Interesting History of Adidas

Adidas, started by Adolf Dassler, is a German multinational corporation. The headquarters are in Herzogenaurach, Germany. Adidas is one of the largest sportswear manufacturers in Europe and the second-largest in the world for the design and manufacturing of shoes, clothing, and accessories. The famous 3 stripes of Adidas have been in the world of sports, streetwear, and fashion for more than half-century. 

Everything that Adidas does is rooted in sports. Sports have been an increasing and important role in people’s lives. Adidas has been working on every culture and society for healthy and happy sportswear. They know how to change the lives through sports. 

Interesting History of Adidas

Adidas was started by Adolf Dassler. He started this company in his mother’s house. Later on, his brother Rudolf joined him in 1924 and named the company Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory. Later on, in 1949, bother brothers had a relationship breakdown. Adolf created Adidas, and Rudolf created Puma. 

Early Days 

After returning from World War I to Herzogenaurach in Germany, Adolf Dassler founded Adi as a sports shoe company. Rudolf was assisting in the development of spikes, running shoes for multiple athletic events. His hand-made spikes were used in the 1936 Olympics. Owen’s four gold medals gave reputation to the Dassler shoes which later were known to all best sportsmen and trainers. Before World War II, Dassler was selling 200,000 pairs of shoes annually

In World War II, the Dassler factory was used for manufacturing anti-tank weapons. It was nearly destroyed by the US forces. Adolf Dassler’s wife convinced the GIs that the company makes sports shoes only. 

Split and Rivalry with Puma

In 1947, the brothers split up and Rudolf formed a new firm named Ruda. Later on, it was converted into Puma. It was initially registered as Adidas AG on August 18, 1949. Adidas and Puma SE had a bitter and fierce rivalry. The town of Herzogenaurach was split on the issue giving a name of the town on bent necks. People used to look down on the shoes to see if they are wearing Adidas or Puma.

The town’s two football clubs even divided in a way that Adidas supported ASV Herzogenaurach Club, and Puma supported 1 FC Herzogenaurach. Handymen deliberately wore the Adidas shoes when Rudolf used to call them at home. Rudolf then used to offer them to pick out their favorite pair of free puma shoes. The conflict between the two brothers was never resolved and they were even buried in the same cemetery but as far as possible.

In Summer Olympics, 1960, Armin Hary was paid by Puma to wear pumas in the 100-meter sprint final. Hary had worn Adidas before and asked for payment from Adolf, but Adolf rejected his request. The German won the gold in Pumas but laced up Adidas for the medal ceremony. Hence, Adolf got enraged and banned the Olympic Champion from his brand.

Corporate Image of Adidas

In 1952, Adidas acquired the signature of their company also known as the 3-stripe logo from the Finnish Athletic Footwear band named Karhu Sports. It was acquired on two bottles of whiskey and equivalent of 1600 euros. In 1971, the Trefoil logo was designed and was launched in 1972. The Trefoil logo lasted till 1997. Since then, the three bars logo has been used for Adidas. It was designed by Creative Director Peter Moore. 

Tapie Affair 

After the death of Adolf Dassler’s son Horst Dassler in 1987, the company was bought by a French industrialist, Bernard Tapie in 1989. It was bought for 1.6 billion francs at that time. Tapie was the famous specialist who rescued the bankrupt companies. It was his expertise on which he built his fortune. 

Tapie decided to move the production offshore such as Asia. He sent a shoe sales representative from Christchurch, New Zealand to Germany to meet Adolf Dassler’s descendants. The shoe sales representative was sent back to New Zealand with few items that he can promote there. Tapie was filed bankrupt in 1994. He was also the object of various lawsuits

After Bernard Tapie, his friend, Robert Louis-Dreyfus became the CEO of the company in 1994. He was also the president of Olympique de Marseille. In February 2000, Credit Lyonnais sold Adidas to Robert Louis-Dreyfus for 4.485 billion francs rather than 2.85 billion francs. It was done to recover the amount that Tapie owed to the bank. 

Post-Tapie Era – Timeline

In 1994, Adidas was combined with the FIFA Youth Group. Due to this, SOS Children’s Villages became the main beneficiary. In 1997, Adidas acquired Salomon Group and the official corporate name was changed to Adidas-Salomon AG. Salomon Group was an expert on ski-wear. With this acquisition, Adidas was able to acquire TaylorMade Golf Company and Maxfli. All of these acquisitions, allowed Adidas to compete with Nike Golf.

NCAA was sued by Adidas in 1998 over the rule of limiting the size and number of commercial logos on the team clothing and uniform. The revenue of Adidas was increased to 5.84 billion euros from the year 1993 to 2000, by the CEO, Louis-Dreyfus. Later on, he announced his retirement because of illness. 

In 2003, a lawsuit in British courts was filed by Adidas to Fitness World Trading. They were using a two-stripe motif that was similar to the three stripes of Adidas. In 2004, top English fashion designer Stella McCartney started a joint-venture line with Adidas. It was done to collect the sports performance of women. It was launched with the name of Adidas by Stella McCartney. 

In 2005, announced publicly that they have sold their partner company Salomon Group to the Amer Sports of Finland for 485 million. In the same year, Adidas was planning to buy Reebok for $3.8 billion. The takeover was completed in partnership terms in January 2006. The acquisition of Reebok was done to compete for Nike worldwide which made them second best athletic shoemaker in the world. 

The global corporate headquarters of Adidas is in Germany, but the business is spread across the world such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Toronto, Portland, England, Australia, Japan, and Spain. Adidas introduced Adidas 1 that used a microprocessor for the production of the shoes. It was also known as the first intelligent shoes of the world. The microprocessor was able to perform 5 million calculations per second for the level of cushioning in shoes

In 2006, Adidas announced an 11-year deal of official NBA clothing. In November 2011, Adidas announced the acquisition of Five Ten, an outdoor action sport performance brand, through the share purchase agreement. $23 million in cash at closing was the purchasing price of shares. In 2012, Herbert Hainer was the CEO of Adidas and he announced the highest revenue in the history of Adidas.

In January 2015 Adidas launched a reservation app for the customers. It was launched to give access to their customers for reserving the brand’s limited-edition sneakers. It was done by using geo-targeting technology. In the same year, Adidas acquired Runtastic, a fitness technology firm, for $240 million. Kasper Rorsted was appointed as a new CEO on October 1, 2016. TaylorMade Gold Company including Ashworth were sold out by Adidas to KS Capital Partners for $425 million. 


Adidas company started by Adolf Dassler faced the rivalry of Puma that was launched by his brother Rudolf Dassler. Since then, the company has been working on acquisition to compete with the world’s top sportswear company Nike. Adidas has been manufacturing sportswear for Football Associations, Baseball, Basketball, Cricket, Golf, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Gymnastics, etc.  

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