Bill Bowerman who co founded Nike made the first version of the modern day athletic shoe. Bowerman melted and shaped rubber soles with his wife's waffle iron at his home, to create a lighter, faster and a better shoe for his athletes at the University of Oregon.
During his time at Oregon he coached 24 NCAA individual champs, 33 Olympic competitors and 64 All-Americans. Bowerman coached Oregon from 1949 to 1972, making it the dominant power in NCAA track and field.
"His Waffle Trainer sole, first prototyped using his wife's waffle iron, featured raised nubs similar to those on modern mountain bike tires, which gave the shoe traction while maintaining a low weight," writes the National Inventors Hall of Fame.