50 Years of Celebrities and Athletes Wearing Nike Sneakers and Apparel – Footwear News
How do you define a brand that is bigger than them all?
Describing Nike’s influence and impact on pop culture and fashion is no easy task. The athletic giant’s image is so ubiquitous that it can be hard to pin down, its ubiquity (with plenty of ups and a few downs) giving the brand an unyielding air of mystery. The athletics giant’s products can be seen everywhere, worn by everyone in all kinds of environments and places around the world. Its signature swoosh is its own universal language, a symbol at this point interpreted and understood by just about anyone and everyone on the planet.
Nike’s image is, of course, better enhanced on the pitch and on the court – and that’s how the athletic brand wants it. Its famous slogan “Just Do It” is matched by thousands (millions?) of images of athletes wearing the brand, from world-renowned pros and Olympians to little leaguers and weekend football rascals. Want to know what Nike’s aesthetic is? Head to your nearest game or watch someone jog down the street; they’re probably in something of the brand. On the other hand, it’s just as easy to spot a piece of Nike in everyday, non-athletic life.
Even in the brand’s early years, Nike was mostly seen where its products were best suited: in competition, particularly in the worlds of running and tennis. On the pitch in the early 1980s, young John McEnroe’s early-era pair of Nikes were both universally appealing, beckoning those looking off the pitch to a lifestyle, not just a ‘a sport. At the Boston Marathon, elite runners crossed the finish line in Nike Tailwinds.
Slowly but surely, however, the brand made its way out of the realm of competition and into everyday wear. The first wave of athleisure has arrived, with tracksuits and high-tops promising a laid-back lifestyle, where activity fits in with the rest of life. Celebrities too have started stepping out in these uniforms, even on red carpets.
It was in the 80s and 90s that Nike shoes began to appear on TV and in movies (a practice that continues to this day in the form of aggressive product placement). It worked like a charm, cementing the brand’s image in the minds of the younger generation of those decades, Gen X’ers and Millennials whose penchant for nostalgia remains to this day. What kid could forget Nike’s self-lacing high-top sneakers in “Back to the Future II”? (Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly also wore a pair of red Bruins Nikes in the first episode). From “ET” to “The Breakfast Club,” kids wearing Nike sneakers have created an enduring image for younger generations who have now grown up.
Nike’s legacy was also solidified forever by the rise of its Jordan brand with Michael Jordan, the most important athlete of the 90s and arguably of all time. Through instantly famous campaigns and advertisements, key sporting events such as the 1992 Summer Olympics, and the instant cache of Jordan sneakers themselves, Nike received a massive boost to its brand image. auxiliary.
Nike’s tradition of ubiquity in and outside the sports world continues today, as the giant celebrates its 50th anniversary. New and established sports stars continue to keep the brand profile high, from Naomi Osaka to Serena Williams, the latter having a new million square foot building dedicated to her at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. His partnerships with music stars (Billie Eilish, J Balvin, Drake) as well as notable fashion collaborations (Sacai, Comme des Garçons, the smash success of his partnership with the late Virgil Abloh and his brand Off-White) maintain its allure lives well in youth culture, helping to secure its legacy with a new generation.