Everyone knows that Nike is a sportswear giant Nike’s value is more than twice the market cap of Adidas, Puma and Under Armour combined.
For a long time, the sportswear market was dominated by German brands. Adidas and Puma were the big names.
Phill Knight's (Co-founder of Nike) ambition was to import high-quality and low-cost running shoes from Japan, where labor was cheaper, into the American market. And that’s exactly what he did.
Knight managed to secure the distribution rights for the western United States and ordered his first samples.
When Knight finally received the first shoes after more than a year of waiting, he mailed two pairs to his former track coach Bill Bowerman at the University of Oregon, hoping to gain both a sale and an influential endorsement.
To Knight's surprise, Bowerman not only ordered the shoes but also offered to become a partner and provide product design ideas.
The two men agreed to a partnership by a handshake and Blue Ribbon Sports was born, the company that would later become Nike.
Inventions and designs like Air soles, the Air Force 1, Nike Free, and Flyknit followed and revolutionized the sneaker industry.
The latest example is the Nike Vaporfly running shoe, which made headlines because it is literally making you run faster.
It was initially developed to help Eliud Kipchoge break the 2-hour barrier for the marathon, which he did in 2019 in Vienna.
That event and the fact that Nike runners have dominated the major races in recent years led the world athletics association to release new rules to regulate running shoes.
Banning shoes because they increase performance - that's a similar story to the NBA banning Michael Jordan's Air Jordan 1.
Nike couldn't have wished for better marketing. Eliud Kipchoge and Michael Jordan are just two names from a long list of Nike athletes.
Now, what started as a footwear importing business quickly developed into the most valuable sports portfolio in the world.