I Read “Shoe Dog” a Memoir by the Creator of NIKE, Phil Knight – 10 Things that I didn’t know about NIKE


Do you have a favorite sneaker brand?

NIKE, Adidas, Puma, Reebok, Converse, Vans, New Balance.

Everyone has their own favorite sneaker brand.

At some point in time, there probably was an inflection point, and from then on, the connection between you and that brand probably got stronger.

I have a tendency to purchase NIKEs.
My relationship with Nike goes back to when I was in elementary school, back to when I saw the Air Maxes and the Air Jordans at Foot Locker.
I was living in the US back then and I don’t remember European brands like Adidas and Puma being popular at school.
Kids around me were all wearing Nike, Reebok, Vans and Converse.

This was around 1990.


Nike, the company

Some habits from childhood stick with you forever.
Whenever I go out to by a new pair of sneakers or some type of athletic wear, I head for the Nike shop without thinking about it.
But this doesn’t mean that I had interest in the company nor that I felt a special connection to it.


Nike’s stock price


I didn’t have much interest in the company itself but I did know that Nike’s stock price had gone up significantly from 2010 to 2015.

Come to think of it, I did notice some significant changes in the way Nike was releasing new products like:

  • small lot releases of many different models
  • sock like sneakers using Fly Knit technology
  • Interesting shoes like Sneaker Boots, which combines sneaker-like features with that of boots

It was my assumption that some, if not all of the things noted above contributed to the rise of the stock.

Just as I was thinking about things like this, a memoir by Phil Knight, the creator of Nike was released this year so I jumped on it!


“Shoe Dog” a memoir by Phil Knight

フィルナイト シュードッグ

It was an awesome read.

“Shoe Dog” is someone who has been in the shoe industry for a long time, some one considered to be a shoe guru.

Phil Knight writes about how Nike started and how it grew with inside stories that only he would know about.

Money problems, betrayal of suppliers, betrayal of coworkers, FBI investigations, search for factories and also going public.
It is more like reading an business thriller than a business book.

There were many things that I didn’t know about Nike.

Just to introduce some of them to you:

  • Nike started off as “Blue Ribbon Sports”
  • Nike (Blue Ribbon Sports) was first in the business of importing and selling Japanese Sneakers (Onitsuka Tiger)
  • Nike started making its own sneakers when they couldn’t import from Onitsuka Tiger (according to the book)
  • Nike’s first shoes were made by a Japanese company, Asahi Shoes (Bridgestone)
  • Nissho Iwai helped Nike in finding suppliers in Japan and also with funding
  • NIKE comes from the name of the Greek Goddess of Victory
  • Before Phil started Nike (Blue Ribbon Sports) he was very moved when he saw the statue of NIKE when he visited Greece during his trip around the world
  • Phil did not come up with the name NIKE. He was actually against it at first
  • The NIKE “Swoosh” logo was designed by a college student for $35 (in current value, $205)

The one that I liked the most was:

  • The telephone number of all NIKE offices around the world end with 6453, which spells N-I-K-E on a key pad

I looked up the number for Nike Harajuku and it was 03-6365-6453.



I highly recommend Shoe Dog by Phil Knight.
They don’t have it out in Japanese yet.

It’s a story that everyone can enjoy, even if you’re not a sneaker head.
The way I view NIKE has changed after reading “Shoe Dog”.

I’ve been buying shoes like Yeezy’s recently but I’m thinking about getting a pair of NIKEs next time.

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