In the small German town of Herzogenaurach, on November 3, 1900, a boy appeared in the family of a baker and laundress, Adolf Dassler. He grew up quiet at home. After the First World War, disruption and inflation came to the country, Germany was filled with a lot of unemployed, former soldiers. Dassler family was also having a hard time. In early 1920, it was decided to set aside casual earnings and open a new family business – sewing shoes.

The idea began to develop with the traditional for the Germans methodical. Mother’s laundry became a shoe shop. The inventor-inventor Adolf, who in the family circle was simply called Adi, made a typewriter for the cutting of skins from a bicycle. The sisters and mother made patterns from the canvas. Adolf himself, along with his father and elder brother Rudolf (Rudy), were engaged in cutting.


The first thing that the family released was sleeping slippers. For their manufacture, the written-off military equipment came in handy, the soles were cut from old tires. Rudolph engaged in the sale of finished products, and Adolphe began to establish a growing production and come up with new models. Just a year later, 12 people created shoes together with family members. They produced 50 pairs of shoes a day. In June 1924, there was already an official enterprise – the Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory. I must say that the brothers successfully complemented each other. Rudy was fond of fiction, he was among the quiet intellectuals, although he adored playing football. But Rudy had a more explosive temperament, his elements were boxing, jazz and sex.

By 1925 the company was on its feet, Adi allowed some experiments. Being an avid football player, he invented boots with spikes, which for him was made by a local smith. So the new sports shoes were born. It was so comfortable that, together with gymnastic slippers, became the basis of the Dassler family products. The production grew, in 1927 a whole building was already rented for him. There were already 25 people working on it, and they released up to a hundred pairs of shoes a day. Things went so well that the factory was soon bought out, and the family moved to a nearby mansion not just a house but a mansion.

Adi himself declined completely from his plans to become a baker, now he focused exclusively on creating sports shoes, which he personally tested. At the Olympic Games in 1928 in Amsterdam, some athletes performed in studded shoes “Dassler”. Four years later, the German, Arthur Jonath, won bronze. But much more successful was the Berlin Olympics of 1936. In the shoes of “Dassler” black American Jesse Owen set five world records and won four gold medals. Since then, “Dassler” has become considered even if unrecognized, but the standard for athletic shoes. In 1936, sales of the Dassler factory exceeded 400 thousand DM. Already in 1938 the second plant was opened in the same city of Herzogenaurach. Production has grown to thousands of pairs per day.

By that time, the Dassler brothers were convinced Nazis. With the outbreak of World War II, their factories were confiscated by the state, and they themselves went to the front. But soon Adi was returned – without it the factory simply did not work. After the defeat of Germany, the family business was destroyed – American soldiers lived in the mansion, the factory itself supplied hockey skates to the United States, according to the terms of the indemnity. To feed his family, Adolphe’s wife was even forced to take care of herself in the garden and graze cattle. Well at least a year later Rudy returned from the camp.

I had to start everything from scratch. Of the remnants of the military uniform, a new production was established, wages were initially given out by firewood and yarn. Difficulties influenced the relations of the brothers – in 1948 they quarreled and divided the company. Rudy took one factory, calling his firm Ruda, and Adi – another, calling his part Addas. A few months later, instead of the well-known brand Dassler, two new ones were finally formed – Adidas (from Adi Dassler) and Puma.Until the end of life, the brothers did not tell the reasons for that quarrel, and their companies became the worst competitors. Enemy brothers spread even to their home town. Each company had its own football team there, employees defiantly drank different beers, even children attended different schools. Today, the headquarters of sports giants are still located in the supernatural Herzogenaurach, and some tension still exists.

After the break with Rudi, Adolf became the sole owner of the company. He even broke the agreement a bit – he took two strips from the family emblem, and attached a third to them. So the patented symbol of Adidas appeared. To the brother did not bypass him, Adi plunges into the invention with his head. In 1949, he created the first shoes with removable rubber studs. The following year – football boots for playing on snow and frozen ground. Adi intensified his ties with the Olympic committees, thanks to this, at the 1952 Olympics, most athletes wore Adidas shoes. At the same time, Adi decided that it is not necessary to limit the range of his company exclusively shoes. For the trial, a line of sports bags “Adidas” was launched. And soon Adi found himself a partner – the owner of the textile factory Willy Seltenreich. Experience with sports suits has been successful, since Adidas began to produce and clothing.


“Adidas” production became more and more complex and perfect. Some competitors, unable to compete, even began to emphasize the simplicity of their models. In 1954, thanks to innovative footwear, Germany won the FIFA World Cup for the first time. Adi personally attended the crucial games, helping players adapt their shoes to the ground and the weather. The German nation was delighted with the triumph, the role of the boot manufacturer did not go unnoticed. Adi came up with the idea that advertising can be placed directly at the stadiums. Already in 1956 in far Melbourne the whole world saw posters “Adidas”. At the same time, the company begins to spread around the world. First, the production under license was started by a factory in Norway, and then the French joined in. The Olympics-1960 in Rome became the “golden age” for the brand. Most of the athletes made his point. At the Olympiad in Mexico City in 1968, the equipped “Adidas” sportsmen win more than 100 medals. In 1972, the company became the title sponsor of the Olympics in Munich, the German national team wins the championship of the continent.

At the same time, Adidas starts international expansion and in production – Adi signs the first license agreement with the Norwegian factory in Gyorvik, soon Adidas starts to be produced in France. “Golden Age” comes “Adidas” – at the Olympics in Rome in 1960, most athletes rely on Adidas sports shoes. Wilma Rudolf wins three gold medals in the sprint, despite the polio that was born in childhood, roughly the same happens in four years in Tokyo, and in 1968 in Mexico, athletes equipped with Adidas win 37 gold, 35 silver and 35 bronze medals. In 1972 Adidas became the title sponsor of the Olympic Games in Munich, and the team of Germany became the European Champion in football. Two years later German football players became the world champions for the second time – and again in “Adidas”. The top of the manufacturer’s fame was the 1976 Olympics. In the equipment “Adidas” was won 75 gold, 86 silver and 88 bronze – an unbeaten record.

In 1978, Adolf Dassler died, having transferred the company’s management to his widow, Katarina. She has long been engaged in the main administrative work in the “Adidas”. After the death of a woman in 1984, the company moved to the son of Adi and Katarina, Horst Dassler. He did not manage to make the planned changes, early dying. The heirs of the family sold in 1989 “Adidas” to the French businessman Bernard Tapi for 440 million marks.

Suddenly it turned out that the world is changing rapidly. “Adidas” was perceived as something obsolete and boring.In the 1990s, the company’s losses reached 100 million dollars, it was crowded by more energetic and ambitious competitors – Nike and Reebok. However, the legacy of “Adidas” no one thought to throw out, since 1993 a new team of specialists engaged in the revival of a glorious company. A number of key managers and designers were removed from the competition. Production was exported outside Germany – labor in China, Thailand and Indonesia is much cheaper. This made Adidas’ products competitive again. In addition, it was decided to switch from professional sports to the mass market. “Adidas” refused to cooperate with retailers, starting to form its own branded sales network. The results were already known by 1996. The company became the general sponsor of the Olympics in Atlanta, which allowed sales to grow by 50% per year. In addition, the company has taken a firm place in the US market.


Today Adidas managers sponsor new sports and youth movements. “Adidas” is represented on the market by a large assortment – from the very boots and ending with sportswear. After the acquisition of the French company Salomon in 1997, Adidas became the world’s second largest producer of sports goods. Today the company employs about 14 thousand people. The annual sales volume is 6.2 billion euros, and the profit is 260 million euros.

Add a Comment