Adidas is a company that produces athletic shoes and apparel and sporting goods.

The company dominated the sportswear market in the early 21st century and was second only to the Nike brand in the entire world. The brand is stylized as “adidas” and features a three stripe logo that is quite possibly one of the most recognizable logos in the world.

History of Adidas

Adolf “Adi” Dassler founded Adidas – the name of the brand is even derived from his name. After World War I, the Dassler family began producing shoes. Dassler himself gifted a pair of his shoes to Jesse Owens, an American track and field start who wore the shoes during the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Owens’ Olympic medal wins promoted the Dassler shoes, and they became known around the world.

World War II interrupted the manufacturing of the brand, but once the war was over, Dassler and his brother, Rudolph, worked to rebuild the brand. However, a rivalry between the brothers made them split. Rudolph Dassler formed the Puma brand while Adolf Dassler branded his company Adidas.

The Growth of the Adidas Brand

During the 1950s, Adidas became a well-known brand used by soccer players because the shoes were lightweight and some even had cleats that could be screwed in. Because of the popularity it gained with soccer, the brand eventually launched a line of sporting goods in 1963 that featured soccer balls.

In 1967, Adidas expanded to begin developing and producing sports apparel because of the gaining competition from brands like Nike. The brand was the biggest name in athletic shoes, but its competitors were expanding, and this required Adidas to expand along with them in order to remain relevant.

Unfortunately, Adi Dassler died in 1978, and the Adidas brand suffered. For years, it struggled to remain a leading athletic brand. In 1990, Bernard Tapie, a French business executive with a scandalous reputation, tried to revive the company but failed. In 1993, Adidas was sold to investors who placed Robert Louis-Dreyfus as the head of the company.

Louis-Dreyfus did bring success to the company. He acquired the Salomon Group in 1997, which included the golf supplier TaylorMade. Adidas was renamed Adidas-Salomon AG and made a strategic move into retailing in order to compete with its main rival, Nike.

Stella McCartney, a clothing designer, entered a partnership with Adidas in 2004, which was a very fruitful business move. Furthermore, in 2005, Adidas sold Salomon but retained TaylorMade and changed its name to Adidas AG

Sponsoring its Own Success 

Adidas remains a leading athletic brand by sponsoring numerous organizations and athletes all over the world. It even sponsors national sports teams in countries like Germany, Mexico, and Japan. The brand is an official sponsor of the UFEA Champions League. It also provides clothing and equipment for Major League Soccer teams. Additionally, Adidas has sponsorships in cricket, ice hockey, field hockey, rugby, basketball, and tennis. It truly spreads its brand as far as the eye can see, making sure it remains visible.

Criticism of the Brand

The company is not without its criticisms and controversies. In 2011, there was backlash over the pricing of the All Blacks replica rugby jersey, which was priced at $220. In 2012, Adidas posted a picture online of a pair of shoes designed with shackles on the ankles. This caused a major scandal with the accusation that Adidas was trying to commercialize slavery and human degradation. The shackled shoes were canceled almost immediately.

There have been critics who claim Adidas uses sweatshops to create its products and violates labor rights. In addition, the brand has faced environmental controversy after being accused of being a “forest criminal” because of deforestation in Indonesia’s rainforest.

The Current States of Adidas

Currently, the Adidas brand is run by Kasper Rorsted. It sells a large range of clothing items like t-shirts, jackets, hoodies, pants, and leggings to both men and women. It provides sportswear and equipment to football, baseball, basketball, cricket, golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, running and lifestyle, skateboarding, tennis, and kabaddi.

The brand also designs and manufactures sandals, mobile accessories, watches, eyewear, bags, baseball caps, and socks. In 2011, Adidas adopted the slogan, “Adidas is all in” in order to unify all of its products and promote the entire brand. The company utilizes brand loyalty as a marketing strategy, and the numbers associated with the company prove that this is highly effective.