Trademark of a manufacturer of athletic shoes. In 1895, the English athlete Joseph William Foster conceived and began to produce a type of shoe with a hobnailed sole for faster running. In 1958, two of his grandchildren founded a second corporation which absorbed the J.W. Foster & Sons company, with the name Reebok, from the name of an African gazelle. In 1979, the company took a new direction through the efforts of Paul Fireman, a partner in a company that distributed outdoor sporting products: the launch of the Freestyle, the first aerobics shoe designed expressly for dance. Its success took the company to the forefront of the international athletic shoe market. In 1984, Fireman purchased the company from Joseph Foster and transformed it into a corporation. In 1998, Reebok launched The Pump, a shoe that automatically pumped itself up to fit the foot. Reebok was engaged in an intense activity of sponsorship and research in the areas of running, fitness, rugby, tennis, soccer, baseball, track and field, golf, and mountain climbing.
&Quad;1999. In the field of sports apparel, the company introduced Hydromove, an exclusive technology based on thermoregulation and comfort. This innovative structure allows body heat to push sweat toward the outside of the fabric for faster evaporation. The athlete, therefore, remains dry and the body preserves a constant temperature, which slows the onset of exhaustion and helps to improve performance.
&Quad;2000, December. The company signed a multiyear contract with Venus Williams, the famous tennis champion. In the same period, Reebok and the National Football League (NFL) announce a exclusive partnership that also serves the purpose of reorganizing and reinvigorating the business of NFL products. The ten-year contract calls for the NFL to hand over all production, distribution, and sales of the trademark for the 32 league football tems in the United States and for those in the World League (Europe). The license includes shoes, team uniforms, training apparel, aftergame wear, and a new line of apparel. The agreement ensures Reebok of exclusive rights to develop a new line of NFL-branded fitness equipment.
&Quad;2001, April. The company launched in North America, in collaboration with Clearly Canadian Beverage Corporation, Reebok Fitness Water, an extremely sophisticated product: this is water enriched with essential vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes. Reebok Fitness Water satisfies the demands of sports consumers, who are attentive to and aware of health.
&Quad;2001, August. The company signed another major ten-year contract for a strategic partnership with the NBA, the National Basketball Association. Thanks to this agreement, Reebok acquired the rights to design, produce, and distribute all merchandise tied to the NBA, the Women’s Basketball Association, and the National Basketball Development League.
&Quad;2002. Paul Smith designs a pair of running shoes for Reebok — in a limited edition, at a 145 Euro retail price — with a vaguely 1980s look. The company has revenues of 3.1 billion dollars.
&Quad;2003, June. A new entry in the phenomenon of fashion and rap: this is a long-term partnership between Reebok and 50 Cent, the rapper who is leading the ranking of biggest-selling music star on earth. The first fruit of their collaboration was the line of shoes called G-Unit Collection by RBK. This collection of shoes debuted, with a very limited distribution, in the fall, but the full-bore launch, in grand style, would take place in the first few months of 2004. This was not the first time that Reebok collaborated with a rap star: in fact, the brand launched, on 18 April 2003, the S Carter Collection by RBK, the product of a collaborative design process with the rapper Jay-Z, and it enjoyed enormous success in the United States. In a single weekend, in fact, 10,000 pairs of the first running shoes marketed were sold: the Shaun Carter, which cost 95 dollars.
&Quad;2003, September. The new collection devoted to women’s tenniswear was developed by the American fashion designer Diane von Fürstenberg.
&Quad;2003. Reebok International Ltd. had approximately 6,000 employees worldwide.
&Quad;2005 August. For 3.1 billion Euros, the company is published by the Germany group, Adidas, which paid 34 percent more than the price as quoted on the stock exchange.” (Edoardo Ponzoni)