The Nike Company name has its origins in Greek mythology and is named for Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. The goddess Nike is also known for her traits of swift running and flying. Nike company founders first used the name for the company's first manufactured running shoe.
Nike founders Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight originally operated under the name Blue Ribbon Sports. Jeff Johnson became the company's first full-time salesman and told Bowerman and Knight about a dream he had about the goddess Nike, who is usually depicted with a winner's wreath. The founders liked the idea of using Nike as a brand name and used it for the company's first athletic shoe. In addition to the Nike name, the footwear company also debuted the now famous "swoosh" mark that appears on all of its athletic items.
Nike footwear grew in popularity as the company continued improving and expanding. Bowerman developed an innovative waffle sole for its running shoes, and the company also developed apparel with the swoosh logo. Blue Ribbon Sports was initially set up as an importer of athletic shoes. After the Nike shoe brand became a success, Bowerman and Knight decided to rebrand the company as Nike, Inc. This name change was based on the founders' desire to be victorious over competitors.