Everything you need to know about: Nike

Everything you need to know about: Nike

Yeah, we all know Nike.

Everyone has got at least one swoosh item in their wardrobes, whether it's a pair of Air Max, a modern running top, a sick vintage Nike piece or one of those mad popular bootleg sweaters.

But do you know who started the company? Or how much the company is worth? Or how much they paid for the Swoosh logo?

Don't worry, because we're gonna give you all that tasty information below!

Nike Business Information

How do you pronounce 'Nike'?

We're starting with one that might divide opinion.

According to Phil Knight (you know, the man who founded Nike), it's pronounced:


It's hard to argue with the bossman himself ūüėÖ

I tend to pronounce it Nike (like 'bike') but do sometimes find myself saying Nikey. It's definitely an Americanism to call it Nikey - you don't hear it a lot in the UK.

Doesn't really matter how you pronounce it to be honest, as either way people will know what you mean.

Who owns Nike?

Nike is a publicly traded company, but the majority of the shares (over 97%) are held by Phil & Travis Knight.

This means that even though they're publicly traded, the Knight family still have pretty much full control of the brand.

What other famous shoe brands belong to Nike?

Over the years, Nike have acquired (and sold off) a fair few of their competitors to strengthen their market share.

Find the other brands that Nike owned below.

  • Converse (2003 - now)
  • Hurley (2002 - 2019)
  • Starter (2004 - 2007)
  • Umbro (2007 - 2012)
  • Cole Haan (1988 - 2013)
  • Bauer Hockey (1994 - 2008)

It started back in 1988 when they bought the American footwear brand Cole Haan, which they then sold in 2013.

Next on the list was Bauer Hockey in 1994, sold off in 2008.

Nike then bought Hurley off of Bob Hurley in 2002, which they sold in 2019.

They paid $309 million for Converse back in 2003, the only brand they still own at the time of writing.

Sportswear brand Starter was next to be acquired in 2004 and sold off just 3 years later in 2007.

Their last acquisition was Umbro in 2007, which they then sold in 2021.

They got rid of these brands in order to focus on their core offerings. So if you have any items from any of these brands produced from the years above, you own the Nike-owned version!

How much is Nike worth?

Nike 2020 net worth: $34.8 billion

Nike 2019 net worth: $32.4 billion

Nike 2018 net worth: $28 billion

Nike 2017 net worth: $31.8 billion

Nike 2016 net worth: $28 billion

The most valuable part of the business? Trainers.

In 2020, footwear accounted for $24 billion of their earnings. The hype is only increasing, with collaborations with the likes of Virgil Abloh, Skepta and Sean Wotherspoon bringing new customers in and keeping sneakerheads happy.

(Source: Statista)

When was Nike founded?

Nike was founded on 25 January 1964, but it was originally called Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS.)

Who founded Nike?

Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman founded Nike. Knight was a track athlete at the University of Oregon, and Bowerman was his coach.

The company started as a distributor of the Onitsuka Tiger (a classic pair of trainers you can still get your hands on today), selling them out of the back of Knight's car at track meets.

Where did Nike originate?

The company was founded in Eugene, Oregon in the US. Eugene is a city on the west coast of America, just under two hours in the car from Portland.

Where is Nike based now?

Nike is based in Beaverton, Oregon. Same state, different city. This includes all Nike, Jordan and Converse brands.

How many stores does Nike have?

According to Statista, as of May 21 2020, Nike had a total of 1,069 stores across the globe. This is down from 1,152 in 2019.

Who do Nike sponsor?

A lot of Nike's success is down to its sponsorship deals and brand promotions. It's reported that out they spend the most money on endorsing athletes than any other company.

On Forbes' 2020 list of the world's most highest paid athletes, Nike sponsored 51 of the top 100.

Some of the biggest sponsorships over the years include:

  • Michael Jordan
  • Cristiano Ronaldo
  • Tiger Woods
  • Lebron James
  • Rodger Federer
  • Serena Williams

Nike currently sponsors the following sports:

  • Football
  • American Football
  • Athletics
  • Australian rules football
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Boxing
  • Cricket
  • CrossFit
  • Figure skating
  • Esports
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Handball
  • MMA
  • Netball
  • Rugby union
  • Skateboarding
  • Snowboarding
  • Swimming
  • Tennis

How many employees does Nike have?

According to Statista, as of May 31 2020 Nike employed 75,400 people around the world.

Nike Brand Information

What is Nike Air?

Nike Air is the brand's revolutionary and widely-loved shoe technology. This innovative shoe design inserts pressurised air bubbles into the sole of a shoe for comfort and performance.

When you step down, the air is compressed. When you lift your foot up, the pressurised air bubble bounces back to its original shape.

This technology is in any pair of Nike trainers with 'Air' in the name, including Air Force, Air Max, Zoom Air etc.

Air units from Nike Tailwind, Air Max 1 and Air Max 95 (from left to right.)

Nike Tailwind Air unit  Nike Air Max 1 Air unit  Nike Air Max 95 Air unit

What is Nike Zoom Air?

Nike Zoom Air builds on the innovative Air technology, adding a structure of tensile fibres inside the air unit. These fibres compress on impact and snap back to shape, creating an explosive push for added performance.

What does Tn stand for?

Tn stands for Tuned. Tuned Air uses a blow moulded unit with hemispheres (or as Nike calls them, 'hemis') which are placed in the sole for added support.

This technology was designed to relieve pressure and offer a softer experience without changing overall stability. The most famous pair of Nike trainers with this technology is Air Max Plus, or Nike Tn Air.

The red semi circles in the illustration below show the 'hemis'

Nike Air TN technology

Image from nike

What is Nike SB?

Nike SB is the brand's skateboarding line. The first iteration of Nike SB products were a line of skating trainers made back in 1997, although it was not marketed as Nike SB yet. The trainers used Zoom Air insoles for comfort .

The first official Nike SB pair was the SB Dunk Low, then the Angus, FC, Delta Force and URL. Ever since, the Nike SB brand has been super popular, with pairs like the Janoski being worn the world over by non-skaters.

What is NikeID?

NikeID (now called Nike By You) is a service that allows you to personalise your own Nike products, including trainers and sportswear. You can choose from materials, colours and custom embroidery to make unique Nike items.

What is Nike ACG?

ACG stands for All Conditions Gear. It's Nike's line of outdoor wear that's meant to be put to the test. The ACG line consists of trainers, clothing and accessories to give you everything you need for a tough outdoor adventure.

Typically the designs are pretty unconventional, with crazy colours, eye-catching styles and functional materials.

What does the Nike logo mean?

It's one of the most recognised logos in the world. Nike's Swoosh was originally designed back in 1971 with not much changing since.

The original designer, Carolyn Davidson, created the iconic Swoosh logo with the idea of showing motion in the design. She was paid $35 for her efforts (equating to just under $230 in 2021.) But once the company went public, Phil Knight gifted Davidson 500 shares of Nike stock.

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