How Nike Became The World's Most Valuable Apparel Brand

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Nike has built itself up through high-profile endorsements, sleek designs, and PR campaigns successful enough to etch its way into pop-culture history. See some of the highlights in our timeline of Nike’s race to the top.

1964: Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman found Blue Ribbon Sports.

1971: Blue Ribbon Sports cuts ties with Onitsuka Tiger and becomes Nike Inc.

1971: Bowerman comes up with an iconic sole pattern for Waffle Trainers after putting rubber into a waffle iron.

1971: Nike’s swoosh logo is created by Portland State University student Carolyn Davis for $35.

1979: Nike introduces patented "Air" technology with the new Tailwind shoe.

1980: Nike goes public at a price of 18 cents a share.

1984: Nike signs Michael Jordan, launching the Air Jordan series.

1988: First "Just Do It" campaign launches with an ad featuring Walter Stack running across the Golden Gate Bridge.

1991: Activist Jeff Ballinger publishes a report exposing low wages and poor working conditions among Indonesian Nike factories.

2004: Nike acquires Converse for $309 million.

Nike becomes the official supplier for NFL apparel (2012) and NBA apparel (2015).

2018: Nike unveils an ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, garnering a mix of public approval and backlash.

2020: Nike is valued at approximately $34.8 billion, coining it as the world’s most valuable apparel brand.

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