Did you know that the brand adidas got started in a wash room?

That’s right, one of the most iconic brands in the world grew from these humble beginnings to be a worldwide leader in sporting goods and accessories. It wasn’t always easy. During their 70+ years in business there were many successes and many failures, but perseverance in the face of adversity is what adidas is all about.

We’ve created a brief history of this legendary brand highlighting exactly what it took for adidas to get to where it is today.

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The Founding of adidas

Adolf Dassler, a young man born in 1900 and living in the town of Herzogenaurach in Bavaria, Germany, was conscripted to fight in the first World War. Before the war, Dassler had completed a short apprenticeship as a baker but the war changed him and he decided against continuing down that path.

Upon learning the skills of a shoemaker, Dassler combined his new found skills with his love of sports to create a small shoe business in the back of his family home. His speciality? Creating specialty footwear designed for athletes. 

Together with his brother Rudolf, Dassler officially registered his new company name, Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik‘ (Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory). One of his first major successes was creating the first pair of spiked running shoes for running and track and field. They were so successful, in fact, that they helped Lina Radke achieve gold in the 800m race at the Amsterdam 1928 Olympic Games.

That would be only one of many firsts for Dassler. In 1931 he created the first pair of tennis shoes. Years later he created the first football shoes featuring moulded rubber stubs. By this point, Dassler had over 30+ different sporting shoes in his collection.

By the 1960, adidas decided to expand their brand to include clothing & accessories. Tracksuits were gaining popularity with athletes at that time and few could resist the stylish new tracksuits adidas designed featuring their classic 3-stripes.

adidas is Born

During the Second World War, the relationship between the Dassler brothers became strained. By 1949 the pair had split and Dassler took his share of the company to form a new business. While it was disappointing that the brothers couldn’t reconcile their differences, the split led to Dassler renaming his brand to what we know it as today, “adidas”.

To make his products stand out, he started designing each pair with the iconic 3-stripes that adidas has become famous for. It became so popular that Dassler even made the 3-stripes into his brand logo.

Modern adidas

Contemporary adidas history is defined by the innovative marketing campaigns and creative product designs that adidas is known for. In the 2000s, adidas launched one of their most popular marketing campaigns, “Impossible is nothing” and it’s still a trademark used by the brand today.

Not every decision Addias has made has been as successful as their brilliant start. In 2021, adidas sold Reebok, a brand they had hoped to relaunch, for less money than they had originally purchased it for.

Despite these setbacks, Addias continues to thrive today. With a new focus on streetwear trends and luxury sneakers, adidas hopes that innovation will continue to bring the brand success for years to come.