The story behind Nike: A review of Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Shoe Dog is a book most likely written for fans of Nike, aspiring business owners and runners; but the story it tells gives much more than that. The name Shoe Dog comes from Phil Knight’s way of describing people who “devoted themselves to the making, selling, buying or designing of shoes”, and he even went so far as to label it an “all-consuming mania, a recognisable psychological disorder”.

Photo of the front of Shoe Dog, a book about Nike

While everyone recognises the unmistakable swoosh logo, Shoe Dog chronicles the struggles that Knight and his band of brothers had to overcome to become one of the biggest sportswear companies globally. From difficult Japanese dealings and bank credit limits, to Germany’s Adidas and even the US Customs regulations, it was no easy ride for Nike.

The seemingly endless hurdles that Nike had to clear and the pessimistic nature of Phil Knight makes for an exciting read, and though the readers know the ending to Nike’s story, it still comes as a shock that it all worked out. Shoe Dog highlights much about business, entrepreneurship, courage and camaraderie, and shows an important lesson in never giving up.

Legs of someone standing on a wall wearing Nikes with a skateboard

Phil Knight had his “crazy idea” and believed he could create the best shoes and become the go-to running shoe company. He worked doggedly and with such tenacity until it happened. At PAX VICE, we know it won’t always be smooth sailing, but we go into everything with this knowledge and the determination to make our own crazy idea work through whatever.

Shoe Dog is less of a guidebook on creating and running a business and more a manual on how to overcome obstacles that come along with it - and, of course, a homage to running.