The Nike Moon, the first with Bowerman’s waffle tread.
The Nike Moon, the first with Bowerman’s waffle tread. (Tim Tomkinson)

Bowerman, Bill

The Nike Moon, the first with Bowerman’s waffle tread.
The Editors

A legendary Oregon track coach who cofounded the shoe company Blue Ribbon Sports in 1964; 14 years later, it became Nike. Sick of importing expensive European running shoes in the fifties, Bowerman designed and built his own pair for his athlete Phil Knight. “They were a white, rubber-coated fabric, the kind you’d use for a tablecloth you could sponge off,” Bowerman recalled in Kenny Moore’s biography, Bowerman and the Men of Oregon. Famously, in 1971 Bowerman invented the modern running-shoe tread by molding a rubber sole using his wife’s waffle iron. (See Waffle.) The first Blue Ribbon shoe to become popular was the Cortez, a black and white runner that today seems surprisingly fashionable. Bowerman died in 1999 at 88.

From Outside Magazine, August 2015 Lead Photo: Tim Tomkinson
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