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Article: Nike At Kong

Nike At Kong
Kong Online

Nike At Kong


Nike was born on the running track. 

Oregon university track coach Bill Bowerman was deeply interested in how footwear could give his team the edge over the competition. Having learnt the basics of shoe fabrication from a local cobbler, Bowerman would spend his time tinkering with running shoes in an attempt to improve them. Though reportedly not a particularly valuable addition,  Phil Knight was one of the students on the running team. However, his average skill led to the creation of a remarkable company…

Not wanting to use one of his star runners as guinea pigs, Bowerman asked Knight to test some of the shoes that he had altered. Seeing the positive effect the shoes had, teammate Otis Davis requested a pair. Davis would go on to win the 1960 Olympic gold medal for the 400m dash, in shoes made by Bowerman.

Knight completed his studies at Oregon and went on to complete an MBA programme at Stanford, here he wrote a piece about how the production of running shoes should be moved from Germany to Japan as it would be more cost effective.

Upon completion of his studies Knight and Bowerman decided that they would go into business together. In 1964 Blue Ribbon Sports was founded. It took until 1971 for the successful company to rebrand as Nike, and introduce the signature ‘swoosh’ logo. From there the company has gone from strength to strength.

The company was the first to challenge the sports shoe oligopoly formed by competing brothers Adi and Rudolf Dassler - founders of Adidas and Puma respectively. You can learn more about them on our previous blog here. 

Nike At Kong

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