The company was founded in 1964 under the name Blue Ribbon Sports, by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight, and officially became Nike, in 1971. The company derived its name from the Greek goddess of victory, and has since become synonymous with the highest levels of sports performance through its variety of high quality shoes, clothing and merchandise. Nike markets its products under its own brand, as well as Nike Golf, Nike Pro, Nike+, Air Jordan, Nike Blazers, Air Force 1, Nike Dunk, Air Max, Foamposite, Nike Skateboarding, and subsidiaries including Brand Jordan, Hurley International and Converse.
Based in Oregon, U.S.A., Nike sponsors many high-profile athletes and sports teams around the world, with the instantly recognizable trademarks of "Just Do It" and its Swoosh logo.
Nike’s first products were track running shoes. Its output now includes other types of sports shoes, jerseys, shorts, cleats, base layers, etc. for a wide range of sports, including track and field, baseball, ice hockey, tennis, football, lacrosse, basketball, and cricket.
Nike is well known and popular in youth and hip hop culture through their promotion of urban/‘street‘ fashion. Constantly on the lookout for innovation, Nike recently teamed up with Apple Inc. to produce the Nike+ application, which monitors a runner's performance via a radio device in the shoe that links to a portable media player or smartphone.
"Our function is to provide knowledge and insights. We are the global repository for the science of human performance and potential". — Matthew Nurse, Senior Director of the Nike Explore Team Sport Research Lab
The Nike Explore Team Sport Research Lab is philosophically and physically at the heart of Nike, dedicated to utilising state-of-the-art research equipment unrivaled in the sporting goods industry. The lab fuels product innovation through knowledge and insight gained from athletes and their athletic performance. Over the years, researchers have tested countless ideas in pursuit of aiding performance, reducing risk of injury, enhancing perception and feel, and delivering groundbreaking products to athletes. Bio-mechanics, physiology, biomedical & mechanical engineering, physics, math, and kinesiology all come into play when designing a product.
Not only driven by the desire to break technological boundaries in the construction of their products, Nike is also committed to lessening the impact of its production on the environment. Some of its initiatives include recycling plastic bottles and turning them into high-performance gear, using ColorDry technology which removes water from the dyeing process by using recycled CO2 to infuse fabric with intense, saturated colour. Another Nike initiative is its REUSE-A-SHOE Campaign; launched in conjunction with Earth Day in 2008, when it created Trash Talk Shoe, featuring a shoe constructed from pieces of leather and synthetic leather waste from factory floors. The Reuse-A-Shoe program is Nike's longest-running program. Since the 1990s, Nike has collected more than 28 million pairs of used athletic shoes, recycling them into new superior performance gear and incorporating them into thousands of sports surfaces such as basketball courts, running tracks and playgrounds, thus benefiting both the environment and communities.