How is a successful brand born? Sometimes by chance, sometimes due to the combination of many precise and studied factors, but almost always from a person’s intuition and vision, which is then carried forward in time and becomes the philosophy of a company. Adidas is now one of the most famous brands in the world, in the field of clothing and sports accessories as well as in streetwear. But when is it born precisely and why does it manage to become so popular in so many areas? To answer these questions we must once again bring the hands of time back, more precisely in the distant 1920s.
At that time in Herzogenaurach, a German town near Nuremberg, lived a man named Adolf Dassler, an athlete who had a brilliant intuition: create sports shoes (an absolute novelty at that time) and create different models specifically for each specific discipline sporty. He participated in a large number of athletic events around Europe, so he started working on his projects and at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics his cleats were first seen, offering better grip than shoes. traditional and consequently guaranteed exceptional performance.
First athlete to win a competition wearing the shoes designed by Adolf was Karoline “Lina” Radke, who triumphed in the 800mt female making famous all over the world the shoes produced in the Dassler brothers’ Shoe Factory (Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik), opened four years before .
Together with Adolf, in fact, his brother, Rudolf, collaborated as a salesman, who contributed to making the innovative idea of the brother a real business. Things went well, so Adolf decided to start diversifying the products and in 1931 produced the first tennis shoes, but the limelight for them arrived in 1936, when at the Berlin Olympics Jesse Owens wears their shoes winning 4 gold and 5 circles. The following year the two brothers boasted 30 models of footwear for 11 different sports: the modern sports shoe was born.
If from a professional point of view things are booming, it does not happen on a personal level between the two brothers. Every day they find an excuse to fight, both on the management of the new company and for personal and domestic reasons. The break is inevitable, in 1948 Adolf decided to set up his own business and created a shoe factory called Puma (exact, that Puma). Dear old Adolf instead founds Adidas (literally the union of his name Adolf, for his friends Adi, and surname, Dassler). In different ways both are dedicated to the growth of the two new realities, but the road taken by Adolf proves to be more effective as it is strongly focused on soccer shoes. In 1950 saw the famous Adidas Samba, specially designed for the daily training of footballers, and in 1954 the Adidas shoes are at the feet of the German national team during the World Cup final at the Bern stadium, which will win against Hungary and will consecrate the success of Adolf’s shoes. Adidas has also invented sports sponsorship thanks to the agreement with the national football team (still in place), which causes a double return of image: Adidas wears athletes, but athletes wear Adidas, and athletes are idols that all they want to imitate.
From then on the rise of the brand is a continuous crescendo, thanks to the opening of the sportswear market. Among the well-known names in Adidas dress are Muhammad Ali, Max Schmeling, Sepp Herberger, Dick Fosbury and Franz Beckenbauer. A curious example of how sometimes immortal symbols are born by chance is that of the famous three side stripes that stand out on Adidas shoes: these were created as a link to the sole to keep it more stable, but have become a trademark not only for many models of shoes , but also for sweatshirts, trousers and other items of clothing.
In any case, the genius of our Adolf was not exhausted and the second big move, after having linked the brand with sponsors to sportsmen around the world, was to sponsor other famous personalities of the show, music and more in general lifestyle. From Bob Marley to Run DMC, the Adidas brand has gradually crept into streetwear and subculture in the ’90s and 2000s, and even today many well-known names like Kanye West and Pharell Williams collaborate with the company to produce limited editions of shoes and clothing. Adolf Dassler passed away in 1978, leaving a legacy of over 700 patents, but the company has continued to grow and after the acquisition of the English Rebook is one of the largest and most famous companies in the world, second in its segment only at Nike, of which we have already spoken. With 60,000 employees worldwide and an estimated turnover of € 24 billion in 2017, Adolf Dassler’s dream and intuition have come true in a reality of eternal fascination, demonstrating the slogan of Adidas: Impossible is nothing.