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Nike - breaking barriers

"From dishwasher to millionaire!"

This hopeful phrase is still the typical American dream that we like to associate with the country. And although countless people have tried to fulfill this dream in the past, only very few have actually succeeded. Phil Knight is one of them. However, he was not a dishwasher, but a student and enthusiastic runner when he founded a sportswear company together with Bill Bowerman in the sixties - the beginning of a never-ending success story. With the vision of producing the world's best sports shoe, the company Nike emerged in the early seventies from the pure sale of sports shoes. Since then, the American company has grown into a global corporation that has lost none of its drive and passion for innovative technologies. 

No other manufacturer can boast such commercial success as Nike to this day. As the market leader, Nike has sold more than any other brand in this segment since the end of the 1980s. But Nike is not only at the top of the sportswear segment - the company is considered the most valuable clothing brand and is one of the 100 most important companies in the world. Building up such an impact within just a few decades is more than a good achievement - we take our hats off!

In this article, we will not only introduce you to the company Nike and its history, but of course also reveal all the details about the top models!

From Plymouth Valiant to the whole world - the success story

The starting signal for Nike was given in 1964, when the successful sports coach Bill Bowerman founded the company Blue Ribbon Sports together with Phil Knight in Portland, Oregon. Bowerman provided the sporting know-how as well as an unbridled ambition for innovation with the will to create the perfect shoe for even better performance. Knight, on the other hand, was the marketing head of the duo. He was the one who made contact with the Japanese manufacturer Onitsuka Tiger - today ASICS - and thus laid the foundation for the collaboration. 

First, he sold the Japanese sports shoes from the trunk of his green Plymouth Valiant - and thus started the storybook history of the American dream. While Knight was selling, Bowerman took the shoes apart to figure out how he could make them better. He developed updates to the Japanese shoes and tested his designs on the young runners on his team. But Bowerman wanted more - more design, more lightness, more grip. It was time for something of his own.

It took a full 7 years before the company began to produce its own shoes and changed its name to Nike. Based on the Greek goddess of victory "Nike", the name was to become the program: With the new name, they catapulted the company to the next level and have managed to remain at the top to this day through innovation and passion!

The decisive strategy

The first Nike shoe to be produced in-house and immediately successful was the Nike Cortez. A student designed the Nike "Swoosh", which is still so typical today, symbolizing the wing of the Greek goddess of victory and clearly demonstrating the pioneering spirit of the brand.

Through the sponsorship of well-known athletes, the Cortez quickly became well-known and popular - and not just as a sports shoe. It established itself as a distinguishing feature for gang members in Los Angeles thanks to its eye-catching logo and various colorways. So much so that anyone wearing the Cortez was directly associated with the gangs. Allegedly, it was even banned from some schools. Although this led to good sales of the shoes, it also contributed to a certain image. Through clever placement in films and series, Nike was able to restore the good reputation of the Cortez and gained huge popularity as a result. This also extended to other models such as the Nike Dunk Low or the Nike Air Max Plus or Nike TN. 

When we think of Nike today, we associate it directly with the images of Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny. This coup with the basketball star was an important - if not the most important - milestone for Nike and clearly shows the strategy Knight used to make the brand great.

Sponsorship of professional athletes is of course widespread, especially in sportswear - but Nike has taken the topic to a whole new level. The Jordan 1, designed especially for top athletes, is and remains the best-known model and is still the reason why Nike Jordans are so popular today. Many famous athletes such as Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong followed suit and Nike even got the opportunity to sponsor the NFL. With the slogan "Just do it", they had finally made it to the top of the sportswear segment.

Tireless pursuit of innovation and inspiration

Nike started its success in the running segment and had the vision of supporting runners and other athletes in the best possible way from the very beginning. What Bowerman did on his own in the early years became more and more professional over the years. In the meantime, the company has influenced the market with many revolutionary technologies and thus defended its throne. The most important innovations include Air cushioning and various upper materials such as Flyknit. 

While Nike now has an incredibly large fan base in the lifestyle sector with models such as the Jordan 1 Mid or the Air Force 1, the brand is still the professional sports shoe among athletes that it was from the very beginning. Many athletes, both professional and amateur, swear by the Swoosh and buy Nike shoes out of conviction. 

The popularity of the brand extends across all areas and is clearly recognizable. Whether in the gym, on the court or in the lifestyle sector, Nike's success is undisputed. 

The sneaker highlights from Nike

With its innovative marketing strategies and revolutionary technologies, no other company has been able to outstrip Nike. But the brand's success is not solely down to Michael Jordan and technical innovations. Nike also owes its market position to the fact that the company is constantly evolving, picking up on new trends and moving with the times. Over the years, sporty clothing and accessories have therefore established themselves alongside shoes. In order to be technically up-to-date in the age of digitalization, the company developed its own fitness app and, together with Apple, the Apple Watch Nike+. 

Nike's hobbyhorse, however, is and remains the sports shoe. Whether for professional sports or as a lifestyle sneaker - the Swoosh can be found in almost every wardrobe. But which models are the absolute favorites?

