Nike 50th Anniversary

Never Done Breaking the Mold

Innovation through unconventional thinking.


From a kitchen experiment, for an innovation revolution.

Unexpected sources of inspiration often catalyze product innovations at Nike. For example, the Waffle Racer. While watching his wife make waffles one Saturday morning, Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman was struck with the idea that the waffle iron pattern might be what he was looking for in his quest to make a better gripping running shoe sans spikes. Within minutes, Bill was pouring a can of liquid urethane into the waffle iron, creating the basis of Nike’s first running shoe.

Over the years, the mentality of looking at things unconventionally and turning them upside down has been responsible for many product innovations. But Nike has never experimented for the sake of experimentation. Every new angle, every idea, every innovation is driven by athlete insight.



This Is Not a Wafflemaker: A social film.

Bill didn’t just like the way the waffle pattern looked. It served a specific purpose, the right amount of grip for the artificial track surface.

Outside the box thinking has been key to most of the successful innovations that Nike has unveiled during the last 50 years. This includes the Nike Free sliced sole, Nike Go’s pivoting heel and the soft yet resilient Phylon material used for running shoe midsoles.

To prove that inspiration can come from anywhere, homage is paid to the sources behind those innovations. Via multi-layered compositions and mixed media (collage, illustration and CGI), Nike’s film reveals some objects are more than meets the eye.