A company that was initially started in 1924, the adidas did not come about until 1948 by Adolf “Adi” Dassler following a split with his brother Rudolph. Rudolph Dassler would go on to start his own company that you may have heard of, Puma. This initiated an early rivalry between the brothers and their brands that would last till their passing. The name for adidas comes from a combination of Adolf’s nickname Adi and the first letters of his last name Das.
Although the three stripes on an adidas shoe is one of the most recognizable images in the world it was initially created to help add stability to the shoe. The three stripes is most known for showing up on their football aka soccer shoes. The three stripes logo followed an ideology of three guiding principles; Design the best shoe accordingly to the requirements of the sport, protect athletes from injury, and make the product durable. The three strips have become so popular that it became the standard for football players of the world.
It would not be until the 1960’s that adidas created apparel and equipment, namely the football/soccer ball. This would be the time when the three stripes would grace the infamous tracksuit and the uniforms worn by millions. Leading into the 1970s where adidas had the recognition of being the official soccer ball of the World Cup. Right up until present day as every game and goal scored in the World Cup has been with an adidas ball. In would be in 1972 when adidas would introduce a new logo to the world. This would be the first time the “Trefoil” logo would be used. Inspired by the original three stripes, the Trefoil three leaves symbolize the Olympic spirit, linked to the three continental plates as well as the heritage and history of the brand. As well the three leaves were an additional trademark that made it easier to distinguish between authentic adidas and imitations.
During the ’70s was a time when adidas turned their focus onto other sports as well. Venturing into Tennis, Running, Skiing just to name a few. The decade was when the brand also lost founder Adolf Dassler as well. The ’80s were an important time of change for the brand. Its focus on expanding their lineup was helped by athletes such as Basketball star Kareem Abdul Jabbaar along with Tennis greats Ivan Lendl and Steffi Graf to name a few. It would also be a time the company would be thrust into the musical spotlight as hip-hop group Run-DMC brought the brand to another level.
Often credited for kick-starting the golden age of hip-hop music Run-DMC made it a trademark to wear adidas tracksuits and shoes with no laces. This image often copied by fans boosted adidas sales and attention on the brand grew. This lead to adidas signing the group to a lucrative endorsement deal and the song “My Adidas” topping charts. To this day wearing a fedora cap, adidas tracksuit and shoes means you are paying tribute to one of music’s most influential groups.
The ’90s were tougher for the brand. With the sale of the brand in 1989 it went through some turmoil with ownership and direction. It would not be until the middle of the ’90s the brand was prosperous again with 1994 dubbed the year of the comeback. Then soon after 1996 was one of the most successful years in the brand’s history with a great presence at the European Football Championship and the Atlanta Summer Olympics. In 1997, adidas decided to introduce an integrated corporate design, choosing as the core element a new and yet familiar three bars logo. This transformation of the logo is also in the shape of a mountain, indicating the challenge to be faced and the goals to be achieved.
The 2000’s brought even more growth and focus for the brand. The focus was to be the very best and a large leap was taken with the purchase of formal rival Reebok along with its sub-brands. The company is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second biggest sportswear manufacturer in the world, after its American rival Nike. In 2006 adidas signed an 11-year deal with the NBA to be the official uniform and apparel supplier for the league. This focus on America has lead to the brand signing major NBA stars such as Dwight Howard, Derrick Rose, and many others. Along with their Basketball division, the brand has other sub-brands that have created a niche. From product from their adidas Originals lineup to adidas Skateboarding, adidas is keeping their focus to be at the top of the mountain.