The Nike Air Force 1

Nike shoes are not only packed with know-how from top-class sport and cool design. With the Air technology, the brand has brought real NASA knowledge into the house! Aerospace engineer Franklin Rudy developed the Air unit for Nike and Phil Knight was able to start the first test run at the end of the seventies. The shoes' special cushioning system provides greater bounce and more flexibility while maintaining the same level of support. The chambers filled with compressed air absorb shocks and allow athletes to give their all in sport without compromise. The Nike Tailwind sold out so quickly that it was clear that the story of Air technology had only just begun!

The Nike Air Force 1 silhouette was launched as a basketball shoe in the 1980s and quickly became a real cult item. It wasn't long before many great basketball players were wearing the shoes with Air cushioning. Even today, the Air Force 1 is not just a game changer on the court, but a real lifestyle must-have. Similar to the brand name itself, Nike has also thought big with the Air Force 1, as the shoe is named after the American president's plane.

The shoe itself has a clean design and goes with almost any outfit. The AF 1 is now available in over 3000 colorways and different heights and variants, such as the Air Force 1 Pixel and the Air Force 1 Shadow. The original high version with the belt and breathable toe box was the ideal sports shoe for good support and perfect cushioning. However, the low version is definitely the most popular on the street. The Air Force 1 experienced a major upswing with the rap of the 2000s and has been an absolute favorite again since the renewed sneaker trend!

The Nike Air Jordan 1

Until the early eighties, adidas and Converse were the big names in basketball. But Knight was clever and signed the exceptional talent Michael Jordan at the right time. Nobody expected this contract to be such a success on both sides - because Michael Jordan is still one of the most famous athletes in the world today. Nike thus also secured the lead in basketball and relegated adidas to second place.

The first Air Jordan was specially designed for the athlete and appeared in black and red. From a marketing point of view, this was another absolute hit, as black shoes were not permitted in the NBA. For every game in which Jordan wore these shoes, he had to pay a fine of several thousand dollars. Of course, the press immediately pounced on this scandal and really pushed the popularity of the Air Jordan 1. This was followed by many more Air Jordan models by Nike designer Tinker Hatfield, who also introduced the typical Jumpman logo. But that was not all, as there were many highlights in the Air Jordan range. For example, a special design was developed for the 1992 Olympic Games and the AJ X with the athlete's successes on the sole was released to mark the end of Jordan's career for the time being. In 2001, Nike launched another model of the Nike Air Jordan - designed by Wilson Smith. This made a real fashion statement! 

The Air Jordan 1 still enjoys such popularity that there have been many collaborations. These special models generated so much hype that the Jordan 1 Off-White "Chicago", for example, is sometimes worth 20 times its original retail price. A real rarity among die-hard fans. Many other models are now also valued as collector's items and are traded at many times their original price. Meanwhile, the Jordan 1 Low and the Jordan 1 Mid are also sought-after silhouettes - a fact that nobody would have believed a few years ago. 

The Nike Air Max

The Air Max is probably one of the most popular sneakers with Air technology. New colorways are regularly sold out and are hyped among sneakerheads like no other shoe. The look is a complete departure from the previous clean look. With the Air Max, the designer wanted to reveal the inside of the shoe and thus give an insight into the air chambers, which guarantee the best comfort through maximum cushioning even with firm impacts. 

The first Air Max 1 stormed the market in 1987. Only a short time later, other models such as the Air Walker Max and the Air Max Light followed. In the early 90s, the Air Max 90 followed, which is still the second most popular Air Max of all time. Its successors, such as the Air Max 95, Air Max 97 and the Air Max 98, are also perennial favorites in the Nike online store. 

The Nike Dunk

Another silhouette that has also made it to one of the top spots is the Dunk. This model was designed for basketball players in the mid-1980s and was quickly worn up and down the skater scene. The Nike Dunk Low in particular became firmly established in the street style sector and is popular for its colorways and unusual details. With the originality of the colors and a well-rounded storytelling, the Dunks have managed to step out of the shadow of the Air Jordan and inspire their own fan base.

There have also been repeated collaborations with greats such as Travis Scott, which have generated a lot of publicity and made the shoe one of Nike's most popular models. Other Dunk models have also been added to the range over the years: the Dunk High, Dunk Disrupt and the Nike SB Dunk.

Nike - a victory across the board

There is probably no other company that has defended first place in its segment for as many years with as much perseverance and dedication as Nike. What began in the trunk of a Plymouth has had a lasting influence on sport and street style to this day. In addition to revolutionary technologies and new designs, this is due not least to the courageous and innovative marketing concept of Phil Knight, who has always shown a golden touch when selecting athletes. After all, it was the athletes who established Nike shoes in professional sport and ensured that the brand was taken seriously as a sports brand right from the start. But that's not all, because Knight always deliberately chose athletes whose success and personality had such a huge impact that they made Nike shoes a real icon in the lifestyle sector. This balancing act between professionalism and lifestyle is only achieved by very few brands - Nike is the absolute pioneer. 

The company not only produces high-quality sneakers that have a lot to offer in terms of both technology and design. The company shows that passion, creativity and courage pay off if you are prepared to go beyond boundaries. Hell yeah!

No more Nike sneakers to miss!

To make sure you don't miss any more information from us in the future, we have a little tip for you: just get our free Dead Stock app and receive all news from us via push to your mobile device. For more information, follow us on our social media channels such as Instagram and Facebook. You can also take a look at our in-house Nike Shop to be inspired by the brand's variety of brands.

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