Nike Waffle Trainer

In 1965, Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman began working with Jeff Johnson, Nike’s first employee, to develop ultra-lightweight running shoes using nylon uppers and cushioned insoles. However, Bowerman didn’t revolutionize running footwear until the 1970s, when he created the sole of the fashionable Waffle Trainer by pouring rubber into his wife’s waffle iron. The result was a shoe that used less material and had a lighter sole, but still featured durable treads. The inventive design, bright colors, and high cost of Nike sneakers like the Waffle Trainer made them items of conspicuous consumption, and in 1977 Vogue proclaimed sneakers to be “the hottest status symbol around.”

Bill Bowerman's destroyed waffle iron, Image: Nike Archives

Bill Bowerman’s destroyed waffle iron, Image: Nike Archives