An Adidas History- why is the brand so special?
In 1924, the founder of Adidas Adolf (Adi) Dassler first started to produce his own sports shoes in his mother’s kitchen, in their home town of Herzogenaurach. By 1936 Dassler’s shoes had become more well-known as he managed to persuade Jesse Owens to wear his running spikes. Owens went on to win 4 gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, which was the endorsement Dassler needed to kick-start his career as a footwear provider. In the years leading up to World War II, Dassler was selling 200,000 pairs of shoes per year, a huge amount for the 1930s.
During the war there was tension between Adolf and his brother Rudi, which culminated in a full split between them in 1947. Rudi went on to create a sports brand called ‘RUDA’ which eventually changed to PUMA; the brand still around today. Adi’s brand; ADIDAS was formally registered in August 1949.
Through the 20th Century
In the first few years of creation, Adidas and Puma fiercely competed to become the world’s dominant sportswear brand. Puma originally looked the more likely as several of the 1948 West German football team were in Puma, including Herbert Berdenski, who scored the team’s first ever post-war goal. At the 1952 Olympics Josy Barthel won the 1500 metres event in Puma shoes, and it was clear Puma were a rising global success. However, in 1954 the West German national side were supplied with Adidas football boots which featured screw-in studs, which many believe was a deciding factor in the final between West Germany and Hungary. The underdogs from Germany beat Hungary 3-2 in heavy rain, which the West Germans could cope with better because of Dassler’s creation.
In 1967 Adidas produced their first item of clothing for sale, which indicated the growth of the company. Three years later the brand provided the TELSTAR football for the 1970 World Cup. To this day no other company have provided a World Cup ball since then.
1972 was another momentous year for Adidas as they unveiled a new logo at the 1972 Munich Olympics; the world famous trefoil. Back then the trefoil symbolised performance, whereas now it is more famous for the Originals collection. The Originals Collection is now arguably the most famous strand of Adidas, with iconic lifestyle shoes such as the Superstar and Stan Smith falling in the Originals category.
Expansion and Innovation
The 1980s bought about success for the brand, firstly in 1984 the Micropacer was created which featured ground breaking technology featuring performance statistics for runners. In 1986 success came in the form of a partnership between Run DMC and Adidas, which improved the coverage of the 3 stripes in the USA. Finally, Adidas became popular on the football terraces- although the shoes became associated with violence on match day, the legacy of the era still lives on today, even if the vast majority of violence has died out. Up and down the UK Adidas will have a heavy presence at most grounds; it doesn’t take long to spot a pair of Gazelles or City Series before or after a Saturday afternoon match.
The 1990s and 2000s were mainly about innovation for Adidas. For example, the EQT technology (1991) and the Predator football boot (1994) were created. New partnerships such as Y-3, Porsche Design and Stella McCartney were announced in the 2000s, as Adidas pushed for global coverage.
In the present day, Adidas continue to innovate with BOOST technology to create the Ultraboost and NMD, whilst still maintaining tradition by re-releasing models such as the 91 Gazelle and Jeans MK II. The launch of the Spezial collection in 2014 has transformed the collecting of vintage models to a new level, with clothing and trainer releases a couple of times a year adding extra excitement.
The Adidas Specialists