A Brief History of Adidas

Adidas is one of the most popular brands of 2017 and is completely dominating the clothing market. Seriously, if look around a public area, and you will probably see multiple people wearing the Adidas brand whether it is their signature pink logo hat, their white striped track pants, or even their triple stripe shoes called ”Superstars.

The Adidas brand was formed in Herzogenaurach, Germany on August 18, 1949 by Adolf “Adi” Dassler. Dassler was born on November 3, 1900, in Herzogenaurach Germany and began making shoes in his mother’s basement after returning from the first World War. Dassler’s father, Christoph, was already a shoe manufacturer who helped support his son’s business and in July 1924 Adolf’s older brother Rudolf joined, starting the Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik, translating to  “Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory.” In 1928, the brothers began to supply many athletes. One  such athlete was Arthur Jonath, who won an Olympic Bronze Medal in a 100m dash while wearing the “Waitzer” track shoes, officially becoming the first athlete to win a medal while wearing Adidas gear. In 1936 during the Berlin Olympics, Adolf gave shoes to athlete Jesse Owens, winning four gold medals while wearing the shoes. However, the brothers relationship began to become very toxic due to extreme difference in political views, and by 1948 the brothers had become so spiteful of each other Rudolf left the company and founded Puma. With Rudolf leaving, Adolf  “Adi” Dassler had full control over the company and renamed it to Adidas, a combination of his nickname and last name. The Adidas company was quite successful and gained their signature logo that is modeled after the trefoil plant in 1971. Adolf earned a fortune before his heart gave out September 6, 1978, just four years after his brother, Rudolf. The company was handed to Adolf’s son, Horst, and wife, Käthe. Horst died nine years after gaining ownership, and in 1987, Adidas became a private company but remained in family possession until it was sold to investors. The company headquarters for both Puma and Adidas are built in Herzogenaurach, and as a matter of fact, the city was often referred to as the city of crooked necks because the rivalry between the two shoe companies was so intense that everyone would crane their necks to look to see what shoes other people are wearing.

Mainstream success was achieved not only by celebrity help but quality and look. Throughout the 21st century Adidas had a very moderate success, they sponsored many athletes, and sold tons of clothes, but they were not yet “the brand” that they wanted to be but this all changed with the popularization of their Superstar shoes. The classic triple striped shoes were released in 1969 as a low-top basketball shoe with a white finish with red stripes. Adidas really hit mainstream success while partnered with rap icon Kanye West who was payed to wear and promote their products as well as make the very famous “Yeezy” shoe brand. The success of the Adidas brand could be attributed to West and other pop icons, but many say it is due to the brand’s cool, sleek, and comfortable design. Adidas has recently come under fire for allegedly bribing basketball  coaches to get their top students to go with Adidas financial advisers and even in some cases, bribing the students directly to join the Adidas brand when they go pro.

Adidas has had a long history, and Adolf Dassler poured his heart and soul into the Adidas brand to give it the platform it needed to boost itself into the spotlight and become a giant among the sportswear brands, reaching sales up to $22,912,381,000 in 2016. So next time you go out and about, if you look around and notice what other people are wearing, it is almost guaranteed you will see the company’s signature trefoil plant.

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