about Nike online, in person and anywhere else they correspond.

Below are some of the most main facts in the history of the company.

When Was Nike Founded?

Nike started as Blue Ribbon Sports in 1964. The company was headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon. Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight founded Blue Ribbon Sports. In 1966, the first Blue Ribbon Sports store opened in California. The storefront was an instant success, and a name change was needed. In 1971, Nike would become the new name of the company.

Who Created Nike?

Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight founded Blue Ribbon Sports.

About Phil Knight

Phil Knight is the co-founder of Nike. Knight was the President of Nike from 1968 to 1990. He would return as President from 2000-2004. Before getting involved with Nike, Knight was a certified public accountant and a Professor of Business Administration.

About Bill Bowerman

Bill Bowerman is one of the most renowned track coaches of all time. Bowerman coached Phil Knight when he was a runner at the University of Oregon. Bowerman was a coach at Oregon for 24 years. He helped to develop some of the greatest runners of all time, like Steve Prefontaine.

The Knight & Bowerman Team

Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight both had an interest in approving the footwear that was available for athletes. In the early 1970s, Bowerman developed the waffle outsole. The waffle outsole was an experiment by Bowerman that had him pouring rubber compound into his wife’s waffle iron. The duo wanted to offer athletic shoes with more traction and that were lighter. The waffle soles and the great marketing of Nike helped to establish them as a leading athletic shoemaker very quickly.

What Does The Nike Name Mean?

The winged Greek goddess of victory inspired the name.

When Was The Swoosh Made?

The iconic Nike Swoosh was also created in 1971. A graphic design student created the world famous logo. The logo was crafted to convey speed and the goddess Nike was its inspiration. The first shoes to feature the Nike Swoosh were the Nike Cleat and the Nike Waffle Racer at the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon.


- Adam C. Better