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A Waffling Iron Starts Sports Shoe Sales of $9billion a Year!

Name: Bill Bowerman.
Nationality: American.
Age: Died Christmas Eve 1999, aged 88 yrs.

'Foolish' Idea: Using a waffle iron to shape the sole of a shoe. Result - the trainer.

Start-up Capital: Not known.

How Idea was Launched: In 1964 Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight, formed the company, Nike. From the back of a van, they sold Bill's prototypes at track meets across America's West Coast.

Sales: Sport shops.

Earnings: Sales of around $9 billion a year.

Making waffles in his kitchen, gave Bill Bowerman his idea of using a waffle iron to shape the sole of a shoe and the trainer was born. Bill was a keen athlete, who coached high school sports. When he took a job coaching at university, he met Phil Knight, who is today's Nike Chairman.

They were both dissatisfied with running shoes, which were clumsy. So, they formed a company and began selling Bill's prototypes at track meets across America's West Coast. However, it wasn't until the early 80's that trainers became popular footwear, not merely training shoes worn for sports.

When Bob Marley stepped out on the stage, wearing tracksuits and football gear and Jane Fonda donned leotards, the fitness boom began its reign. Trainers took off in a big way. After the waffle soles, Nike was the first company to use NASA's air sole cushioning system, and also the first to use silver fabrics.

Nike also acknowledged the huge market place of designer trainers for women. The death of Bill Bowerman will do nothing to stop his creation's triumph - with sales of $9billion a year.



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