German engineering has a reputation for excellence, and this applies to their cars and machines as much as it does to their clothing and shoes. This innovation is easily seen in the products that come from Adidas.
Officially created in 1948, the brand actually has a history that stretches back to the period just after World War I. It was at the kitchen table of Pauline Dassler that her son Adi Dassler began to handcraft his own variety of sports shoes following his return from the war.
His initial success brought his older brother Rudi into the business, and soon the company flourished. At that time, it was the Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory, and within a few years it would become a brand famous throughout the sports world.
This was because Adi took a huge chance during the 1936 Olympics by heading to the Olympic village (in Bavaria) and seeking to persuade some of the athletes to wear his company"s shoes. One of the athletes he convinced happened to be American runner Jesse Owens. Wearing Dassler"s shoes, he claimed four gold medals and established the brothers as the "go to" manufacturer of top quality sports shoes.
Soon, the business exploded and the firm was selling more than 200k pairs in the years leading up to World War II. Sadly, though the brothers survived the war, their relationship suffered greatly due to a series of silly misunderstandings. By the end of the war, things were so bad that the pair severed their relationship and never reconciled.
Adi formed his own firm, and used pieces of his name to create a unique brand. He used the ADI from his first name and the DAS from his surname to create Adidas. His firm came into existence under this catchy name in 1949 and was immediately a rival of Rudi Dassler"s new shoe company - Puma.
Adi Dassler"s knowledge of shoes and design, however, ensured that his new business would be a success. In fact, his very first design even included the famous three stripes that all Adidas shoes are still known for today.
Building the Brand
It took only a short time to build a reputation for Adidas, but things really took off in 1954, when Adidas offered up lightweight football (soccer) boots to the German national team. With screw-in-studs adjustable to an array of conditions, and a weight roughly half that of the competitors" (Hungary) boots, the Adidas boots were credited with helping Germany to the win. It is what many referred to as a victory heard round the world (Adidas-group.com, 2014) and turned Adidas into a household name.
This connection to professional sports and ultimate success for the athletes wearing Adidas grew stronger over the years. This was nurtured by Adi Dassler"s willingness to meet with athletes, hear what they had to say about their needs, and then create shoes to meet them. By the 1970s, Adidas was globally viewed as the brand that could "make" any athlete.
This was true of a long list of sports, and when Russian gymnast Nadia Comaneci took a perfect 10 in the Olympics of 1978 while wearing Adidas, it further cemented the reputation that Adidas was a key to athletic success - no matter what sport you played.
While the Adidas name and brand was growing, it was also constantly aware of competition and other shoe makers with innovations worth of acquisition. This is why the company acquired the Salomon Group in 1997 (which put the TaylorMade label under the Adidas ownership). Twenty years later, Adidas acquired Reebok and its subsidiaries such as Rockport. In 2011, a further addition was made when Adidas acquired Five Ten (an outdoor shoemaker)and Ashworth (a golf shoe specialist). Today, this collective is known as Adidas AG.
Interestingly enough, though it is almost one hundred years since Adi Dassler started making sports shoes designed for performance, the Adidas AG goal is much the same: "..a shoe is more than padding and foam...Everything we do is bound by one simple thought: we strive to help you perform at your best. Your success is our ambition." (Adidas-group, 2014)
To that end, Adidas offers a full array of specialty sports shoes, apparel, and accessories. It is a multinational firm still headquartered in Germany but with a presence in 74 other countries around the globe. It employs more than 50k people. The Adidas brand itself is seen as sportswear and as designer apparel and is second in the world only to Nike.
Adidas-group.com. History. Adidas-group.com. 2014. http://www.adidas-group.com/en/group/history/
Adidas-group.com. Profile. Adidas-group.com. 2014. http://www.adidas-group.com/en/group/profile/