German brand of shoes, clothing and accessories for all sports. Together with Nike and Reebok, it is a main player in the international market and dictates fashions. For the young generation — although by now this type of shoe has completely destroyed any kind of tradition — the Torsion model shoe has an added fashion value just as those of the English firm Church’s do for those over 50. In half a century of life, this brand stood out as the most prominent during some of the most prestigious worldwide sports events. In 1971, as just one of many possible examples, Muhammad Alì and Joe Frazier both wore Adidas shoes during the boxing match called the “fight of the century.” The company was born in Herzogenaurach in 1920, founded by Bavarian shoemakers Adolf and Rudolf Dassler. The brand name was registered in 1948 and comes from the contraction of Adolf’s first name (Adi) and last name; he was the older brother. A few months after this christening, Rudolf founded the similarly-named Puma. The three-striped Adidas logo made its début in 1949 and was perfected in the trefoil symbol of 1973. Already in 1956 several athletes wore Adidas the Melbourne Olympics. Sixteen years later the company was the official supplier for the Games. Adi Dassler, who died in 1978, was the first foreigner accepted into the Hall of Fame of the sporting goods industry of the U.S. One of the most recent innovations in sports shoe manufacturing is the Torsion system, introduced in 1988. In 1997 Adidas, with a workforce of 10,000 employees, took over the French company Salomon and changed its name to Adidas-Salomon AG.
Berlin: opening of the first Adidas Originals store. With about 3200 square feet the store at the Berlin-Mitte is intended only for original collections of shoes and accessories and for special editions such as the Crystal Superstar, of which only 100 pairs were produced. The German company takes over the remaining capital shares of Adidas Italia owned by the Colombo Group. The Italian affiliate keeps its premises in Monza. In a record year, earnings increase 10% and sales 7%, reaching €6,5 billion.
The Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto was appointed Creative Director of Adidas Sport Style. The line, first called Equipment, specialized in sports fashion. The collection comprised 50 articles of clothing for men’s and women’s wear, and a line of accessories. Before arriving at his new post, the Japanese designer worked for three seasons with Adidas Originals. His shoes were best sellers, with an estimated turnover of €500 million. The Japanese designer made his business relationship with Adidas ever closer, creating a prêt-à-porter line Y3, which was completed in October 2002 and presented in January 2003 at Pitti Uomo.
After ending 2004 with record figures, an increase in sales of 3 percent (equal to 6.47 billion Euros), while profits soared 21 percent over 2003, reaching a level of 314 million Euros.
Agreement between Adidas and Porche Design to create a line in the sector of activewear. For 3.1 billion Euros, the German company purchased Reebok. The acquisition restabilized the sportswear market where, now, each of the leading companies (the other one is Nike) controls nearly a third of the sports apparel and footwear markets. Adidas is also a sponsor of the World Cup of soccer in Germany in 2006 and the Olympics in Beijing in 2008.