Although best known for athletic shoes, Oregon-based Nike, Inc. is also a major supplier of exercise equipment and luxury apparel that rose from humble beginnings to become one of world's best-known companies.


In 1964, University of Oregon track star Philip Knight and coach Bill Bowerman created Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS) to distribute Onitsuka Tiger shoes. In 1971, with their contract with with Onitsuka Tiger running out, Blue Ribbon Sports introduced their own brand of shoes named for Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. Nike became the name of the company in 1978.


Today, Nike manufactures shoes for running, basketball, soccer and American football. They also sell exercise clothing, backpacks and gym bags.


Other brands owned by Nike include Cole Haan, Converse, Nike Golf and Umbro Ltd. Through these brands they distribute luxury clothes and shoes, high-end sports apparel for surfing and skateboarding, golf equipment and accessories, and high-end soccer gear.