In 1972, University of Oregon track-and-field coach Bill Bowerman began experimenting with ways to make a better running shoe. One night on a whim, he poured a urethane mixture into his wife’s waffle iron.
The result was a shoe sole with protruding square segments that offered greater impact absorption. Conveniently, Bowerman’s revelation came precisely when one of his former track stars was trying to launch a fledgling shoe company. His name was Phil Knight. With a simple handshake, the two men formed the most successful sneaker company in history.