Waffle Trainer

In the late 1970s, Nike introduced an early version of the iconic Waffle Trainer. This shoe stood out because of its unique rubber outsole, often referred to as the “waffle”, resembling the texture of a waffle iron. What’s interesting is that Bill Bowerman, one of Nike’s co-founders, drew inspiration from his wife’s kitchen gadget to come up with this design. The sole had raised polygonal nodes, which greatly improved stability and traction on various surfaces, eliminating the need for traditional metal spikes. This innovation revolutionized the world of footwear. The shoe’s upper part, made of lightweight and durable nylon, added to its overall quality. Notably, the National Museum of American History has included the Waffle Trainer in its collection.

After extensive experimentation, Nike developed a pliable and lightweight rubber material with a grid pattern that aligned with Bowerman’s vision. This breakthrough led to the creation of the famous Waffle sole, which continues to serve as the foundation for many popular Nike shoe designs, even more than four decades later.

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