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Adidas Superstar (left) and Nike Cortez (right), as seen on West Fourth Street in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village.

Adidas Superstar (left) and Nike Cortez (right), as seen on West Fourth Street in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village.

Photographer: Peter Marquez for Bloomberg
Business
Economics

How Adidas Beat Nike at the Old School Game

Phil Knight’s landmark running shoe, the Cortez, just couldn’t keep pace.

In 1967, the company that would become the world famous shoe brand Nike needed an identity for its new, state-of-the-art running shoe.

Co-founders Phil Knight and Bill Bowerman settled on “Aztec,” according to Knight’s autobiography. But industry giant Adidas had a track spike called “Azteca Gold” and was allegedly threatening to sue.