Adidas Origin: History, Logo & Facts

Adidas Origin, History, Logo & Facts
Photo credit: Christian Wiediger / Unsplash

The story about Adidas origin, how the company started, earned a place as a reputable sports brand, and its logo history is intriguing.

Adidas is one of the most revered and renowned footwear and clothing companies in the globe.

Although the athletic wear industry has become even more competitive than ever, Adidas has registered its presence in the scene, challenging huge leading brands such as Nike and New Balance. 

They’ve devised strategies in maintaining and attracting new customers to the brand when apparel companies are struggling. One stand-out factor that played a vital role in the brand’s success is its eye-catching unique designs evident in its products. 

In this article, we’ll go down memory lane, digging into the Adidas origin, history, logo and meaning, and finally, interesting Adidas facts. Read on.

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Adidas origin

Adidas’ origin can be a bit controversial for many. The company founder, Adolf Dassler, had fought in World War I on the Germans’ side and later joined the Nazi Party in World War II.

Returning from World War I, Dassler began sports shoe production right in his mother’s home, in the laundry section, unknown to him, it was the birth to one of the world’s greatest brands in decades to come. His elder brother Rudolf joined him initially, but sadly the duo had a fallout and went their separate ways. Rudolf established his company, now known as Puma, a bitter rival to the Adidas brand.

The first breakthrough for Dassler Shoes, as it was known, occurred in the 1936 Summer Olympics. With a suitcase full of cleats, Adolf arrived at the competition ground and persuaded sprinter Jesse Owens to wear his shoes in the competition, thus resulting in Jesse becoming the first African-American to receive sponsorship in the Olympics. That led to the increasing popularity of Dassler Shoes.

How Adidas got its name and change in ownership

In 1947, Dassler Shoes underwent a name changing process. From his nickname “Adi” and the first three letters of his last name, “Dassler,” Adolf changed his company’s name to Adidas. He presided over his company until 1987, when he sold it to a French Investor, Bernard Tapie, for ₣1.6 billion. 

Under Tapie’s control, Adidas production spiked. However, Tapie resold Adidas to Robert Louis-Dreyfus as he could not pay interest on the loan initially used in purchasing the company.

In the following years, Adidas went through various changes in ownership. Consequently, it was to the brand’s advantage as it kept increasing in popularity and growing more prosperous. 

Fast-forward to today, Adidas is a big name in the athletic wear industry. It supplies sports apparel to several sports leagues, including the NBA, NFL, Premier League, and many others. 

Currently, Adidas is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second-largest in the world. 

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History of the Adidas logo

Adidas Logo, Meaning & History

The three stripes logo has been affiliated with the Adidas brand. However, they were not the sole owner of the logo as they were not the first company to make use of the design. History of ownership traced back to Karhu Sports. After World War I, Karhu Sports was hit hard and was financially uncomfortable as they ran short on capital. To raise money, the owner agreed to sell the trademark to their logo to Adidas. It cost Adidas €1,600 and two bottles of whiskey.

In 1971, Adidas launched the three-stripe logo. Unlike the current brand logo, the three-stripe logo was shaped in a “trefoil” leaf. Later on, the trefoil version was replaced by the current logo resembling the shape of a triangle. However, the trefoil version still used the Adidas brand originals’ apparel and leisure lines.

The meaning behind the Adidas logo

Long before Adidas purchased the trefoil logo, the brand had used the now-famous three-bar stripes in all of their products. They were reckoned as the three stripe company. 

The stripes however were symbolic. Each bar of stripe represented one of three central continents where the Adidas footwears were majorly sold—North America, Asia, and Europe. Aside from that, the stripes are also meant to express the brand’s international and diversified allure and products.

The latest logo in a triangle shape that resembles a mountain’s upward slope is as well symbolic. It simply gives illustration meaning to the odds athletes faced and the will determination to overcome them. The mountain in the logo shows steady growth as it moves upward, symbolizing conquering challenges. This meaning is even more fitting as it relates to the athletes, most of whom Adidas sells their apparels to.

Combined with the Adidas logo, the company’s name is below the logo in the lower-case font. Unlike several brand logos with a specific color associated with it, Adidas has no particular color scheme attached, which gives freedom to alter the logo design’s color to match the apparel product they are stamping it on.

Interesting Adidas Facts

Below are some of the interesting Adidas facts you need to know.

  1. The trefoil Adidas logo was unveiled in Munich Olympics in 1972
  1. There exist a park in Boston, Massachusetts, United States, referred to as “Adidas Park.” Nothing short of Adidas brand sneakers are allowed. Anyone who dared go to the park wearing a different sneakers brand does so at the risk of having their shoes snatched and hung on the park’s “tree of shame,” where several pairs of other sneakers’ brands are found hanging.
  1. The famous “Stan Smith” sneakers, arguably Adidas’ most iconic sneakers, was initially intended to be named after French tennis star Robert Haillet. 
  1. Rap group DMC bagged an endorsement deal with the brand right after an impressive performance of their hit song “My Adidas” in New York’s Madison Square Garden. During the performance, the group had told an attendance to hold up one of their Adidas shoes for display as they performed. That had impressed an Adidas executive in attendance who offered the group $1 million endorsement deal on the spot.
  1. Adidas had once suffered a financial tragedy and nearly went bankrupt in the ‘90s due to poor strategic decisions.
  1. Founder of Adidas, Adi Dassler originally had no intention of delving into the footwear business. He had learned the art of baking and was looking to become a baker before he started making and selling track shoes.
  1. According to the book Sneaker Wars, Adolf Dassler, founder of Adidas, initially wanted to name his brand “Addas.” However, the name was already in use by another German show company.
  1. Renowned basketball player, Michael Jordan, was close to signing with Adidas before pening a Nike signature deal.
  1. “Adidas Superstar” was originally made for basketball, however it became popular among skateboarders in the early ‘90s.
  1. The “Adilette” line of sandals created came into creation after the German soccer team approached the brand in 1960 to create unique bathing wear so as to protect players from diseases in the bath. Adilette was released in 1972 and is still a modern trend today.

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