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Nike LDV with "waffle" sole

Nike LDV with "waffle" sole

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Usage conditions apply
The modern running shoe took shape in the 1960s and 1970s, when running enthusiasts at shoe companies started experimenting with improved designs. In 1972, Bill Bowerman applied for a patent on “an athletic shoe suitable for use on artificial turf... the sole has short multi-sided polygon shaped studs... which provide gripping edges that give greatly improved traction.” The sole’s design was inspired by his wife’s waffle iron which Bill subsequently ruined while using it to form his experimental rubber soles. Bowerman received his shoe patent number 3,793,750 on February 26, 1974 and Nike began producing the “waffle” trainers the same year.
This example is a Nike LDV (Long Distance Vector ) shoe in blue suede and nylon mesh fabric upper with the orange Nike "Swoosh" on left and right sides of the shoe. The shoe is covered by two of Bowerman's US patents: 3,793,750 (1974) and 4,098,011 (1978). The patent numbers appear on the bottom of the sole. In the later patent the original "waffle" shoe was modified to address some weaknesses in the earlier design including undue wear of the sole and lateral instability.
Object Name
shoes, pair of
date made
ca 1979
Nike, Inc.
place made
United States
Physical Description
suede (overall material)
nylon (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
rubber (overall material)
overall: 5 1/4 in x 9 1/2 in x 13 5/8 in; 13.335 cm x 24.13 cm x 34.6075 cm
ID Number
catalog number
nonaccession number
patent number
See more items in
Medicine and Science: Medicine
Health & Medicine
American Enterprise
American Enterprise
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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