Brothers Adolf and Rudolf Dassler created their first training shoe in Herzogenaurach, Germany, in 1920. Soon they were known by athletes as the ideal brand. Athlete Jesse Owens won four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics wearing Dassler shoes.
In 1948, the brothers split, with Rudolph starting the legendary Puma brand, and Adolph creating the adidas brand. The name ‘adidas’ comes from a combination of Adolph’s nickname, ‘adi’, and the first three letters of his surname.
Only a year later, in 1949, did Adolph add the now iconic three stripes to the trademark which are still used today. The trefoil logo was introduced in 1972.
Unfortunately, he died that same year, handing over the reins to his wife Käthe. At the same time, Dassler became the first non-American to be inducted into the American Sporting Good Industry Hall of Fame. Käthe died in 1984 and gave the leadership to the eldest son, Horst. This was sadly short-lived as three years later he also died. To ensure that the company remained a Dassler company and delivered high quality, adidas continued to adhere to the company's established guidelines.
One factor that helped adidas to become such a big company was sponsoring great athletes. For example: Muhammad Ali, David Beckham, and the German national football team. This is still an important factor for adidas today.
Young people have also always been important for the success of the company. In the 1980s, terraces filled with supporters wearing football shirts, sponsored by adidas, could be seen in Britain. At the same time, rap legend Run-DMC made a song called 'My adidas' because they loved the brand so much. He loved to walk all day on adidas Superstars, which is one of the best-selling shoes ever.
Because of this and many other artists, both clothes and sneakers of adidas became very popular. The favourite pair of most artists were the Superstars. This model became one of the best-sellers, firmly establishing itself alongside other popular models including the Forum, Ozweego, Stan Smith, Yeezy, Falcon, Gazelle, Samba and Continental 80.
Sub-divisions of adidas
Rob Strasser and Peter Moore of Sports Incorporated developed the Equipment (or EQT) concept for adidas, who released shoes and a clothing line in 1991. Along with the shoes and clothing, a new logo emerged. This logo evolved into the adidas Performance logo, which can still be found on many adidas products today. Next to adidas Performance, more sub-brands have been set up like adidas Originals and adidas Lifestyle.