Behind the Swoosh: The Fascinating History of Nike


Nike is one of the biggest and most well-known sports brands in existence. But how much do you really know about Nike's history? Behind the flashy marketing campaigns and high-profile endorsements, there's a rich and fascinating story about the rise of one of the biggest names in sports apparel. In this blog post, we'll take a deep dive into the history of Nike and explore some of the most interesting facts and stories behind the brand.

The Early Years

Nike was founded in 1964 by Phil Knight, a middle-distance runner, and his coach, Bill Bowerman under the name Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS). The first shoes were sold out of the boot of Phil Knight's car during track meets, and in 1971, the company changed its name to Nike, inspired by the Greek goddess of victory, and debuted the iconic "swoosh" logo. The symbol represents motion, speed, and victory, all characteristics associated with athletic prowess. The following year, Nike introduced its first line of shoes, featuring the iconic Waffle Trainer design. With its signature rubber sole and distinctive tread pattern, the Waffle Trainer was an instant success.

As the brand grew in popularity, so did the demand for their merchandise. Nike recognised the opportunity to expand beyond footwear, and in 1979 they introduced a range of sports clothing to their product line. In the 1980s, Nike became a cultural icon, with the legendary “Just Do It” campaign cementing the brand’s place in popular culture.

The Rise of Air

In the early 1980s, Nike began to innovate with new materials and technologies. One of its most groundbreaking inventions was the Air cushioning system, which debuted in the Air Max trainer line in 1987. The Air Max featured a visible air unit in the sole, allowing for enhanced cushioning and shock absorption. The technology was a hit with runners and trainer enthusiasts alike, and the Air Max became one of Nike's most successful and enduring product lines.

Michael Jordan and Beyond

In 1984, Nike signed a novice basketball player from North Carolina named Michael Jordan to a sponsorship deal. Jordan went on to become one of the most famous athletes in the world, and his collaboration with Nike helped to propel the company to new heights. The Air Jordan line of basketball trainers debuted in 1985 and quickly became a cultural phenomenon, with each new release causing a frenzy among fans.

Nike has continued to associate and sponsor high-profile athletes and teams over the years which has been a key factor in its global success. From partnering with athletes like Serena Williams and Cristiano Ronaldo to sponsoring major sports events, the brand's logo has graced countless victories and inspiring moments over the years.

From Athletes to Street Style 

Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Nike further expanded its influence beyond sports and athletes. Collaborations with renowned artists and designers helped Nike carve its way into the streetwear and lifestyle markets. The fusion of performance and style attracted a broader audience, making Nike a symbol of urban culture and self-expression.

The Rise of Athleisure

As the demand for comfortable and versatile clothing surged, Nike's athleisure offerings gained immense popularity. Athleisure, a trend that combines athletic apparel with everyday fashion, has become a staple in modern wardrobes worldwide. Nike's stylish and functional athleisure collections have been instrumental in shaping this trend.


Today, Nike is one of the largest athletic apparel companies in the world, with a presence in over 190 countries and annual revenue of over $51 billion. The company’s success can be attributed to its relentless focus on innovation and design, as well as its ability to tap into cultural trends and connect with consumers on a personal level.

Vintage Nike Clothing

Vintage Nike clothing has become hugely popular in recent years, with both athletes and fashion enthusiasts seeking out retro styles from the iconic sportswear brand. One reason for the surge in popularity is a growing appreciation for nostalgic fashion. Nostalgia for the '80s and '90s is driving more and more people to seek out classic Nike pieces to add to their wardrobe. Also, the quality and durability of Nike clothing from past decades is highly regarded, making it a sustainable and eco-friendly choice for consumers looking to reduce waste and support ethical fashion practices.

At Vintage Folk, we have curated a premium selection of vintage Nike clothing that embodies the classic and sporty aesthetic that Nike is famous for. Our vintage Nike collection contains iconic pieces from the 80s, 90s, and beyond, including jackets, sweatshirts, tees, and more. So, why wait? Discover our unique range today!