Adidas is a German, multinational company, based in Herzogenaurach (also home to Puma with which it shares origins). Adidas is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe, the second largest in the world, producing footwear, clothing and other sporting goods for professional, amateur or leisure activities.
The origins of the current Adidas date back to 1924 when Adolf Dassler, son of the shoemaker Christoph von Wilhelm Dassler, began producing football boots in his mother's laundry in Herzogenaurach in Bavaria.
In that year, together with his older brother Rudolf Dassler, he founded the "Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik" (Dassler brothers' shoe factory). Adolf takes care of physically manufacturing the shoes while Rudolf takes care of distribution and management.
The company immediately achieved great success but achieved global prominence during the 1936 Berlin Olympics, supplying footwear to the American Jesse Owens, winner of four gold medals in athletics (long jump, 100 and 200 metres, relay 4 ×100).
In 1947, due to differences, the brothers Adolf and Rudolf split up. Rudolf founded his own company which he initially called Ruda (from the first two letters of his name and surname), renamed in 1948 to Puma Schuhfabrik Rudolf Dassler, today known as Puma. Adolf instead calls his company Adidas, also using his nickname, Adi, and the first three letters of the surname Dassler. The company was officially registered on August 18, 1949 as Adidas AG.
After the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, Adidas purchased the three-stripe logo from the Finnish sports shoe company Karhu, "for two bottles of whiskey" and the equivalent of €1,600. Since then, Adidas products have been branded and identified with the official logo with the three parallel and oblique stripes.
The trefoil logo, designed in 1971, presented in 1972 at the 1972 Munich Olympics was used until 1997, when the company introduced the "three-bar" logo (designed by then artistic director Peter Moore). Since then, the iconic "trefoil" logo has been used for Adidas Originals.
In 1978, upon the death of Adolf Dassler, the company is led by his wife Käthe and his children. In 1989, after a complicated period, the company was sold to the French financier Bernard Tapie, a specialist in buying companies on the verge of bankruptcy and turning them around.
Tapie decides to move production abroad, to Asia. He also chooses Madonna (pop star) as an advertising witness for the brand.
In 1992 Tapie decided to sell the company to a group of investors led by Robert Louis-Dreyfus who became president of Adidas in 1994. In 1995 Adidas entered the stock exchange, listing in Paris and Frankfurt.
In 1997 Adidas acquired the Salomon Group and its brands Salomon, TaylorMade, Mavic and Bonfire, taking the name Adidas-Salomon AG.
In January 2006 the group purchased the English brand Reebok, in 2011 the climbing and mountain bike shoe company Five Ten, and in 2015 the Austrian Runtastic.
In 2016, the Danish Kasper Rorsted, with studies in Copenhagen and Harvard, took over the leadership of the group in place of Herbert Heiner, in office for 15 years. His strategy is to focus on growth in the United States with the launch of a special line , Originals, for the re-editions of sixties models of leather, tennis and basketball shoes, and to collaborate with the rapper and stylist Kanye West, with the Yeezy line.
In 2017, the largest store in Italy opens in Milan with David Beckham as testimonial.
Various rappers and hip hop groups wore Adidas sneakers or tracksuits during concerts: Run DMC, Jay Z, Puff Daddy, up to Snoop Dogg for the Adidas Tracksuit Day.
Jonathan Davis, singer of the Nu metal group Korn, entered the collective imagination by always wearing Adidas branded tracksuits. In 1996 the single A.D.I.D.A.S. was released, contained in the group's second album Life Is Peachy.
Freddie Mercury, historic leader of Queen, uses Adidas shoes in live performances.
Adidas supplies the balls used in the World and European Football Championships, the UEFA Champions League, the Africa Cup of Nations and other football competitions.
Many club and national football teams have chosen Adidas as their technical sponsor. Adidas is also the technical sponsor of all NHL teams and numerous NCAA colleges.
Rivalry between Adidas and Puma
The two companies immediately entered into great competition and the two brothers, never reconciled again, were buried in the same cemetery, their graves being "separate and as distant as possible". Even the town of Herzogenaurach is divided and the two football clubs take sides: ASV Herzogenaurach is supplied by Adidas, while FC Herzogenaurach chooses Puma.
At the 1960 Rome Olympics, the German sprinter Armin Hary was paid by Puma to wear their shoes during the final of the 100 meters. Previously Hary wore Adidas, asking Adolf for compensation who rejected him.
Hary wins the gold medal with Puma but shows up at the awards ceremony wearing Adidas, hoping to receive compensation from both. Adi (Adidas) gets so angry that he breaks off relations with the new Olympic champion.