Nike Running Shoes
Nike was founded in 1962 by Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight as Blue Ribbon Sports. Ten years later it took the name Nike after the Greek goddess of victory, and the name is now one of the most recognisable brands on the planet.
Nike is not just famous for its name, but also for its logo. The ‘Swoosh’ design is almost on a par with the Coca-Cola sign and the McDonald’s ‘M’ as the most easily recognised trademarks on the planet, appearing alongside some of the greatest sports stars the world has ever known. The logo was designed in 1971 in response to a competition, and for her work in creating one of the most defining symbols ever produced, the designer, Carolyn Davidson, received just $35.
Nike has never been too far away from controversy, as happens with most major multi-nationals at some point. Nike’s worst moment came in the 1980s when huge boycotts of their shoes were organised after it was revealed that they were being made by desperately poor people in wretched conditions in China, Vietnam and Indonesia, which understandably upset a lot of people.
Despite such concerns, Nike has built up its reputation as the biggest sports brand on earth, partly through sponsoring major names in different sports. It was arguably in 1985 that the company pulled off its biggest marketing coup of all time by getting Michael Jordan to wear its shoes, leading to the hugely popular ‘Air Jordan’ model. Since then Nike has teamed up with some of the greatest sportsmen, sportswomen and teams on the planet, and its position at the top of the sports manufacturing ladder is unrivalled.
Classic Nike Models
The first major shoe that Nike ever produced was for playing football, but in 1972 the company made a name for itself in the United States with the release of the Moon Shoe with a Waffle outsole trainer. It became hugely popular, and was followed up in 1974 by the Waffle, a development on the last model, which quickly became the best selling shoe in America.
The first dedicated running shoe came in 1975 with The Elite, which had spikes for extra grip and increased speed, and which also proved to be incredibly popular. However, it wasn’t until the Tailwind was launched in 1970 that one of Nike’s most successful features was seen in a running shoe, as it was the first to come with Air Sole cushioning, the basis of nearly all of Nike’s future models.
In 1982, the Nike Air brand was launched to much acclaim with the Air Force 1 and Air Ace models. By this time Nike had 200 shoes in production, a huge volume which was testament to the success of the company.
1983 saw the arrival of The Destiny, which was a notable achievement for the company as it represented the first high performance running shoe for kids.
Other shoes from the 1980s include the legendary Air Max, which revealed the air cushioning on the outside for the first time, the Cross Trainer and the Air Stab, which was the first model to combine the footbridge device and the air sole cushioning.
The 1990s saw Nike continue to expand upon its huge range of shoes, with such classic models as the Air Huarache and the Air Mowabb in 1991, the Run Walk in 1993 and the addition of Zoom Air Technology in 1995, which represented a new generation of shoes due to its low profile design and stylish appearance.
Modern Nike Running Shoes
Nike has literally hundreds of models available right now. Here is a selection of the latest and the best.
The Air Alaris is a recent release from Nike, and is billed as a long distance running trainer. To support this, it is incredibly well cushioned to deal with the repeated impacts experienced on a long run, and contains BRS in the heel to increase durability. The breathable open mesh and synthetic overlays also add to the support and help the shoe to fit tightly to the foot. Coming in dark blue, the Air Alaris has an RRP of £60.
Air Zoom Explosion Road 2
The incredibly lightweight Air Zoom Explosion Road 2 comes in models for both men and women. Features include an internal arch strap which provides much greater support for the foot, and also Waffle pattern rubber at the front of the shoe to maximise traction. They also come complete with Nike Zoom Air cushioning for a more comfortable run, and are available in stylish light blue and light green models for women, and a dark blue model for men. The Air Zoom Explosion Road 2 has an RRP of £45.
Nike Air Pegasus+ GTX
The Nike Air Pegasus is available both in men’s and women’s models. The original has been available for about 25 years, but it is constantly updated to improve upon the original design. The new model incorporates a Gore Tex XCR upper which makes it suitable for all-weather running, and it also has 360 degree supportive overlays to provide a smoother running experience. The Pegasus+ also has a completely new full-length air unit for added comfort, and has traction BRS 1000 inserted in the heel for extra durability. The men’s model comes in black, and the women’s model in blue. They both have an RRP of £85.
Nike Air Rejuven8 (5 Rings)
This distinctive trainer is designed specifically to help the foot to repair and rejuvenate after a long run. It comes with two interchangeable sock liners, and uses injection TPU to create a better fit. Cushioning is provided by the injection Phylon mid-sole, and the trainer comes with excellent grip for running in all terrains. The five rings stand for the Olympic rings, and the shoe comes in red, green, yellow, blue and black to symbolise the Olympian colours. The RRP is £85.
Nike Dart 6
The Nike Dart 6 is geared towards speed, comfort and affordability. Coming with a breathable mesh, it is designed for long-distance running whilst allowing the foot to breathe, and it also has mid-foot and forefoot overlays for added support. The mid-sole is made from lightweight Phylon, and there is an impact groove in the heel for a more comfortable run. The outsole has the trademark Waffle pattern, which provides outstanding grip for running in any condition. Coming in dark blue, the trainer is more affordable than other models with an RRP of £35.
Nike Free 5.0 V3
The Nike Free 5.0 V3 is designed to reduce the injuries suffered by runners through protecting and supporting both the foot and the leg. This is achieved through a variable lacing system which allows for a completely customised fit. The Phylite mid-sole aims to increase flexibility by mimicking the motion of the foot, which increases the strength of the foot over time. The men’s model comes in black and light blue, and the women’s in grey and light green. Both have an RRP of £60.