Adidas is known for being one of the most famous shoe and apparel producing brands in the world. The company's history is rife with anecdotes of success and of strife, from its origins in the washroom of its founder's mother, to its support of the German Army during World War II, to its successful partnerships with world-famous athletes.
Adidas' history as a company begins in 1948. Before the company came to acquire its world famous brand, it was known as Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory. Adi Dassler was the original founder of the company in 1920, with a vision of making superior quality athletic training shoes. In 1924, Dassler recruited his brother Rudolf, a traveling salesman, and formed the Dassler Brothers company. The Dasslers became famous for developing track and field shoes with spikes for additional grip, as well as being the first to produce spikes for football boots.
The Dassler brothers continued to succeed into the 1930s in large part to their successful introduction of their footwear to Olympic athletes. In the 1932 Olympics, Arthur Jonath wore Dassler Brothers shoes during his bronze medal win in the 100-meter sprint. In 1936, Jesse Owens went on to win four gold medals and set five world records also while wearing Dassler shoes. These Olympic wins garnered the Dassler brothers unprecedented publicity and increased demand and popularity for their footwear. Adi Dassler went on to successfully endorse and equip Olympic athletes throughout the century, with more than 6,000 athletes wearing Adidas apparel in the 1996 Olympics, winning 70 gold medals.
Birth of Adidas
After World War II, the Dassler brothers would separate and each form their own company. Rudolf created his own shoe making company, Puma. Adi Dassler re-branded his company "Adidas" and introduced the three stripes as a now famous brand logo. The Adidas name originated from a combination of Adi's first and last name.
History of Innovation
Adidas' history is studded with innovation and firsts. Adi Dassler created sports promotion and created a weave of sports and commercial products now prolific in the 21st century. Dassler invented track spikes for runners in 1925. Adidas also became renown for diversifying its products and dominating its markets, chiefly by 30 types of footwear for 11 sports, including track and field, football, tennis, golf, cricket, basketball, lacrosse, rugby and gymnastics. Despite this success, Adidas' innovation and talent had its limits. During World War II, Germany tasked Dassler with switching production of footwear to German army bazookas. The normally shoe-producing factories proved to be extremely ill-suited to the task, and Adidas switched back to shoe production after a year.