The History of Adidas
Visiting any sportswear shop will often yield the same, popular brands: Puma, Springbok Converse, Adidas, and many others. Among these names, brands like Adidas stand out, not only because they are one of the most widely recognised, but also because of their long and fascinating history.
Adidas’ name itself has some fame around it, and many believe that it’s an anagram for: “all day I dream about sports.” But the truth is that the name is actually derived from that of the creator of the company, Adolf “Adi” Dassler. Dassler and his brother started the company in the early 1900s, and while the brand has become internationally recognised, many don’t know about its early links to Nazi Germany.
The Origins of Adidas
In the 1920s, at the young age of 20, soccer player Adolf Dassler, the son of a cobbler, created a new type of shoe for the track field. It was set apart by its spikes that were on the bottom for grip, and it proved to be fairly popular at the time.
Four years on and Dassler, along with his brother, decided to start their own sportswear shoe company Gebruder Dassler OHG – which would be later known as Adidas. T. By 1925, the company was producing a range of leather shoes that had nail studs, and track shoes with hand-forged spikes.
Adidas During The War
Adi’s unique shoes first gained prominence at the 1928 Olympics, which were held in Amsterdam. From there, the brand gained more international recognition, with athlete Jesse Owens using a pair of Adidas shoes when he won four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
When the Second World War started, the Dassler brothers were part of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, and eventually helped produce the famed Nazi weapon, the Panzershreck, which was an anti-tank grenade launcher.
They joined the Nazi party before the start of the war, and Adi supplied shoes to both the Hitler Youth movement, as well as to German athletes. The brothers had a falling out during the war; with Adi’s brother Rudolf believing that Adi had identified him as a traitor to the nation. In 1948, Rudolf Dassler went on to create one of Adidas’ most prolific competitors, Puma.
Adidas In The Modern Era
By the time 1959 had come along, the year that Adolf Dassler died, he held over 700 patents to sports shoes, as well as other sports-related equipment. In 1978, Dassler was inducted into the American Sporting Goods Industry Hall of Fame as one of the founding members of modern sports equipment, and nowadays, you may well even seen the brand’s logo when looking at which teams to put money on when enjoying a bit of live AFL betting.
Adidas, which started as a small family business, had grown into an international corporation with roots in every continent on the planet. Although the height of their operation was in the 1970s, the company has since lost a lot of its market share to other companies. The Adidas brand, however, is still famous world wide, and still provides equipment to both professional and casual athletes.