Just taking a second out today to pay respects and congratulate one of the founding fathers of the athletic footwear industry, Nike’s co-founder, William Jay ‘Bill’ Bowerman on being inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. It only makes sense that he be recognized for his inventions, as without his insights (the Waffle Trainer for example) we most likely wouldn’t be developing athletic footwear in the manner we do today.
A little bit of background about Mr. Bowerman (via Wikipedia) –
William Jay “Bill” Bowerman (February 19, 1911 – December 24, 1999) was an American track and field coach and co-founder of Nike, Inc. Over his career, he trained 31 Olympic athletes, 51 All-Americans, 12 American record-holders, 24 NCAA champions and 16 sub-4 minute milers. During his 24 years as coach at the University of Oregon, the Ducks track and field team had a winning season every season but one, attained 4 NCAA titles, and finished in the top 10 in the nation 16 times. He is the recipient of the Oxford Cup, Beta Theta Pi’s greatest honor.
Bowerman’s design ideas led to the creation of a running shoe in 1966 that would ultimately be named “Nike Cortez” in 1968, which quickly became a top-seller and remains one of Nike’s most iconic footwear designs. Bowerman designed several Nike shoes, but is best known for ruining his wife’s waffle iron in 1970 or 1971, experimenting with the idea of using waffle-ironed rubber to create a new sole for footwear that would grip but be lightweight.
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