A Brief Visual History Of Adidas On Its 65th Birthday

A Brief Visual History Of Adidas On Its 65th Birthday

65 years ago today, a young man in Germany registered his shoe company after a fight with his brother. His name was Adi Dassler, and his company is Adidas. Over half a century later, Adidas is worth $US6.8 billion. Come with us and take a visual walk through the company’s earliest designs.

As with so many companies, the history of Adidas starts long before the company was even officially registered, and centres around a feud between the brother’s Dassler.

The pair followed in their father’s footsteps, both literally and figuratively by going into shoes when they returned from the First World War in Germany. From the back of their mother’s laundromat, the brother’s Dassler created a company together called Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik, which translates into English as Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory.

In 1936, Adi Dassler took a suitcase full of shoes to the Summer Olympics and persuaded US runner Jesse Owens to wear the Gebrüder Dassler Schuhfabrik shoes. Owens set four world records on the track using Dassler shoes, which solidified the brand in the sporting community.

A dispute between the brother’s Dassler finally came to a head during the Second World War when the pair and their respective families sought shelter from an Allied bombing raid. It’s reported that Adi Dassler upon entering the shelter said words to the effect of “here are the bloody bastards again”. Rudolf thought Adi was talking about his family, but Adi asserted that he was referring to the Allies. Rudolf was later taken in by American soldiers and accused of being a member of the Wafen SS in Nazi Germany, and thought that his brother had laid the accusation.

1947 saw the pair split and register their own companies: Adi formed Adidas on 18 August, 1949, while Rudolf registered Ruda, which later became Puma. The two brands are worth billions today.

Ever since then, the three-stripe Adidas logo has only undergone three official transformations. These days, the Adidas three-stripe logo is emblazoned on everything from everyday runners through to high-concept Adidas Originals shoes. From the cool…

…to the downright odd. Happy birthday, Adidas!

Images via DesignBoom