In 1964, in its first year in business, BRS sold 1,300 pairs of Japanese running shoes grossing $8,000.

Nike, originally known as Blue Ribbon Sports (BRS), was founded by University of Oregon track athlete Phil Knight and his coach, Bill Bowerman, on January 25, 1964. The company initially operated in Eugene as a distributor for Japanese shoe maker Onitsuka Tiger, making most sales at track meets out of Phil Knight's automobile.

By 1965 the fledgling company had acquired a full-time employee, and sales had reached $20,000.

In 1966, BRS opened its first retail store, located at 3107 Pico Boulevard in Santa Monica, California next to a beauty salon, so its employees no longer needed to sell inventory from the back of their cars.

In 1967, due to rapidly increasing sales, BRS expanded retail and distribution operations on the East Coast, in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

By 1971, the relationship between BRS and Onitsuka Tiger was nearing an end. BRS prepared to launch its own line of footwear, which would bear the Swoosh newly designed by Carolyn Davidson.

The Swoosh was first used by Nike on June 18, 1971.

The Swoosh was registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on January 22, 1974.

In 1976, the company hired John Brown and Partners, based in Seattle, as its first advertising agency.

In 1977, John Brown and Partners agency created the first "brand ad" for Nike, called "There is no finish line", in which no Nike product was shown.

Throughout the 1980s, Nike expanded its product line to encompass many sports and regions throughout the world.

By 1980, Nike had attained a 50% market share in the U.S. athletic shoe market, and the company went public in December of that year.

Nike Air Max is a line of shoes first released by Nike, Inc. in 1987.

Nike was criticized for its use of the Beatles song "Revolution" in a 1987 commercial against the wishes of Apple Records, the Beatles' recording company. Nike paid US$250,000 to Capitol Records Inc., which held the North American licensing rights to the recordings, for the right to use the Beatles' rendition for a year.

Nike has acquired several apparel and footwear companies over the course of its history, some of which have since been sold. Its first acquisition was the upscale footwear company Cole Haan in 1988.

Walt Stack was featured in Nike's first "Just Do It" advertisement, which debuted on July 1, 1988.

In 1990, Nike moved into its eight-building World Headquarters campus in Beaverton, Oregon.

The first Nike retail store, dubbed Niketown, opened in downtown Portland in November 1990.

Additional product lines were introduced by Nike, such as Air Huarache, which debuted in 1992.

Nike purchased Bauer Hockey in 1994.

In 2002, Nike bought surf apparel company Hurley International from founder Bob Hurley.

In 2003, Nike paid US$309 million to acquire Converse, makers of the Chuck Taylor All-Stars line of sneakers.

The company acquired Starter in 2004.

In 2004, Nike launched the SPARQ Training Program/Division.

Nike has been the official kit sponsor for the Indian cricket team since 2005.

Nike's World Headquarters are surrounded by the city of Beaverton but are within unincorporated Washington County. The city attempted to forcibly annex Nike's headquarters, which led to a lawsuit by Nike, and lobbying by the company that ultimately ended in Oregon Senate Bill 887 of 2005.

The Total Assets of Nike corporation in 2005 was 8,794 mil. US$.

The Air Zoom Vomero running shoe, introduced in 2006 and currently in its 11th generation, featured a combination of groundbreaking innovations including a full-length air cushioned sole, an external heel counter, a crashpad in the heel for shock absorption, and Fit Frame technology for a stable fit.

The Total Assets of Nike corporation in 2006 was 9,870 mil. US$.

In order to refocus on its core business lines, Nike began divesting of some of its subsidiaries in the 2000s. It sold Starter in 2007.

The Total Assets of Nike corporation in 2007 was 10,688 mil. US$.

The company acquired Umbro, known as the manufacturers of the England national football team's kit, in 2008.

The Cannes Advertising Festival has named Nike its Advertiser of the Year in 1994 and 2003, making it the first company to receive that honor twice.

Nike sold Bauer Hockey in 2008.

In 2008, Nike introduced the Air Jordan XX3, a high-performance basketball shoe designed with the environment in mind.

One campaign that Nike began for Earth Day 2008 was a commercial that featured basketball star Steve Nash wearing Nike's Trash Talk Shoe, which had been constructed in February 2008 from pieces of leather and synthetic leather waste from factory floors. The Trash Talk Shoe also featured a sole composed of ground-up rubber from a shoe recycling program. Nike claims this is the first performance basketball shoe that has been created from manufacturing waste, but it only produced 5,000 pairs for sale.

The Total Assets of Nike corporation in 2008 was 12,443 mil. US$.

The Total Assets of Nike corporation in 2009 was 13,250 mil. US$.

The Total Assets of Nike corporation in 2010 was 14,419 mil. US$.

As of July 2011, Nike stated that two-thirds of its factories producing Converse products still do not meet the company's standards for worker treatment.

The Total Assets of Nike corporation in 2011 was 14,998 mil. US$.

