After his return from WWI, Adolf Dassler and his brother Rudolf began making shoes for sporting events out of his mother’s laundry room in 1924. With electricity being unreliable, the brothers often had to pedal a bicycle to generate electricity for their equipment.
Dassler was the innovator of modern spiked shoes for sporting events, removing the heavy metal spikes in favor of rubber and canvas. He convinced Jesse Owens to wear his shoes for the 1936 summer Olympics and after winning 4 gold medals, the reputation of Dassler’s shoes became famous worldwide.
The brothers had a falling out in 1947, with Rudolf forming what would become Puma brand and Adolf forming Adidas. Although it is a popular urban legend that the name is an acronym for All Day I Dream About Sports, the name was actually formed from “Adi” (a nickname for Adolf) and “Das” (from “Dassler”).
Today, Adidas is one of the most well-known brands of sporting apparel, equipment, and shoes in the world. The company also owns Reebok, Runtastic, and Matix. The company sponsors numerous sporting events and hires athletes such as Lionel Messi to promote their clothing and shoe line.
With Nike having controversy swirling around the company over spokesperson Colin Kaepernick, Adidas appears to be benefitting from this, with sales up more than 17.6% compared to Nike’s 6.8%.
Company headquarters for the USA are located in Portland, Oregon.