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The Success Behind the Swoosh Logo: Who are the Founders of the Nike Brand?

by Editorial Staff 23 Jan 2023

Nike is an American multi-billion dollar national corporation that designs, develops, and manufactures footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories, and services. 

The company’s headquarters are at Beaverton, Oregon, in the Portland metropolitan area. Nike is considered one of the world's biggest suppliers of rubber shoes and apparel. As a major manufacturer of sports equipment, it has revenue in excess of US$24.1 billion in its fiscal year 2012 (ending May 31, 2012). It has more than 44,000 people employed worldwide. 

By the year 2014, Nike was valued at $19 billion. This put Nike on top and made it the most valuable brand among sports businesses. 



When was Nike created?

Nike was officially founded on January 25, 1964 by Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman. It’s official name was made public on May 30, 1971 as Nike, Inc

How did it get the name Nike?

The brand takes its name from the Greek goddess of victory,  Nike. 

Who are the Founders of Nike?

Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight are the co-founders of Nike.

Phil Knight is an American business magnate. He is the co-founder and chairman emeritus of Nike, Inc., one of the world's largest suppliers of athletic shoes and apparel. He began the company, originally called Blue Ribbon Sports, in 1964 as a distributor for a Japanese shoe maker, Onitsuka Tiger (now known as ASICS). He later changed the name to Nike, and the company has since grown to become one of the most recognizable brands in the world. In 2004 Phil Knight retired as CEO. He stepped down as chairman in 2016.

Bill Bowerman is the co-founder of Nike and was an American track and field coach. He was the head coach of the University of Oregon's cross country and track and field teams for 24 years and co-founded Blue Ribbon Sports, which would later become Nike, in 1964 with Phil Knight. Bowerman was known for using his knowledge of physiology and biomechanics to design athletic shoes and training programs and was an early proponent of the use of jogging as a form of exercise. He passed away on December 24th, 1999.

What are the best sellers of Nike?

Some of Nike's best-selling products include:

  • Nike Air Force 1: A classic low-top shoe that was first released in 1982, it is one of the brand's most iconic and enduring styles.
  • Nike Air Max: This series of shoes feature a visible air cushioning unit in the heel, and has been popular among both athletes and sneaker enthusiasts since its introduction in the late 1980s.
  • Nike Roshe: A casual shoe that was first released in 2012, it has since become a popular choice for everyday wear.
  • Nike Cortez: Originally introduced in 1972 as a running shoe, it has since become popular as a casual, everyday shoe.
  • Nike Air Jordan: a series of basketball shoes, first introduced for Michael Jordan in 1985 and ongoing, it continues to be one of Nike's best-selling and most popular lines.

These are examples of the products that historically have been among the best-sellers for Nike, but keep in mind that the best-sellers can change over time, depending on fashion trends, seasonal factors, and other variables.

As of 2021, Nike's net worth is estimated to be around $32 billion. However, this is subject to change and should be taken as an estimate only.As of 2021, Nike's net worth is estimated to be around $32 billion. However, this is subject to change and should be taken as an estimate only.

Some of Nike's top competitors in the athletic apparel and footwear industry include:

  • Adidas
  • Under Armour
  • Puma
  • Reebok
  • New Balance
  • The North Face, Timberland, and Vans - VF Corp
  • Skechers
  • Li-Ning
  • Fila
  • Converse

Keep in mind that this can vary by geography, product category, and other factors.

What’s your favorite Nike product? Comment below. 

Hey there! I'm Chuck, the Editor-in-Chief at Local Threads. We’re on a mission to showcase founders of start-ups and help them shine and tell the world about themselves, their products, and their vision in life. We see value in the stories of big brands and their founders as well. Their success can be a source of inspiration to start-ups.

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