Nike sold Umbro in 2012.

In 2012, Nike is listed as a partner of the (PRODUCT)RED campaign together with other brands such as Girl, American Express, and Converse. The campaign's mission is to prevent the transmission of the HIV virus from mother to child by 2015 (the campaign's byline is "Fighting For An AIDS Free Generation").

In 2012, Nike carried a commercial partnership with the Asian Football Confederation.

Nike bought back $8 billion of Nike's class B stock in four years after the current $5 billion buyback program was completed in the second quarter of fiscal year 2013. Up to September 2012, Nike Inc. has bought back $10 billion of stock.

The Total Assets of Nike corporation in 2012 was 15,465 mil. US$.

Nike sold Cole Haan in 2013.

Nike was made a member of the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 2013, when it replaced Alcoa.

In January 2013, Nike signed Rory McIlroy, the then No 1 golfer in the world to a 10-year sponsorship deal worth $250 million. The deal includes using Nike's range of golf clubs, a move Nick Faldo previously described as "dangerous" for McIlroy's game.

On February 21, 2013, Nike announced it suspended its contract with South African limbless athlete Oscar Pistorius, due to his being charged with premeditated murder.

On December 19, 2013, Nike's quarterly profit rose due to a 13 percent increase in global orders for merchandise since April of that year. Future orders of shoes or clothes for delivery between December and April, rose to $10.4 billion. Nike shares (NKE) rose 0.6 percent to $78.75 in extended trading.

The Total Assets of Nike corporation in 2013 was 17,545 mil. US$.

In April 2014, one of the biggest strikes in mainland China took place at the Yue Yuen Industrial Holdings Dongguan shoe factory, producing amongst others for Nike.

In August 2014, Nike announced that they will not renew their kit supply deal with Manchester United after the 2014–15 season, citing rising costs.

The Total Assets of Nike corporation in 2014 was 18,594 mil. US$.

In 2015, a new self-lacing shoe was introduced. Called the Nike Mag, which are replicas of the shoes featured in Back to the Future Part II, it had a preliminary limited release, only available by auction with all proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation. This was done again in 2016.

Phil Knight announced in mid-2015 that he would step down as chairman of Nike in 2016.

In June 2015, Nike signed an 8-year deal with the NBA to become the official uniform supplier for the league, beginning with the 2017–18 season. The brand took over for Adidas, who provided the uniforms for the league since 2006.

In November 2015, Nike announced it would initiate a $12 billion share buyback, as well as a two-for-one stock split, with shares to begin trading at the decreased price on December 24. The split will be the seventh in company history.

The Total Assets of Nike corporation in 2015 was 21,597 mil. US$.

Phil Knight officially stepped down from all duties with the company on June 30, 2016.

The Total Assets of Nike corporation in 2016 was 21,379 mil. US$.

In March 2017, Nike announced its launch of a plus-size clothing line, which will feature new sizes 1X through 3X on more than 200 products.

On 5 November 2017, the Paradise Papers, a set of confidential electronic documents relating to offshore investment, revealed that Nike is among the corporations that used offshore companies to avoid taxes.

The Total Assets of Nike corporation in 2017 was 23,259 mil. US$.

For the fiscal year 2018, Nike reported earnings of US$1.933 billion, with an annual revenue of US$36.397 billion, an increase of 6.0% over the previous fiscal cycle. Nike's shares traded at over $72 per share.

In a company public announcement on March 15, 2018, Parker said Trevor Edwards, a top Nike executive who was seen as a potential successor to the chief executive, was relinquishing his position as Nike's brand president and would retire in August.

In June 2018, Nike announced it would initiate a $15 billion share buyback over four years, to begin in 2019 upon completion of the previous buyback program.

In September 2018, Nike announced it had signed former American football quarterback Colin Kaepernick, noted for his controversial decision to kneel during the playing of the US national anthem, to a long-term advertising campaign.

Nike's market capitalization was valued at over US$114.5 billion in October 2018.

The Total Assets of Nike corporation in 2018 was 22,536 mil. US$.

In July 2019, Nike released a shoe featuring a Betsy Ross flag called the Air Max 1 Quick Strike Fourth of July trainers. The trainers were designed to celebrate Independence Day. The model was subsequently withdrawn after Colin Kaepernick told the brand he and others found the flag offensive because of its association with slavery.

In October 2019, John Donahoe was announced as the next CEO and succeeded Parker on January 13, 2020.

In November 2019, the company stopped selling directly through Amazon, focusing more on direct relationships with customers.

In March 2020, Nike reported a 5% drop in Chinese sales associated with stores' closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It was the first decrease in six years. At the same time, the company's online sales grew by 36% during Q1 of 2020. Also, the sales of personal training apps grew by 80% in China.

On June 24, 2021, during an earnings call with investors, CEO John Donahoe stated that "Nike is a brand that is of China and for China", in response to a question about competing against Chinese brands.