From the Air Max 90 to Retro Jordans: How Nike Became King

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With the rise of fashion trends like athleisure and the special editions, limited releases and new colorways that keep sneakerheads in a frenzy, athletic shoes are in like never before. And why not? After all, they're functional and comfortable, and they go with pretty much any casual outfit. When it comes to brands, however, it seems that Nike long ago unlocked the key to producing sneakers that never go out of style. Athletic footwear wouldn’t be what it is today without this company, and consumers can’t seem to get enough.

Case in point? Recently, a pair of Nike Air Jordan 1 High shoes once worn by Michael Jordan went for $615,000, officially making them the most expensive pair of sneakers ever sold at an auction. Most Nike shoe styles, including the newer Nike Air Max 90, routinely retail for over $100 per pair in stores and online. So what is it about Nike that seems to keep this company and its gear so firmly positioned at the top of the footwear food chain? It turns out a blend of different decisions helped Nike secure its place on the sportswear throne.