Before there was the Swoosh, there were two visionary men who pioneered a revolution in athletic footwear that redefined the sneaker industry.

Bill Bowerman was a track and field coach at the University of Oregon, who constantly searched for ways to give his athletes a competitive advantage. He experimented with different track surfaces, re-hydration drinks and innovations in running shoes. But the established footwear manufacturers of the 1950s ignored the ideas he tried to offer them, so Bowerman began cobbling shoes for his runners.

Phil Knight was a talented middle-distance runner from Portland, who enrolled at Oregon in the fall of 1955 and competed for Bowerman’s track program. Upon graduating from Oregon, Knight earned his MBA in finance from Stanford University, where he wrote a paper that proposed quality running shoes could be manufactured in Japan that would compete with more established German brands. But his letters to manufacturers in Japan and Asia went unanswered, so Knight took a chance. You can say that chance paid off quite nicely.

Today, Nike continues to seek new and innovative ways to develop superior athletic products, and creative methods to communicate directly with our consumers and is now one of the largest, most known brands around the world.

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