Nike's all-star sneakers

The world's largest athletic shoemaker has ruled the sneaker business for decades. Here's a look at its biggest blockbusters - and its bets on the future.

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1974: Waffle Trainer
When Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman poured a urethane mixture into his wife's waffle iron, it turned into a flexible, shock-absorbent material that he cut into a shoe sole. Bowerman and partner Phil Knight used the invention to craft the outsole of the Waffle Trainer; the shoe quickly became the top-selling running shoe and helped launch a nationwide jogging fad. After the Waffle Trainer, cushioning on athletic shoes was de rigeur, and other shoemakers unrolled similarly shock-absorbent soles.
NEXT: 1979: Tailwind
Last updated March 17 2009: 10:25 AM ET
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