Nike produces kits for some of the world’s biggest football clubs. Liverpool, Barcelona, Inter Milan, and Paris Saint-Germain are just some of the major names that Nike produces kits for.
The America footwear giants initial foray into football wasn’t too successful, however. It took years for the company to get a real foothold in the sport. The 1990s were the when Nike really began to make an impact on football, however, the company started making products for players back in the 1970s.
In the 1970s, the North American Soccer League was going strong, which most likely influenced the company to begin making products. With more kids finding the sport, Nike had a new audience to buy sportswear. In 1971, Nike launched its first-ever boot.
It took another 12 years before Nike produced its first-ever kit for a European football club. Which team had the honour of wearing the first Nike-made kit? It was none other than Sunderland. The reason for Sunderland being the first team to wear Nike produced kits was simply due to Nike UK being located in Sunderland.
The kit had Sunderland’s classic white and red vertical stripes. The kits were worn from 1983 to 1986. One of the most interesting aspects about the shirts was that Nike placed its own logo over the left part of the chest and the club’s badge on the right side of the chest.
After parting ways with Sunderland in 1986, Nike agreed on a deal with Paris Saint-Germain. Although Sunderland were the first European club to wear kits made by the American sportswear company, they weren’t the first club in the world to dress in Nike-made jerseys.
In the 1970s, the original Portland Timbers were the first club to wear Nike kits. The sportswear company’s home base is in Beaverton, Oregon, a 17-minute drive from Portland. Nike’s partnership with the Timbers made a lot of sense when it was agreed.