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Nike Shoes: Making a (Trade)Mark in History

There was a time when “Nike” referred only to a winged Greek goddess who flew a chariot above ancient battlefields, bestowing glory on the victors. Millennia later, the name was applied to a sleek, speedy U.S. defensive ground-to-air missile deployed in the 1950s and ’60s. In 1964, Bill Bowerman, an Oregon track coach, and his former student Phil Knight started an athletic footwear business called Blue Ribbon Sports. Famously, Bowerman used a common waffle iron to create the rubber sole for the company’s first running shoe. They introduced the first Nike-branded sneaker in 1972 and to say the name caught on would be an understatement of vast proportions. Today, Nike shoes stand firmly atop a new Olympus of athletic and casual footwear, apparel, and accessories. In fact, it seems impossible to imagine a world without that omnipresent Swoosh.

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