Reebok took its first steps in Great Britain. The company was founded for a simple reason: people wanted to run faster. In the 1890s, Joseph William Foster was the first to make running shoes with spikes. In the year 1895, he made running shoes by hand for top athletes in his neighbourhood.
The company, J. W. Foster and Sons, had built up an international list of customers. In 1958, two grandsons of the founder founded a sister company that came to be known as Reebok, named after an African gazelle. However, real success did not come until Paul Fireman, a partner at an outdoor sporting goods distributor, passed Reebok at an international trade show.
Three years later, Fireman bought Reebok and introduced the brand to the American market. Reebok sold more than 1.5 million dollars. In 1982, Reebok introduced the very first athletic shoe for women called the Freestyle. This model is one of the best-selling products in the company's history.
Reebok immediately capitalised on this great success and launched three more models that changed the entire sports shoe scene. Aerobics came into being, many more women started practising sports and there was an acceptance of sports shoes under casual clothing.
In the late 1990s, the company made a strategic move by linking itself to several talented athletes. Since then, they have been focusing on world-class athletes such as basketball star Allen Iverson and tennis star Venus Williams.
In 1992, Reebok made its mark on the international scene by introducing new footwear and apparel for several competitors. Four years later, at the Atlanta Olympics, more than 30 percent of the competitors were wearing Reebok shoes and clothes.
Reebok's eyes were not only on athletes. In 2003, the company made history by partnering with the one and only rap legend Jay-Z.